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Park Visitors

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Indian War in Yellowstone (03:28)

Emma and George Cowan

Episode(s): 1
Associated Park(s): Yellowstone

In 1877, Emma and her husband George took a trip to celebrate their second wedding anniversary in Yellowstone National Park, which had been created only five years earlier.

On the morning of their anniversary, they were ambushed and attacked by a group of Nez Percé warriors. The Nez Percé were being pursued by the U.S. Army, which was trying to force the tribe onto a reservation in Idaho. During the encounter, George was shot in the head and Emma was taken captive. She was later released unharmed. George was picked up by Army scouts – still alive – and field surgeons removed the bullet from his skull.

In 1901, the Cowans returned to Yellowstone National Park and talked about their anniversary adventure. Emma commented that she was surprised any of her group had been spared, given the horrible treatment the Indians had suffered before and during their uprising. George recounted his story and showed off the flattened bullet which he had by then turned into a watch fob.

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Margaret and Edward Gehrke's First Park Visits (04:36)

Edward Gehrke (1880–1939) and Margaret Gehrke (1883–1978)

Episode(s): 4
Associated Park(s): Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, Yosemite

Edward and Margaret Gehrke, a childless couple from Lincoln, Nebraska, began traveling together to the national parks in 1915, when they stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way home from a trip to San Francisco. For the next quarter century, traveling first by rail and then in a succession of new Buicks, the couple would visit all of the national parks that existed at the time. During each summer journey, Edward snapped photographs and Margaret recorded their adventures in her journal. The journals and photographs were eventually given to the Nebraska State Historical Society.

In the 1930s, Edward built a "house-car," but he died in 1939 before they could drive it to a national park. In 1948, Margaret traveled once more by train to Rocky Mountain National Park, the couple's favorite destination.

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Glen and Bessie Hyde and Their Trip Through Grand Canyon (09:18)

Bessie Hyde (1905–1928) and Glen Hyde (1898–1928)

Episode(s): 4
Associated Park(s): Grand Canyon

In 1928, newlyweds Bessie and Glen Hyde set off on a honeymoon adventure down the Colorado River, attempting to pass through the Grand Canyon in a wooden scow Glen had built. Bessie, 22, was the first woman to attempt to navigate the Grand Canyon. The Hydes hoped to capitalize on their trip by writing a book about it using Bessie's journal notes and photographs, and going on the lecture circuit.

They made it from Green River, Utah, to the bottom of Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon with only a few problems. After hiking up the trail to buy supplies and spend a few nights at Grand Canyon Village, the couple returned to their boat and set off on November 17.

A month later, when they had not emerged from the canyon, a massive search located their boat – with their supplies, Bessie's journal and camera and rolls of film, and everything else – floating in an eddy on the river. The Hydes themselves, presumed drowned, were never seen again.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

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View with fog in valley and peaks lighted by sunset, winter; Yosemite National Park

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Untold Stories

Untold Stories

Discover the "hidden" stories of the national parks that explore the role of minorities in the creation and protection of the parks.

National Park Service rangers

Visit America's Best Idea

You own 391 national parks. Come for a visit and take away the experience of a lifetime. Help the National Park Service make America's Best Idea even better!

Bank of America Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr Fund Corporation for Public Broadcasting The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Park Foundation

National Park Foundation The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation The Pew Charitable TrustsGM


Florentine Films and WETA


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