34 episodes

In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcas‪t‬ Matt and Karen Smith

    • Places & Travel
    • 4.9 • 588 Ratings

In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

    Mailbag!

    Mailbag!

    Our first all-mailbag episode. Thank you for all the questions and comments you’ve sent to us about our podcast. We thought we’d try something new and dedicate an entire show to answering your questions. It was a lot of fun recording this episode; we hope you enjoy it.

    Some of the questions/topics we discuss in this episode:

    What are the transportation options to Isle Royale National Park?

    How do we stay in shape?

    Why didn’t we take the pottery chard we found in Grand Canyon NP to the park headquarters?

    Do we ever do outdoor adventures with our adult children?

    What’s it like to go to the top of the Gateway Arch?

    Have we ever thought of creating videos?


    Links to more information:

    Links to our latest YouTube videos:

    Kahtoola MICROspike® review

    Jetboil demonstration

    Ratsack and BearVault review

    Links to ferry info to Isle Royale NP

    Ferry from Copper Harbor

    Ranger III

    Sea Hunter III


    Voyageur II


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 49 min
    Six Astounding State Parks

    Six Astounding State Parks

    In this episode we take you with us on a journey to six of our favorite state parks as we talk about what makes each of these parks unique and why we think they’re astounding. With more than ten thousand state parks spread across the country, our list of favorites is long, and we may have to record several episodes about these smaller, but just-as-spectacular public lands. On our original trip to all the national parks, we had little time to visit them, but since then, we’ve made it a point to see as many as we can. Consider this episode a mere sampling of the hidden treasures that await you. (And, no, we are not partial to parks with “Smith” in the name. But they do get our attention.)

    The parks we discuss in this episode:

    Custer SP (South Dakota)

    Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (Northern California)

    Valley of Fire SP (Nevada)

    Antelope Island SP (Utah)

    Goblin Valley SP (Utah)

    Smith Rock SP (Oregon)


    Links to more information:


    Photos from our trip


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 48 min
    Horse Pack Trip into the Wilderness

    Horse Pack Trip into the Wilderness

    Saddle up, partner! Apologies for the corny opening, but—spoiler alert—more horse-related puns are awaiting you in this episode. We’ve taken many treks into wilderness areas in the past ten years, yet most of them have been of the two-legged variety. On this adventure, we let our four-legged friends do the hard part, carrying us (and our stuff) deep into the Pasayten Wilderness of north-central Washington state. As it seems with most of our exploits, there were a few bumps in the trail that we didn’t anticipate. But by the time we ended our four-day, three-night trip, we were ready to do it all over again. We just needed a few days for our butts to stop aching.

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    What it was like to ride a horse for the first time in 25 years

    The curious suggestions we got from friends as we were preparing

    The unique characteristics about each of our horses

    The magnificent setting of our camp and the details of camp life

    Why our horses deserted us and how we got them back

    How it felt to wake up in a frozen tent in August

    Our amazing daytrips 

    And, it wouldn’t be a Matt and Karen adventure without a guest appearance from an oh-too-familiar slithery companion


    Links to more information:


    Photos from our trip


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 51 min
    Havasu Falls

    Havasu Falls

    Taking a wish out of Karen’s bucket, in 2016 we braved the hike down into the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls with our friends John and Lolly. Fortunately, we both scored lodging in Supai Village, on the Havasupai Indian reservation, so we didn’t have to carry packs full of camping gear with us. Havasu Creek's waterfalls are a natural wonder that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. If you Google photos of Havasu Falls, rest assured that the turquoise blue water in those pictures are what you’ll see as you’re standing there in person, looking up in awe. In this episode, we describe our trip to see the falls, including the hike down and back, and our stay at the lodge in the remote village by the falls.

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    Where the heck is Havasu Falls? Hint: Not by Lake Havasu

    Why it took us a couple of tries to do this trip

    How a last-minute medical emergency almost stopped us for a second time

    Where the trailhead is for the hike down

    Description of the hike to Supai Village

    Seeing the jaw-dropping falls in person

    Staying at the lodge in the village

    Tips for how to get a reservation at the lodge

    What we would do differently if we went back


    Links to more information:

    The Havasu Falls website where you can find more information and make reservations


    Photos from our trip


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 49 min
    Our Favorite Hikes in the National Parks

    Our Favorite Hikes in the National Parks

    In this episode we talk about some of our favorite hikes in the national parks. It took us a couple of tries to record this one because we had too many on our original “favorites” list. (We may have to do a follow-up episode someday to talk about all of the other jaw dropping trails we left out.) So grab your notebook because we provide a ton of information about must-do hikes in many of the most popular national parks. If you’re like us, you’ll want to hike many of these trails multiple times. Just be sure you take plenty of water, bear spray, and a headlamp. Do not forget your headlamp! And at the end of the episode, we answer a question from our mailbag. 

    Some of the hikes we discuss in this episode:

    Devil’s Garden-Primitive Loop – Arches NP

    Chesler Park-Joint Trail Loop - Canyonlands

    Fairyland Loop - Bryce Canyon

    Gower Gulch-Golden Canyon - Death Valley

    Giant Forest Loop Trail - Sequoia

    And many, many more...

    In the mailbag segment we talk about whether we have any plans to hike long-distance trails like the Pacific Crest or Appalachian Trails

    Links to more information:


    Amazon link to the 24-inch folding table we use for our side-of-the-road picnics in the national parks* On Amazon, select the 24-inch size table. It should be priced just under $50.


    Photos from the hikes we discussed in this episode


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    *We participate in the Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program. If you make a purchase on Amazon by following a link on this page, we may be paid a fee. Fees earned through this program help support this podcast.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Death Valley National Park

    Death Valley National Park

    Despite its not-so-enticing name, Death Valley National Park is one of our favorite destinations, especially in the winter months. Being the lowest, driest, and hottest place in North America, you might be surprised that it also has 11,000+-foot, snow-covered peaks. In this episode we talk about some of the best places to see in the park and give some suggestions for what to do if you only have a few days to visit. And at the end of the episode, we answer a biting question from our mailbag.

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    How the park got its name

    When is the best time to visit

    Where to stay, eat, and get gas in the park

    The best places in the park to watch the sunset

    Some of our favorite hikes

    Spectacular backcountry drives

    Whether aliens visited the Racetrack (you’ll have to listen to the episode to understand what this means)



    Links to more information:

    Visit the park’s website for more park information

    For backcountry travel, you might want to rent a Jeep from Farabee’s



    Photos from our trip


    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
588 Ratings

588 Ratings

treatsmom ,

Our favorite Podcast

I have read and enjoyed their books but their personalities shine through on the podcast. My husband and I are very adventurous and love our National Parks. I know many people feel this way about Matt and Karen but I’m certain we would become fast friends if we ever met. My husband and I often laugh out loud often during their banter:):)

Suziecue73 ,

Such Fun!

I really love your podcasts! Ya’ll sound like you are have so much fun! Of course the stories about the National Parks are so interesting. I listen to these stories and they get me interested in seeing places I haven’t seen and trying to hike more. Keep up the great work!

Mary Klinger

Uwviper ,

Informative with a heavy dose of humor!

Great info sprinkled with witty humor!

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