Hello reader friends! Today is a beary special day – Ranger Bear is here! For those of you who
live under a rock don’t know who I’m talking about, Ranger Bear is Karen Barnett’s special traveling/research/writing buddy. You’ll learn more in a moment, but before we get to the post, I do want to mention Karen’s wonderful Vintage National Park Series.
First of all, don’t you just love the cover? This is the first book I read by Karen and I absolutely loved it. The setting is breathtaking, and the story is fabulous.
This book two, which is being given away today!! This was my favorite of the two so far. Let me just say this, in reading both of these books, visiting National Parks is now on my bucket list. You’ll know why once you read the stories.
And now, on to today’s post from Ranger Bear!!!
A Day in the Life of Ranger Bear
Hi, everyone! RangerBear, here.
In case we haven’t met before, I’m the travel-and-writing buddy of Karen Barnett, author of six books, including her most recent, Where the Fire Falls: A Vintage National Parks Novel. A former park ranger, Karen now incorporates her love of God’s creation and of National Park history into suspenseful historical romances set in these national treasures. Where the Fire Falls is set at Yosemite National Park in 1929 and The Road to Paradise takes place at Mount Rainier National Park in 1927.
My job? Well, I’m not just a park ranger bear. I am Karen’s research assistant, with my main tasks being travel companion and the keeper of the coffee. Those are important jobs!
When Jessica invited me to post about a day in my life, I thought about the many days that I sit on Karen’s desk, deliver coffee, and keep her spirits high as she writes. But that probably wouldn’t be too exciting for you to read. So instead, I decided to share about our last research trip together. This past fall we drove to Yellowstone National Park to do some research for Karen’s next book. Even though you can’t get your paws on it until 2019, I hope it will get you excited to read the first two novels in the collection and whet your appetite for more.
Karen says it’s critical when she’s writing about such iconic places that she knows the landscape very well. So after driving from Oregon to Yellowstone (in Wyoming/Montana), we spent many days traveling around the park and familiarizing ourselves with the important sights. I’m including several pictures of the amazing things we saw.
I was SO excited to see the historic Roosevelt Arch, the original entrance into Yellowstone, that I made Karen stop the car so we could take a selfie or two.
I spoke to several rangers to get a feeling for what it is like to work in Yellowstone today. Pretty different than in the time Karen’s stories are set. Her first two park novels take place in the 1920s. This one will be in the early 30s.
Yellowstone is well known for its geysers, so we made sure to spend a lot of time studying them. She was obsessed with finding the perfect descriptions of the sounds and the…um…smells. Yep. They do smell interesting. My fur even got damp from the steam, but that was all part of the fun hard work.
We spent time in the famous Old Faithful Inn which opened way back in 1904. I told her she absolutely has to include the Inn in her book. We took a historical tour so we could learn from the experts.
Sometimes when Karen gets busy with research, she forgets to eat. It’s a good thing she has me to remind her. A bear has to keep up his strength, and so does a busy writer.
A little more geyser and hot springs action. Karen was busy scribbling thoughts in her journal and snapping photographs while I studied Sapphire Pool.
What’s Yellowstone without bison? We also saw visitors being very silly and approaching them to snap selfies. I made sure Karen used her ultra-zoom lens and didn’t get too close.
Hey! I think that’s my cousin!
We crossed the Continental Divide while it was snowing. That seemed fitting!
Karen was getting anxious to get to the park archives and research library, but I made sure we spent some time at the famous Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Isn’t it beautiful?
We finally made it to the research center. For two long days, I watched as she dug through file cabinets, pored over old books, and read park reports from the 1930s. I did enjoy seeing the cartoons drawn by the young men from the Civilian Conservation Corps. I’ll make sure she includes those guys in the novel, too!
As you can see, I was sad to leave Yellowstone behind. But now we have plenty of great information, history, and imagery to include in Karen’s next book. Many people have written me to say they’re looking forward to reading about Yellowstone. While you wait, make sure to pick up The Road to Paradise and Where the Fire Falls (set in the beautiful Yosemite National Park). Now that you know the fun hard work that goes into researching these stories, I’m sure you won’t want to miss them!
Thank you for reading my “day in the life” post. I hope you enjoyed a peek into our research trip. It actually took place over a week, but you get the idea!
If you’d like to follow more of my travels, I’m pretty active on social media. You can find me at any of these places:
- On Instagram, my name is RangerBear_Adventures. Or you can just follow this link: https://www.instagram.com/rangerbear_adventures/
- On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RangerBearAdventures/
- And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RangerBear_Adv
You can find Karen at these fun spots:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karenbarnett.writer
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenbarnettauthor/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenMBarnett
Ranger Bear is giving away a copy of Where the Fire Falls to one lucky reader! For your chance to win, comment below if you have ever visited a National Park and tell us about your journey! Giveaway ends Sunday August 26th at 9:00pm.