AMERICAN ODYSSEY:
THE AMERICAN WEST ITINERARY
DAY 1  Depart Landis, NC at 9:30 am and head toward Kentucky where we will visit Fort Knox. We will spend the night near here. The first several days will be spent getting to know each other and learning the routine of working within the group. We will be spending our first night in Otter Creek Park.

DAY 2 Today as we settle into our routine and continue to get to know the group we will get to stop and visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Our Camping Area on the shore of Lake Michigan tonight is at Indiana Dunes State Park.  Be prepared to swim in this big lake tonight and watch the sunset over Chicago.  We will do a number of activities tonight including: New Games, Initiative Games, and Team Building Activities.

DAY 3 Driving through Chicago, we will do a quick stop downtown to see Lake Michigan and discover for ourselves if Chicago really is the "Windy City" We will stop at the Chicago Field Museum and Wrigley Field before we head out to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tonight we will get in very late to our campground in Mitchell, South Dakota.  This is the longest mileage day of our trip.

DAY 4  Today it's on to the West and into the northern plains and grasslands of South Dakota.  This will be a day to cover fewer miles, as we get to begin our many exciting stops.  The Wounded Knee Massacre Site, Pine Ridge Reservation and the Rosebud Reservation.  We will camp tonight in the Badlands at Sage Creek Campsite with a herd of 300 or so Bison near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 

DAY 5  Up early this morning to get a good start to a memorable day.  Today we will travel through the Badlands and then on to Wall Drug before visiting the Presidents at Mt. Rushmore.  Next we go climbing and Rappelling on the back of the Monument and then to the Crazy Horse Memorial, After the Laser Light Show it is on to Devils Tower National Monument where we will spend the night.

DAY 6  Today we will head west through the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and the Valley of Ten Sleep toward Thermopolis and the World's Largest Hot Springs.  Here we will make a quick stop at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center if we have time.  Tonight we will be attending the Rodeo in Cody before we sack out under the stars at the KOA just outside of town.

DAY 7 Early rising, we watch the sun illuminate the mountains to our west as we prepare to travel to Yellowstone with its geysers and hot springs.  Here we see the famous Old Faithful geyser and numerous hot springs.  Inspiration point and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone along with the Wildlife are some of the sights we see.  "The wildlife here is amazing."  Tonight we will stay at the base of the Tetons at Coulter Bay.

DAY 8   This morning we will rise and visit the Tetons in all their glory.  Watch for Moose and Elk for they are in this area.  We will drive up to Signal Mountain and then scramble to the summit for a 360-degree panorama and a chance for some Journal Writing.   Whitewater rafting is the afternoon fare on the Snake River.  Some of the youngest mountains in the west, the Tetons, watch over us as we sleep again tonight at Coulter Bay.

DAY 9   Rising early, today we will take an extended hike back into the back country near the Grand Teton and Tewinot Mountain.  Later in our hike we will be hiking in a glacial wonderland.  We have had snow here before on July 1st so bring your fleece and wind pants. 

DAY 10 Today we will go on to Jenny Lake for a Very Cool Polar Bear Swim and some photos. This afternoon we will travel through Idaho's Huckleberry Country and the land of Square Ice Cream.  Then  it is on to Missoula, Montana.  Tonight we stay at the KOA in Missoula. 

Day 11  After a resupply at the Wal Mart we visit the Smokejumper's Base.  Leaving Missoula, we will travel today through eastern Washington State and the Columbia River Gorge as we head toward Mt. Rainier. We will camp tonight near the base of this sleeping giant volcano and spend the day tomorrow hiking on its slopes.  

DAY 12  Up before dawn, we will witness the sun produce a lovely pink alpenglow on the summit of this Sleeping Giant prior to our hike this morning.  We will be hiking one of the glaciers that flow down from the mountain's giant snowfield.  After eating lunch at "our highest point", we will head back to camp tired but proud of our accomplishment.       

DAY 13 This morning we travel to another Sleeping Giant  Mt. Saint Helens.  We will drive as close as we can to the mountain and visit the Johnson Ridge Visitors Center and the Museum with all the artifacts of the devastating power of the 1980 eruption before hiking the Ridge Trail.  We head further south to Corvalis, Washington for our campsite tonight.

DAY 14  Today we head out to the Pacific Ocean and prepare to see the rocky coast and the Sea Lions along the shore near the Lighthouses.  Then we visit another incredible wonder - Crater Lake. With its incredibly beautiful crystal clear and deep water, and more than 500 inches of snowfall per year, this under visited National Park will be our playground as we Sled on its slopes with our Tarps. 

DAY 15  San Francisco is our destination tonight.  We will visit the Muir Woods National Monument and Hike the Golden Gate Bridge.  The Golden Gate Bridge is our backdrop as we camp in the Eucalyptus Grove in a hike in - Horse Camp on the North Shore.

DAY 16  We wake to the sounds of a bustling city by the sea.  First on the agenda today is a quick riding tour of the city and the waterfront.  Then it's lunch at Fisherman's Wharf.  This afternoon will be spent sightseeing and shopping in the unique shops along the waterfront and Ghiradelli Square, The Cannery, Nob Hill, Hard Rock Cafe, to name a few.  After a Cable car ride, we will eat dinner in Chinatown before retiring to our campsite for a second night. 

DAY 17 Leaving the cities of the coast behind, we head toward the high Sierras and the Range of Light.  Yosemite National Park is the size of the State of Rhode Island.  It holds the world's second largest waterfall, thirteen times higher than Niagara Falls.  Yosemite (the Native American for Grizzly Bear) is known for its glacier carved, granitic features such as El Capitan and Half Dome as well as its Giant Sequoias and beautiful meadows.  We camp tonight near this ever so popular of our National Parks.  MAIL DAY!!!

DAY 18  Exploring Yosemite we will see all the sights of Yosemite Valley and then to John Muir's favorite place, Glacier Point.  We will take a short hike to see Redwoods and Giant Sequoias and then we are off for the high country. We camp near the snowline tonight.

DAY 19  An extra day in Yosemite to do it all.  Today we do an extreme hike and climb to the summit of Half Dome.  Once we have returned we make our way to the campsite for some much deserved rest.  This hiike will really get us in shape for the Grand Canyon hike that is coming up in a few days. 

Day 20  Today we sort of take a break and lounge in the Merced River and relax.  Later in the high country we
Climb and rappel on the Puppy Dome, visit Tenaya Lake, hike in flower carpeted meadows.  Tonight we stay at the foot of the Sierras at the edge of the Desert.  

DAY 21  After rising this morning, we will travel to Bodie, an historic Ghost Town.  After visiting here we will head south to Mono Lake where we can check out the tufa formations.  Next it's on to Death Valley and the lowest place in the USA - 282 feet below sea level - Badwater. Here we catch the sunset before heading into Las Vegas for an All You Can Eat Buffet Dinner tonight.  Tonight we camp at the Lake Mead National Seashore. 

DAY 22  Today we travel across the Hoover Dam.  This dam is the highest ever built and it harnesses the power of the Colorado River to produce electricity for Lake Mead and all electricity needed for the region.  Later this evening we arrive at the Grand Canyon.  We will have an opportunity to watch the sunset over the canyon tonight as we prepare to hike through geologic time tomorrow.  Mather Campground tonight.

DAY 23  The size and scope of the Grand Canyon are beyond the power of words to describe.  Pinch yourself; if you need to, in order to make sure you're really awake.  Sunrise is the very best time to see the canyon as it first begins to stir.  You will never forget the first time that you see this remarkable hole in the ground nor will you forget the feeling of accomplishment of hiking from rim to river and back. Mather Campground after the GC hike.

DAY 24 Today will be a day of reflection on the accomplishments of the previous day.  We will do laundry and soak in the views as we look at the canyon from the South rim as tourists.  We will also take time for a great meal at the Lodge.  We will watch the sunset as we contemplate our next fun filled day.

DAY 25 After leaving the Grand Canyon we will travel through several Indian Reservations as we travel to Sunset Crater, SP the Cinder Cone and Meteor Crater.  Later we are off to Holbrook and a Native American Pow Wow.  Tonight we stay at Lyman Lake State Park in Arizona.  

DAY 26  Today we must cover a lot of miles in order to have a chance to play on the White Gypsum Sands of White Sands National Monument and usually one of the most incredible sunsets of our expedition.  After dinner we will drive to Guadalupe Mountains National Monument to camp.

DAY 27  We start our day with a Sunrise Hike to the summit of Guadalupe Peak and then on to Carlsbad Caverns for our morning of Cave Exploration.  All those interested can Adopt-a-Bat.  We will eat a late lunch in Pecos, Texas that you won't forget.  We camp tonight in Abilene, Texas.

DAY 28  We have to begin our trek eastward again, but we have our journals to keep us occupied.  We drive an extended day today in order to camp tonight just outside Little Rock, Arkansas.   

DAY 29 The destination today is the Nantahala Gorge just inside North Carolina.  Here we will put the finishing touches on our "Special Projects" and have a Very Special Evening.   

DAY 30   CLOSING CEREMONIES and then - Homeward Bound.  This will be a bittersweet, reflective, memorable day as we realize that this Odyssey that we began a short 29 days ago is not really drawing to a close but will continue to unfold.  The friendships, the memories, the richer understanding of this great Nation that we have are all part of the individuals that we each are.  We have discovered more than we may ever realize.