What to do in Greenland

December 2nd, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

Greenland is one of the most remote places on earth and also one of the most beautiful. It’s not a place many people travel to because it’s somewhat isolated, though you can take a day trip from Iceland and fly there in less than two hours.

Greenland from airplane

Once you’ve arrived, there are things every traveler should do!

Greenland village

Visit the local people.

It’s pretty special to live in such a unique, unspoiled place. Smile and wave hello to the local people. Most are indigenous and their families have lived in Greenland for generations. Stop by the local gift shop and buy a handmade craft as a souvenir. Go to a restaurant and sample the food. They serve fresh fish, crabs, and if you’re adventurous, even seal and whale meat.

See the sledding dogs.

Dogsledding is an important part of Greenland’s traditions. Greenlandic sled dogs look like large huskies, can run really fast, and like to hang out together in packs. We even got to pet some that were puppies!

Dogsledding

Dogsledding puppies

Look to the skies.

If you are traveling between September and April, you can see the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. It’s a spectacular colorful show in the sky. You wear lots of warm clothes and drink hot cocoa while you patiently wait for the lights to start. You’ll be glad you stayed awake because there’s nothing like it!

Experience the icebergs.

Greenland is the iceberg capital of the world and there are thousands of icebergs. You can see them from the airplane, from coastal towns, or up close from a boat. Each one is different and they make creaking noises as air escapes through their cracks.

Greenland icebergs

Wyatt with icebergs

Have you been to Greenland? Where is your dream place to visit? Leave us a comment!

Icy Greenland Water

Travels with Gannon & Wyatt Holiday Giveaway

November 16th, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

We know that the spirit of adventure is in all of you, which is why we are super excited to bring you this holiday giveaway so that you can document all of your travels, adventures, and creativity!

GoPro Holiday GiveawayUse the Rafflecopter widget below to earn entries to win a brand new GoPro HERO4 — it’s the smallest, lightest, and most rugged GoPro yet, perfect for capturing moments from your next hiking, biking, swimming, camping, or neighborhood adventure!

Good luck!

Pssst…you can Tweet every day for extra entries!

 

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3 Interesting Facts About Botswana

October 21st, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

Our very first adventure took us to Botswana, a beautiful country located in South Africa with more than 2 million residents. Here are some of the fun and interesting facts that we learned.

3 Interesting Facts About Botswana

Interesting Facts about Botswana

1. Elephants

In South Africa, Botswana has the largest elephant population and the average African elephant lives to be about 56 years old. Did you know elephants that live out in the wild live longer than elephants that live at zoos? The average age for an African elephant in a zoo is only 17 years. That’s quite the difference and lots of food for thought.

2. English

English is the “official” language of Botswana and is taught in all the schools and spoken in tourist areas. However, Setswana is the national language and the most spoken language throughout the country.

3. Diamond Mine

Before Botswana because an independent country, it was controlled by the British government and one of the poorest and least developed countries in Africa.

Once it gained its independence, a huge diamond mine was found in Orapa and Botswana is now one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. Eco-tourism is also a fast growing sector of Botswana’s economy. Each year, the government invests a large portion of the budget in education.

Do you know any interesting facts about Botswana or Africa? Share in the comments!

5 Interesting Facts About Egypt

October 14th, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

Egypt is an amazingly beautiful place that we had the privilege of exploring while writing our book Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Egypt. Here are five interesting facts that we learned during our adventure that you might not know!

5 Interesting Facts about Egypt

5 Interesting Facts About Egypt

Fact #1: The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and the largest Egyptian pyramids. This incredible structure weighs as much as 16 Empire State buildings!

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock and the pyramid is built on top, the private chamber of the King and Queen are higher up in the pyramid, and the main part is actually a complex of buildings.

This complex includes two mortuary temples in honor of Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite” pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small tombs surrounding the pyramid where nobles are buried.

The Great PyramidPhoto credit: Great Pyramid by Nina

Fact #2: The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs!

Hieroglyphs are made from two Greek words:

  1. Hieros meaning holy
  2. Glyphe which means writing

Essentially, it means holy writing. Isn’t that neat? You can visit this website to see what your name in hieroglyphs!

Fact #3: Cleopatra was the last of a series of rulers called the Ptolemies who ruled Egypt for nearly 300 years. She was also allegedly, the last true pharaoh of Egypt.

The story of Cleopatra is very interesting! The tomb of her and her husband Antony has never been found. You can learn all about Cleopatra’s life here.

Egyptian FlagPhoto credit: Wikipedia

Fact #4: The Egyptian flag consists of 3 colors, which are red, white, and black. There’s a gold eagle on the white part of the flag. The black on the flag is representative of oppression, the white on the flag is representative of a bright future, and the red represents the struggle against oppression.

Fact #5: Ancient Egyptian women had more rights than most other women in the ancient world. Some examples are that they could own their own property and own their own businesses. Women from more affluent families could become doctors or priestesses, too.

These are just a few fun facts about Egypt. Do you have an interesting or favorite fact about Egypt? Share in the comments below!

Travel Quotes You’ll Love

September 21st, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

Quotes connect with people on so many different levels, especially when those quotes speak to what a person is passionate about. Since our passion is travel, here are some of our favorite travel quotes.

Travel Quotes Life To Escape Us

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” — Samuel Johnson

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” — Mary Ritter Beard

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

Travel Quotes New Way Of Seeing Things

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” — Lao Tzu

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” —  Robert Frost

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” —  Anatole France

Travel On

Do you have any favorite travel quotes? Share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

I Am the Hummingbird

September 18th, 2015 by Keith Hemstreet

Wangari Maathai was a great champion of human rights and environmental conservation. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which helped replant tens of millions of trees in Kenya, and started the Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi. In 2004, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She passed away in September 2011 at the age of 71.

In remembrance of this inspiring woman and her many accomplishments, we have posted a short video clip of Wangari Maathai delivering a simple, yet powerful message.  We hope you enjoy, take it to heart, and remember to “be the hummingbird.”

Top 5 Castles in Ireland to Visit

September 8th, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

A visit to Ireland is a once in a lifetime experience. Imagine going to some of the amazing castles in Ireland that were built as far back as the 1400s! You get to experience a little piece of that history. Here are some of the castles we think are the most beautiful and meaningful in Ireland.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

This list just wouldn’t feel right without including country’s top castle. It has been the center of British power for over 700 years and houses the amazing Chester Beatty Library. Since the 1938 inauguration of the very first President of Ireland, all inauguration have taken place at the castle.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

This castle is one of the most popular tour sites in Ireland. People come from all over just to kiss the Blarney Stone. The legend is that kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab, eloquence, or skill at flattery. Isn’t it such a beautiful and grand castle? For more information, here is their website.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

This is another one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. It was built in the 15th century and is still standing strong today. The MacNamara family built the castle back in 1425 but the initial settlement is thought to date back to the time of the Vikings. It is so neat to see something still standing that was created so long ago, and it is open to the public to tour. If you want to learn more about the history of Bunratty Castle, take a peek here.

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle

This beautiful castle is one of the largest ancient castles in Ireland. It was built in County Tipperary in 1142 by Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond, on an island in the river Suir. In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the state.

To find out more information and history about this castle, you can check out fun facts here.

Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

Built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay, this restored 16th century tower house sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay. We’ve saved the best one for last. There is an awesome legend that goes with this castle.

Legend has is that part of the attraction of Dunguaire’s Castle is that the Lord of the castle was very generous. It is said that he even continued this generosity into the afterlife. One example of this is the story about a poor beggar whom King Guaire had often helped in life. The beggar visited the King’s grave and said, “King Guaire, even you cannot help me now.”

Undeterred even by death, the King’s skeletal hand dropped several gold coins at the beggar’s feet. According to legend, still to this day, if a person stands at the front gate and asks a question, they will have an answer to their question by the end of the day.

So Dunguaire’s Castle might be the first on your list if you have a question that needs answering right away!

These are a few of the many amazing castles in Ireland that you might want to visit! If you’ve ever been to Ireland, what was your favorite castle? What was your favorite attraction?

Nature Can Make Kids Smarter

July 24th, 2015 by Keith Hemstreet

The famous naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: What would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?”

Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau penned his famous book on the value of spending time in nature.

Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau penned his famous book on the value of spending time in nature.

I could venture a guess, as I know a handful of people who spend far too much time in malls. However, I’d much prefer to focus on the benefits enjoyed by those who spend time rambling, instead, in the great outdoors.

Anyone who has wandered into the woods, taken a leisurely stroll along the beach, or even sat in the shade of an expansive oak, has most likely felt the positive effects of nature. Spending time in nature helps settle the mind, reduce stress, and establish a physical equilibrium. Place yourself in a natural setting and it is likely that whatever issues have been troubling you will suddenly seem trivial. Since I was young, I have been aware of this healing power, but Mother Nature’s good vibrations may actually do far more than just lift the spirits, especially in the case of children.

You can't deny the good feeling that comes over you in the presence of nature's spectacular beauty.

You can’t deny the good feeling that comes over you in the presence of nature’s spectacular beauty.

A recent study suggests that green space around schools—grasslands, trees, and plants—might actually make kids smarter. How’s that for added value? Not only does nature make you feel good, it can improve your brain function, as well.

The following is an excerpt from Olga Khazan’s article in The Atlantic, dated June 16, 2015:

“A new study out Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that green spaces can actually boost cognitive outcomes in children—in part by protecting their brains from air pollutants. For the large study involving 2,623 schoolchildren in Barcelona, researchers first assessed the amount of greenery around the children’s homes, along their commutes to school, and surrounding the schools themselves. They then measured the children’s working memories and attention spans using a series of word and number tests. The children who had more vegetation around their schools showed more progress in working memory and attention over the course of a year, a finding that held true even after the authors controlled for socioeconomic status. Not only did the plant life soak up much of the elemental carbon around the schools, the authors write, green spaces are also known to reduce city noise and stress while increasing opportunities for exercise.”

So, just in case any of us needed an additional reason to encourage young people (and adults) to connect with nature, there you have it—simply surrounding ourselves with green space might just make us happier, more intelligent, and thus, better people.

I, for one, am sold.

Gannon & Wyatt Adventure Bus Tour

July 16th, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt
Keep an eye out for the Gannon & Wyatt Adventure Bus as it makes its way around the U.S.A. in 2015-2016

Keep an eye out for the Gannon & Wyatt Adventure Bus as it makes its way around the U.S.A. in 2015-2016

After driving over 12,000 miles and covering nearly 2/3 of the United States, author Patti Wheeler has entered the final stretch of her Adventure Bus Tour. Patti is calling this the “awareness tour,” the point being to introduce as many librarians, teachers and young readers to the award-winning adventure series as possible, and promises there will be more tours in the future. Since beginning the tour, Patti estimates that she has donated over 1,500 books to children and libraries.

The Adventure Bus Tour began this winter from the snowy mountains of Colorado and made its way as far south as Miami, Florida, with multiple daily stops at bookstores and libraries along the way. After a short break in Florida (which included a research trip to Cuba for an upcoming Travels with Gannon & Wyatt book), Patti and the crew toured the entire east coast, making it as far north as Bar Harbor, Maine, before moving back west through New York, Canada and Michigan. In July, Patti was joined by her sons, the “real-life” Gannon & Wyatt, and together they are currently rambling through the upper Midwest.

Over the next week, the Adventure Bus will be making stops at Book World stores in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you happen be in the region, make sure to stop by the nearest Book World store to pick up a copy. Should you be lucky enough to attend one of the book signings, you’ll have a chance to win cool prizes, take a tour of the Adventure Bus, have your book signed, and meet author Patti Wheeler and the brothers who inspired the series, Gannon & Wyatt.  Hope to see you at Book World.  Happy Travels!

Gannon & Wyatt Adventure Bus Tour

The Travels with Gannon & Wyatt Adventure book series

The Travels with Gannon & Wyatt Adventure book series

July 17th, 2015

Book World 1:00pm-3:00pmET

52 N State St, St Ignace, MI 49781

July 18th, 2015

Book World 10am-12:00 pm ET

136 W Washington St, Marquette, MI 49855

July 18th, 2015 

Book Woremilield 2:00pm-4:00pm CT

Midtown Mall, 1104 S Stephenson Ave, Iron Mountain, MI 49801

July 20th, 2015

Book World 10-12:00 pm

58 N Brown St, Rhinelander, WI 54501

July 20th, 2015

Book World  2-4:00pm

522 Oneida St, Minocqua, WI 54548 (Beth)

Travels with Gannon & Wyatt author, Patti Wheeler

Travels with Gannon & Wyatt author, Patti Wheeler

(715) 356-7071

July 21st, 2015

Book World 10-12:00pm

10553 S Main St, Hayward, WI 54843

(715) 634-6007

July 22nd, 2015

Book World  11:00 am – 1:00pm

316 Beltrami Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601

(218) 444-5523

July 22nd, 2015

Book World  3:00pm-5:00pm

211 Main Ave S, Park Rapids, MN 56470

(218) 732-0770

 

Journal Entry: Grizzly Trek, Great Bear Rainforest

July 9th, 2015 by Gannon & Wyatt

The following journal entry was written by Keith Hemstreet during a 2009 research trip in the Great Bear Rainforest.

September 2, En Route to Gribbell Island

Great Bear Rainforest sceneryWoke early and prepared my equipment for today’s grizzly trek.  Got dressed, went upstairs and stepped outside into total darkness. Looked at the clock in the mess hall.  It read 4:35 AM.  Turns out I had accidentally set my watch alarm an hour early. Walked back to my room, laid down on the bed and thought about the day’s trek. These thoughts turned to concern over our safety. What if something went wrong, and we were attacked? Overall, the odds of a grizzly attack are low. That said, I have to image that hiking into a wilderness with one of the most concentrated grizzly bear populations on earth greatly increases the chances.

Took a tender ashore and trekked up Aaltanhash River at first light, around 6:25 AM.  Navigated barnacled and clam coated rocks along the shore.  Then a tougher challenge, the algae covered rocks and boulders at the mouth of the river.  It is impossible to get a solid  foothold, so balance is key.  Wearing thigh-high wader boots, we made our way over the rocks.  I kept thinking “two points of contact.”  If you find yourself on one foot, you’re more likely to loose your balance.

Found a spot along the stream with a large rock, approximately 25 ft high. Climbed to the top and sat there for 1 hr 30 min.  Other than salmon and bald eagles, there was virtually no signs life.

From there, Norm then led us up river about 30 minutes.  We cut through thick bush, filled with devil’s claw.  It was so thick you literally can’t see 3-feet in front of you.  Eerie, to say the least.  After a hard 15 minute slog threw the brush, we came back to the river bank and found a fresh wolf print in the sand.

Bear guide, Great Bear RainforestNot far upstream from that print, we found a freshly killed salmon. It’s orange eggs were spread out on a rock. Norm explained that wolves eat the heads of salmon and bears do not. This salmon still had it’s head, meaning that it was a bear kill. The river was shallow, with pools of salmon swimming upstream, and there was a well-worn grizzly trail at either end.  At Norm’s suggestion, we sat atop a small rock in the middle of the river.  If a grizzly were to come down the trail at either end of the river, it would be right on top of us. This, he said, was a good place to be.

Over time, you are lulled into a false sense of safety. My nerves eventually settled. I was calm, enjoying the scenery and sounds of nature. Then, suddenly, a loud crack. Javier and I both turned our heads to the noise that had came from the bushes just off the river.  “Did you hear that?” I whispered.  “I did,” he said. There was a large animal nearby, but we couldn’t see it.  We sat there, on the rock, as still as can be, while a bear or a wolf moved about just out of sight. The bushes shook. My heart rate quickened. Slowly, I brought my camera to my eye, and focused the lens on the bushes.

It was unsettling to know that a grizzly bear or wolf was within striking distance, invisible to us until the moment they decide to charge. But after a few minutes, the sounds and movement subsided. Norm thought we should follow the bear trail further into the interior, which we did for another 10 minutes before coming to a steep slope and long stretch of river that was too deep to cross. There, we all walked out onto a large spruce tree trunk that had fallen over a river and inspected the area. No wildlife in sight in either direction, so we hiked back to the rocks from which we had come. Again, we sat in silence.

Pacific Yellowfin, Great Bear RainforestAn hour or so later, we received a radio call from the Pacific Yellowfin. We were told that the Captain was ready to move on and that we needed to hike back to the mouth of the river. We did as told, following the same path we had taken into the forest. At that, the day’s expedition ended—no grizzlies, no black bear, and no wolves. Still, a wonderful experience. And there’s always tomorrow….

 

NOTE: In terms of wildlife protection, Norm carried bear mace and a “bear banger”, which is a devise designed to scare away an aggressive bear by emitting a loud “bang!”