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Episode 1213—Air Date: March 25, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about climbing an 80-foot ice wall to survive, attempting to escape from Alcatraz, celebrating Washington's cherry blossom legacy, stealing lunch from hungry lions, salving the mental wounds of elephants from warzones, saving the Arabian Sea's critters, examining the human need for faith, and searching Marseille for tips to blending cultures peacefully.

HOUR 1

Jim Davidson was tired, but happy, after he and climbing partner Mike Price began their descent from a crowded Mt. Rainier in June 21, 1992. Suddenly, the ice gave out under him and he, the lead climber, dragged Price down an 80-foot chasm along with him. Davidson's survival is detailed in his book, The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier.

• Alcatraz is more than bird-poo covered rock where Al Capone was incarcerated in San Francisco Bay. The iconic penitentiary has also been the site of a Native American rights protest and was occupied for nearly two years by protestors. And it is home to thousands of cormorants, gulls, and harbor seals. Donald MacDonald details the island's colorful past in his book Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark.

• Springtime in Washington, D.C., is colored with hues of pink, purple, and white that makes fall's yellows, oranges, and reds seem drab by comparison. This year, cherry blossoms celebrate their 100th year in the District. Ann McClellan tells Boyd about the colorful history of the trees that she details in her new book Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Bos Hochstenbach left the Netherlands for Africa because of the continent's wide-open landscapes and the generosity of the people. He started Asilia Africa Safaris and employs many Maasai tribesmen as spotters to give safe wild-animal tours. One of his spotters, Rakita, gained international fame when he stole a wildebeest leg from 15 hungry lions.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss two accidental dinosaur discoveries and a previously unknown frog found in New York City.

HOUR 2

• Humans aren't the only animals affected when we fight long, painful wars. In the late 1970's Mozambique endured a bloody civil war in which many elephants were massacred in Gorongosa National Park. Now, the elephants are aggressive toward humans and have charged trucks. Dr. Joyce Poole and her brother Bob Poole shot a movie, titled War Elephants, about their efforts to rehabilitate the skittish creatures.

• How to best manage resources is a contentious debate that can cause headaches for even one nation. But when 8 nations are involved, it gets very tricky. Somalia, Oman, Iran, Djibouti, Pakistan, India, Yemen, and the Maldives all share the Arabian Sea. As Kennedy Warne tells Boyd—and as he writes in "The Seas of Arabia" in the March 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine—protecting the sea is very tricky.

• Religion is another issue about which people sometimes get into long, ugly fights—sometimes those conflicts disrupt a meal, other times, they threaten international peace. Jesse Bering tells Boyd that humans have a need to believe in something greater than themselves. And a higher power that thinks, acts, and looks human makes the most sense. His book The Belief Instinct details these motivations.

• France is seen as a cosmopolitan nation that dictates fashion tastes, where citizens walk down wide boulevards with a baguette under one arm. And that may be true for Paris. But photographer Ed Kashi paints a very different picture in his photos for "Marseilles' Melting Pot" in the March 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine. The photographer visited the ancient southern port city and found a metropolis filled with immigrants from around the Mediterranean all sharing the city in relative harmony.

• In his regular Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares the story about his own trip to Mount Rainier and why he won't take safety for granted on a unpredictable mountain top.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1213—Air Date: March 25, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Jim Davidson

    Jim Davidson was tired but happy after he and climbing partner Mike Price began their descent from a crowded Mt. Rainier in June 21, 1992. Suddenly, the ice gave out under him and he, the lead climber, dragged Price down an 80-foot chasm along with him. Davidson's survival is detailed in his book, The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier.

  • 00:08:00 Donald MacDonald

    Alcatraz is more than the bird poo covered rock in the San Francisco Bay where Al Capone was incarcerated. The iconic penitentiary was also the site of a Native American rights protest and was occupied for nearly two years by protestors. It is also home to thousands of cormorants, gulls and harbor seals. Donald MacDonald details the island's colorful past in Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark.

  • 00:06:00 Ann McClellan

    Springtime in Washington, D.C. is colored with hues of pink, purple and white that makes fall's yellows, oranges and reds seem drab by comparison. This year, cherry blossoms celebrate their 100th year in the District. Ann McClellan tells Boyd about the colorful history of the trees, which she details in her new book Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

  • 00:08:00 Bos Hochstenbach

    Bos Hochstenbach left the Netherlands for Africa because of the continent's wide open landscapes and the generosity of the people. He startedAsilia Africa Safaris and employs many Maasai tribesmen as spotters to give safe, but wild animal tours. One of his spotters, named Rakita, gained international fame when he stole a wildebeest leg from 15 hungry lions.

  • David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss two accidental dinosaur discoveries and a previously unknown frog found in New York City.

  • 00:11:00 Joyce Poole

    Humans aren't the only animals affected when we fight long, painful wars. In the late 1970's Mozambique endured a bloody civil war in which many elephants were massacred in Gorongosa National Park. Now, the elephants are aggressive toward humans and have charged trucks. Dr. Joyce Poole and her brother Bob Poole shot a movie, titled War Elephants, about their efforts to rehabilitate the skittish creatures.

  • 00:09:00 Kennedy Warne

    How to best manage natural resources is a contentious debate that can cause headaches for even one nation. Somalia, Oman, Iran, Djibouti, Pakistan, India, Yemen and the Maldives all share the Arabian Sea. But Kennedy Warne tells Boyd that protecting the sea's wildlife is very tricky. He wrote The Seas of Arabia which appeared in the March issue of National Geographic magazine.

  • 00:06:00 Jesse Bering

    Religion is another issue about which people frequently get into long, ugly fights - sometimes they disrupt a meal, other times, they threaten international peace. Jesse Bering tells Boyd that humans have a need to believe in something greater than themselves. And a Higher Power that thinks, acts and looks human makes the most sense. His book, The Belief Instinct details these motivations.

  • 00:08:00 Ed Kashi

    France is seen as a cosmopolitan nation that dictates fashion tastes, where citizens walk down wide boulevards with a baguette under their arms. And that may be true for Paris. But Ed Kashi paints a very different picture of Marseille in the March issue of National Geographic magazine. The photographer visited the ancient southern port city filled with immigrants from around the Mediterranean who all share a city in relative harmony.

  • In his regular Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares the story about his own trip to Mount Rainier and why he won't take safety for granted on a unpredictable mountain top.