Cole Lehman 2017-12-06 04:58:44
Unforgettable experiences at Montage Hotels & Resorts bring you up close and personal with local wildlife. There’s nothing quite like the awe inspired by steam rising from a herd of bison on a winter day in Wyoming. Or the quiet satisfaction of spotting a pod of dolphins from your window in coastal Orange County. At Montage resorts, unique experiences guide guests out of their room and into the heart of pristine natural landscapes to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Options range from private expeditions into Yellowstone National Park to following dolphins off the coast of Laguna Beach, spotting owls, alligators and turtles with the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, and hiking with the family to Kapalua Bay tide pools. AN EXTRAORDINARY EXPEDITION Yellowstone is filled with the American West’s most iconic wildlife such as bison, bears, elk, moose, wolves and more. Montage Deer Valley guests have an opportunity few will ever get—a one-day guided journey into the heart of the wild country these creatures call home. Your adventure begins with private ground transportation from the resort to Salt Lake City International Airport where a Gulfstream G150 will carry you and five other guests to the entrance of Yellowstone. Once there, two expert tour guides will help you explore the Yellowstone Lower Loop that passes through Madison Junction, over the Continental Divide, along Yellowstone Lake and through the majestic Hayden Valley. This loop offers some of the best chances to see wildlife and your expert guides will help you experience them safely. It also takes you to the legendary Norris Geyser Basin, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (lower and upper falls), and the renowned Old Faithful geyser. Once finished, your private ground and air transportation return you to your room at Montage Deer Valley to continue to marvel at the treasures of the mountains. “Not only is the day in the park beautiful, our flight plan is specifically designed to fly over some of the most pristine wilderness in the area on our way to and from Yellowstone National Park,” says Montage International Corporate Director of Recreation Andy Damman. SEASIDE SIGHTSEEING Something about the sight of dolphins gleaming under the sun awakens our wonder at the richness of the natural world—the beauty of their streamlined shapes, the way they move together and the impossible leaps they take into the air when breaching. You can witness these moments year-round from your room or the cliffs right in front of Montage Laguna Beach. Or, you can get closer. A concierge can arrange private and group charter boats from Dana Point so that you can feel the spray of the ocean as you travel the coast with pods of dolphins. These tours come with expert insights from experienced marine naturalists and offer you a personalized perspective on one of the Pacific Ocean’s most majestic inhabitants. Although indoor accommodations are available, sunscreen is a must since you will be out on the open ocean for two hours. To be thoughtful of the environment, Damman suggests purchasing sunscreen that is reef-friendly. “I am very passionate about sunscreen right now with so many reefs dying off,” he says. “Please check your sunscreen and make sure it is marine safe.” And while Laguna Beach’s weather stays rather temperate year-round, it’s a good idea to dress in layers as the winds over the Pacific can stir up a chill. With these tips, you’ll be ready for a sightseeing adventure that is sure to inspire awe and admiration for these incredible ocean creatures. A CONSERVANCY CENTERPIECE Palmetto Bluff is unlike any other landscape. Not just because it’s a 20,000-acre natural wonder,but because it’s one of the only places where a community has balanced human civilization with the delicate needs of the local ecosystem. And as a guest of Montage, you can learn how it’s done. “Palmetto Bluff is a place where people have respect for the earth and everything develops and grows together in harmony,” says Christine Wrobel, Montage Palmetto Bluff public relations and marketing manager. Experts at the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy actively manage the land and wildlife through research and careful community planning. You can join them for Friday talks about the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin that lives in the May River. Or attend a field trip through the property where you’ll meet owls, alligators and turtles. There are even special weekends where you can assist with research—tracking turtles and participating in a bluebird survey. WILDLIFE HIKES Montage Kapalua Bay is surrounded by the natural beauty of Maui—lava rock, a dormant volcano and the awe-inducing inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean. An easy hike to a nearby rocky point called Kuunaakaiole gives guests a chance to peer into tide pools and see everything from small reef fish and hermit crabs to the peculiar spaghetti worm, which has tentacles that look like (as the name suggests) white spaghetti. This guided hike, perfect for all ages, is offered every Tuesday and Friday at 8 a.m., when the tides are low and the pools are most explorable. The Kapalua Bay guided hike to Upcountry offers guests a truly unique experience—to see what a golf course looks like when the wild reclaims its domain. Leave anyone who’s not up for a rigorous hike behind for this one. You’ll trade sweat for the views. This hike takes you through the Puu Kukui Watershed Preserve that feeds the whole west side of Maui. Hawaiian rainforest blends with trails that traverse the old golf course and the top of the trail promises a break at a beautiful water feature filled with koi fish and surrounded by Cook pine trees. During the summer and fall, you can pluck guava and passion fruit right from the local fruit trees. This hike is available every Wednesday at 8 a.m. In December, a fascinating native seabird can be found along the Kapalua Bay coastal trail. Masses of wedge-tailed shearwaters gather here to breed. They fly in every evening and guests can go out to hear their strange calls and peek into their burrows in the morning. “The wedge-tailed shearwaters return to their burrows in the evening, to either be with their mate or their offspring. The best time to experience this is right as the sun is setting between Lanai and Molokai,” says Ashleigh Gay, recreation manager of Montage Kapalua Bay. “As you stand on the bluffs of Hawea Point and look out onto the water, you will see hundreds of birds flying in. To be surrounded by these silent flyers at sunset is a moment that will remain locked in time and in your memory. We are truly lucky to be able to have this in our backyard here at Montage Kapalua Bay. It is one of our best-kept secrets that our guests learn about. Kapalua is a magical place.” When the shearwaters leave, Hawaii’s stunning surf, as well as whales and turtles, become the main attractions. This hike winds down to Ironwoods Beach where you can enjoy natural sand dunes and native plants before turning around to return to Montage Kapalua Bay. This guided hike, available on Thursdays at 8 a.m., covers a mile and a half of easy terrain and is suitable for all ages. No matter which Montage destination you find yourself at, nature is just a step away and exploration abounds.
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