Welcome to Kaiyote Tours!

Birding, Wildlife, and Nature Tours

Hiking, Backpacking, Outdoor Adventure Trips!

Birding, Wildlife and Nature Tours

Thanks for visiting Kaiyote Tours.  Our travel company has two parts: One is providing tours to destinations within the United States and the other is organizing International Birding and Nature Tours.  We specialize in Birding, Botany, Wildlife Viewing, Nature Travel and Outdoor Adventures.  Check out our destinations:

Olympic National Park:  We provide trips and tours for all levels and interests, from driving tours to week-long treks across the park. Check the Olympic pages for more info. 

Rocky Mountain National Park:  We offer a wide range of activities, which include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, day hikes, overnight backpacking, birding, and wildlife watching. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:  Guided Hiking, Birding Tours, stargazing, and over-night Backpacking trips.  Visit the dunes, mountains, and national wildlife refuges of the San Luis Valley.

United States:  Interested in taking a road trip and seeing the beautiful landscapes of the United States?  We organize multi-day birding and nature tours in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Washington.  We also offer tours that include opera and cultural events.  Check our tours in the United States for a variety of interesting and fun activities! 

International Travel:  If you love birds, wildlife, and the thrill of getting to remote places, the trips we offer are for you. On all trips it is our goal to see as many birds and interesting critters as possible, but we also appreciate that travel is always more than that; the places you will get to in your life and the people you meet along the way will be some of the most memorable experiences you will have. 

Unique Experiences and great opportunities for learning and adventure. We travel in small groups of 4 - 8 travelers with knowledgeable guides. If you prefer private trips, we have on-demand and custom tours as you like.  We are outdoor educators; teaching you about the natural world is our focus.

Adventure levels for international travel:  We have classified the level of difficulty for each international trip to help you understand and to decide if a trip is right for you.  These classifications are based on our specific tours.

  • Easy: These tours do not require you to be in any particular level of fitness; everyone is welcome.  Everywhere we stay will have reliable electricity and we will be close to “state of the art” medical facilities.  Public health and transportation standards are considered excellent. Countries:  Taiwan, Iceland (all 5 trips), Sweden (all 3 trips) France (both trips), and all birding, nature, and culture tours within the United States.
  • Moderate: These tours require a minimal amount of physical abilities, you need only be able to walk short distances and be able to handle heat, humidity, cold and/or high-altitude conditions.  Most places we stay at usually have reliable electricity, but there have been short periods of electric outages in the past.  The countries generally have “fair - good” medical facilities that are usually 1 – 4 hours away.  Public health and transportation standards are considered “fair – good” depending on the specific country. Countries:  Argentina (both trips), Colombia Andes, Panama, Nicaragua (3 trips: Cloud Forest, Volcanoes, Pacific), El Salvador, Cambodia, India, Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • Adventurous: These trips require you to be in good physical shape and be healthy.  You will need to carry your own luggage and/or backpack. Some of the places we stay at do not have electricity but have a generator for a few hours a day. Sometimes the lodging does not have hot water.  The countries generally have “good” medical facilities, but access might be 1 – 2 travel days away.  Countries:  Borneo, Mongolia, Colombia Amazon, Nicaragua (2 trips: Rainforest and Corn Islands).
Travel Quotes

Our Favorite Travel Quotations

I go around the world... to see what's there and to see if I'm in the right place. Georgia O'Keefe

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living. Sir David Attenborough 

"Ocian in view! O! the joy," William Clark's journal, November 7, 1805

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more clearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. - Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in The Cevennes, 1879

Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive. - Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change. - Katharine Butler Hathaway

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine. - Caskie Stinnett

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - H. Jackson Browne Jr

Ah, if I had known this was my last time here, I would have stayed a little longer - savored it a little more. - Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. - Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

There is nothing nobler than to put up with a few inconveniences like snakes and dust for the sake of absolute freedom. - Jack Kerouac

Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.  We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. - Cesare Pavese

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. - James A. Michener

The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore... unlike the mediocre, the intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible... it is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors... to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown. - Ferdinand Magellan

Throw your dreams into space like a kite and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. - Ana’s Nin

I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. - Bill Bryson

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. - Martin Buber

One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more, happy. - Sir Richard Francis Burton

I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind instead of reading about them, and of the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an Islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us to set our young men abroad for a term among the few allies our wars have left us. - Lord Byron

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. - Gilbert K. Chesterton

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel's immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad of new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way. - Ralph Crawshaw

Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of clothes - with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating. - Michael Crichton

When one realizes that his life is worthless, he either commits suicide or travels. - Edward Dahlberg

The journey not the arrival matters. - T. S. Eliot

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

All the pathos and irony of leaving one's youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time. - Paul Fussell

The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases. - William Hazlitt, "On Going a Journey," Table Talk, 1822

Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken. - Frank Herbert

Some minds improve by travel, others, rather, resemble copper wire, or brass, which get the narrower by going farther. - Thomas Hood, Ode to Rae Wilson

Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and stranger than anything I had hoped for or imagined - how is it that this safe return brings such regret? - Peter Mathissen

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. - George Moore

A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent (which I cannot deny myself to be without being impious) will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place... - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled. - unknown

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, un-forgiveness, selfishness and fears. - Cesare Pavese

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. - Moslih Eddin Saadi

Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. - Susan Sontag

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Travel like Ghandi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind. - Rick Steves

Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones. - Anne Sophie Swetchine

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect. - Paul Theroux

Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going. - Paul Theroux

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. - Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. - Henry David Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - Henry David Thoreau

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost. - J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. - Mark Twain

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

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. - Lao Tzu

A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveler does not know where he came from. - Lin Yutang

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. - Lin Yutang

To see once is worth more than hearing a hundred times. - African Proverb

Walking ten thousand miles of world is better than reading ten thousand scrolls of books. - Chinese Proverb

Good company on the road is the shortest cut. - Italian saying

The Journey Is The Reward. - Taoist Proverb

Venture all; see what fate brings. - Vietnamese Proverb

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. - unknown

I have wandered all my life, and I also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. - Hilaire Belloc

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land. - Gilbert K. Chesterton

Travelers never think that THEY are the foreigners. - Mason Cooley 

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing". - Daniel J. Boorstin

Finding the Little River

There is a trail that leads into Olympic National Park called the Little River.  The trail-head is small and easy to miss if you are moving too fast and carelessly along the roadway.  A small, faded wooden sign and a slight cut of the trees, marks the opening into the forest.  If you have drifted too far or have become distracted for too long, step into the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula to find yourself again.  Floating and drifting aimlessly across the liquid plane of the planet, bring yourself to solid ground by following these simple and easy directions to the Little River Trail.

Forty-eight degrees arcs across the northern, deep blue Pacific and will pull you into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  When the sea is angry, take shelter in the small harbor of Port Angeles.  The curve of the rocky spit will reach for you and take you in amongst the black turnstones and polished pebbles.  If the darkness hides your way, move slow and hold fast to the lights of the city shore. Drop anchor alongside the massive tankers and cargo ships whose towers are high above the sightline of the horizon.  The pounding thunder of their enormous anchor chains falling and grinding to the bottom will make you feel irrelevant and small.  Listen for the water falling as the ships empty the ballast holds; salty water back to the salty sea. Glaucous-winged gulls, posted and guarding, will scream and laugh at you as you try to find your way. Look west, the huffing and puffing pulp mill whistles and blows with ghostly steam that reveals the course of wind that carried and keeps you here.

Logs are everywhere; floating in the harbor, stacked on the land.  Loaded trucks with pup trailers in tow, haul logs down the gravel mountain roads, giving way to the rusted yellow lift trucks and jammers rounding the stacks to be piled high, while diesel engines growl.  The smell of cedar, pine and mud, drifts on the wind as the stripped bark and shredded coats of the trees reveals a core of inner strength.  Bulker and reefer ships float in the harbor, waiting for the next load that will lower them down the waterline, giving force against the resisting waves.  The sea dogs gather en masse on the sorted and chained logs floating in the sheltered bay.  They snort and bark at the day and through the night, belching and groaning to be heard.  At the tip of the hook of land, which makes the rocky promontory, sit the bright orange and rescue readied boats and helicopters of the Coast Guard and the neighboring house of ship pilots waiting for their next run of maneuvering freighters through Puget Sound.  Keep an eye alert and you might catch a glimpse of the hard, gray steel underwater predators of the navy.  Find your way to the marina waterfront of fishing and pleasure boats and the north edge of the Olympic Peninsula.  This is the port of Port Angeles; where tall, corrugated steel buildings house the boats and their builders who work to restore what the sea has taken and repair what has broken for those who have faltered.

Board your dingy, paddle ashore and take to the land following the route of the Black Diamond. The wet, dark pavement will take you away from the edge of the cityscape and through a small band of rural scenery where you will find the lovely gardens of homesteaders and small wineries.  At the edge of this countryside, the vast Olympic Wilderness of nearly two and a half million acres begins and so too begins the Little River trail. Step onto this mountain path and find yourself in a thick, glistening rainforest of big trees and big ferns. The understory is a blanket of soft, spongy moss and forest debris.  The color green is everywhere with infinite hues you never knew.  Don’t expect to swiftly cover much distance with your boots on the ground, for around every bend is another moment that slows your stride with one more big breath of wonderment.

Small Pacific wrens will alert the forest of your arrival; they are brown, plain and very small, but their chirps are decisive and loud and direct all to hear as they dart and hide beneath the fallen trees and broken branches on the forest floor.  The regeneration and persistence of life never pauses; no sooner does a branch or tree fall, when a new life starts to grow on what has fallen.  The trail follows alongside the Little River with numerous waterfalls and cascades that bubble and roil out loud as you find your way through the cool, misty world of rain and forest.  There is a lot of distance that can be traveled on this trail.  The beginning of the trail is an easy slope that meanders alongside the river, but the trail will begin to climb and if you choose, you can continue up the trail for eight miles and rise four thousand feet through the trees to find yourself on the summit of the bent and crumbling horseshoe of Hurricane Ridge.  Climbing to the heights of the wind-swept cumulus clouds, you are soaring on top on the world and looking down on the reflecting sea below.  Look to the southwest and you can see the bright glaciers, coursing and crushing down the mountain ranges, one after another.  Standing tall atop this precious alpine vista and amongst the little, colorful wildflowers at your feet, your discovery and your treasure will be the time that was spent on this small patch of earth that gave you those lasting thoughts of love and beauty that surrounded and held you for those short moments.  Kaiyote Snow, May 2020

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