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November 2003

Bear With Them

Millions saw the Gray family's photos during the 1950s—in the National Geographic. Most of the year, dad Ralph wrote as the "Old Explorer" for the Society's now discontinued School Bulletin. But in summer he turned author and photographer for a series of family trip stories published in the Geographic. "We saw bears—brown, cinnamon, and black—in Yellowstone National Park," he noted in the June 1953 issue. In fact, his kids Judith (in car) and Mary Ellen and Will (on roof) saw them closer than is advised; it's illegal today to get within a hundred yards of park bears. What the Gray treks lacked in air-conditioning, they made up for in fun. "We'd fly down the road," Will recalls, "with the windows open and a pile of comic books in the backseat."

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November Flashback
Photograph by Ralph Gray

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