Jeanie and Pat described their trip down as exhilarating, with their silent guide speaking only three words during the journey.
In 1954, Jeanie and her sister Pat were working in New York City for the F.B.I. Neither had done much traveling, but a photo of the Grand Canyon made Pat determined to go. She enlisted Jeanie and the two set off in October— dressed in their best wool suits, high heels and feathered hats for the long flight to Phoenix.
The tall, lanky cowboy who met them drove them in an old pick-up to Apache Junction in the Superstition Mountains, where they had booked a room at a ranch—for $35 a week!
While the ranch introduced them to the fundamentals of horseback riding, it was actually a mule ride that took them down into the Canyon. Jeanie and Pat described the trip down as exhilarating, with their silent guide speaking only three words during the journey. He called Phantom Ranch and reported to “Gert” that he had “two coming down.” Although their visit to the famous Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon was marred by flying cockroaches, their meal was memorable, as was their next day’s journey up and out in a snowstorm.
From then on, these city slickers were hooked. For the next eight years, the national parks were always their destination. As Jeanie and Pat report, the open space was magical, and they were both enthralled by the wildlife sightings. In those years, the Park Service did not always give the best counsel regarding wildlife: when they visited Yellowstone in 1955 for their second national park adventure, the rangers told the sisters to hit the bears in the head with a broom if they got too close to their cabin.
Jeanie and Pat did not encounter NPCA until the 1970s when Pat, who by then had moved to Washington D.C., had a chance to go on an NPCA-sponsored museum tour. She learned of our ParkScapes program, and the sisters began a series of wonderful adventures on train trips to national parks. They have been faithful supporters of NPCA’s park protection work ever since.