Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

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

Juneteenth – Celebrating Freedom From Slavery at Old Sturbridge Village

posted: June 23rd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’ve been scurrying this past week, stopping first in New Jersey to visit family living along Shades of Death Road (Truly) then — a week later — on to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to visit more family members.

Relatives aside, one of the highlights of our entire 9-month trip (we left Montana in October) has been to visit Old Sturbridge Village, something I’ve reported on several times before.  Justifiably, the village claims it is a living museum, and exists to portray life as it existed in New England between 1790s and 1830. At times the village portrays special historical events, and this past week it portrayed “Juneteenth.”

JUNETEENTH

The word Juneteenth dates back to 1865 and recalls the first known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Many African Americans must consider it their 4th of July, and Old Sturbridge Village highlighted that historical event by assembling superb story tellers.  We were amazed at their repertoire of expressions and by their ability to entrance diverse audiences.

Sadly, Juneteenth coincides with the horrors of this past week’s shooting spree in South Carolina, causing many to wonder why so much racial hatred still prevails.  It’s now 152 years after Lincoln signed his  Emancipation Proclamation, which is what Juneteenth is intended to celebrate.


TammyDenease-1 EmmaRae-1 Tammy-1

 

CAPTIONS:  Tammy Denease portrays a number of women who knew the tragedy created by slavery.  For more see Historical Firsts.  Center, Emma Rae portraying Harriet Beecher Stowe reading from her still-famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


Juneteenth at OSV was highlighted with quality performers, and  Actress/narrator Tammy Denease Richardson was the first to introduce us to the plight of slavery as practiced in the early 1800s.  Born in Mississippi, Ms. Richardson spent countless hours with her 100-year old grandmother and great-grandmother, the latter of whom was a former slave who lived to be 125 years old.  Both were well-known storytellers who passed this treasured gift on to Ms. Richardson, their granddaughter.

During the week, she played the part of several slaves, such as Sarah Margru, who had been brought from Africa via Cuba to America on the slave ship Amistad.  In her presentation, she described the beatings at the hands of owners – as well as other types of “physical” abuse.  Throughout, she emphasized that Margru never forgot her African roots, despite the fact she was only nine when captured thousands of miles away.

In yet another performance Richardson depicted Elizabeth Keckly, an enslaved woman who bought her freedom and that of her son for $1,200, gaining prominence as a dressmaker and as a confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln.

WOULD HAVE DIED FOR JUST A MOMENT OF FREEDOM

In yet another performance, Ms. Richardson acted out a narration of  Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman.  The story is true and relates Mum Bett’s challenge to win her freedom after suffering 30 years in bondage.  You can hear the words echoing through the ages as sadness fills the face of Ms. Freeman. But the words that follow do not falter and with strength of purpose she speaks the same words uttered so long ago by Mum Bett:

“Anytime, anytime while I was a slave, if one minute’s freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it — just to stand one minute on God’s airth a free woman — I would.”

It was a fitting prelude to other actors/story tellers who presentations were equally as poignant.

Andre Keitt was another of the week’s story tellers, and our program referred to him as one of the Keys to the Keepers.  His narration ran the gamut, at times  filled with lighthearted anecdotes that he said helped slaves forget the day-to-day reality of servitude.  Keitt said that many of the thoughts and words came from his grandmother Martha Greatheart.  He said that when he was young he would listen to her words over and over, trying to absorb her wisdom.


AndreKeitt-9 AndreKeitt-10 AndreKeitt-8


L to R:  Andre Keitt and a partial Repertoire of expressions used to express humor, pathos, reflection and determination.


“I never got tired of hearing them,” said Keitt, adding that from that moment he heard the stories, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.  “I knew,” he said, “that I had to write her stories down before they were lost forever.”

Mr. Keitt said the majority of those stories have a lineage that can be traced back to family members who were emancipated slaves. He said that many of the stories evolved to escaped the hardships of slavery, and he used as an example Bre’er Fox and Bre’er Rabbit.  Anyone, he said,  could be called Bre’er and he picked Janie from the audience as an example.  “Bre’re Jane,” said Keitt.  “I bet you are a good story teller.”

Janie and I attended other programs and I hope to share with you performances characterizing Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe, which were also featured this past week at Old Sturbridge Village.


——-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Raccoon At Our Feeder


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Shenandoah’s Deer & Bears

posted: June 6th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:With very little connectivity in Shenandoah NP, creating posts has been difficult.  Nevertheless, I was almost overwhelmed by some of the photo opportunities that presented themselves, particularly ones of deer and bears.

Let’s start with bears, and the images that follow were afforded while traveling south along the Skyline Drive, just past Timber Hollow Overlook.  I arrived shortly after Momma Bear had ushered Baby Bear high into a tree. Momma Bear then shinnied the tree herself and assumed a guard position on a limb about 20 feet above the ground. She didn’t seem to object to her situation until someone driving an unmufflered vehicle screeched to a stop and then began running around with a cell phone camera.

BlackBear-30 BlackBear-43 BlackBear-33


Here are some images of Momma Bear showing some of the aggressive poses she assumed as more people stopped and began moving in toward the base of her tree. I must note that I was way back with a 600mm telephoto lens. I think the lens provides an acceptable working distance.

FAWNING SEASON:

The other great opportunity occurred early one morning as I wandered one of the park’s meadow area.  In Shenandoah National Park, May and early June are the times in which fawns enter the world. Their arrival creates lots of stories and most bring a smile to the face of the listener.

For instance, about a week ago a doe tucked her new born into some tall grass near our camper. First, however, she licked it and then licked it some more — the goal to remove every bit of scent from the body of its young. Then she went off and left it for several hours as she browsed the surrounding woodland and grassland for food.


DeerB-Meadow-1 DeerB-Meadow-14 DeerBigMeadow-11


Normally, that’s a safe practice, but one doe was not so lucky. While gone, a hungry bear found the fawn and the rest of the story is not such a happy one — at least for the doe. The incident happened just before I arrived.

But, generally, hiding the new born works; it gives the mother a chance to regroup and the young a chance to acquire its footing. Then, several days later when fawns can move around, they join their mothers and begin learning about the huge world they’ve just entered.

That’s when most of my images were taken and, I must say, the interaction of doe and fawns sure brought happiness to my life. It’s wonderful that Shenandoah preserves such a magnificent slice of nature. These stories are accessible for most anyone willing to rise early and do a bit of searching.

MountainLaurel-AS


We’re now on our way north mostly to visit family.  Because most work, we’ll have lots of spare time to complete work on our book Hiking Shenandoah.  Point of fact, the book does more than just outline hiking routes; it also details the natural history and history that hiking in this magnificent park affords.  Release next year will mark the books fifth update.


——————-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Miles City Bucking Horse Sale


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Books That Will Enhance Your Travels

posted: May 15th, 2015 | by:webdoc

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Last Nights in Nashville

posted: April 30th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’ve been camped at Two Rivers in Nashville and surrounding us has been a number of other Airstreamers. Bert Wagemans, camped near us, is an example, though he came for reasons different from most, but still related to music. Wagemans was here to participate in a Country Music marathon because he says that the proceeds go to a good cause. “They go to benefit children at St. Jude Hospitals.”

Still, Wagemans said it was impossible not to think about music. “Every couple of blocks for almost the entire 26-mile run,” said Wagemans, “there was a band. That makes it easy for a runner interested in music to crystalize his thoughts.”


StreetScenes-14 StreetScenes-16 StreetScenes-12


L to R: Megan Ellis with her very popular band; performers are of all ages, and play for tips and recognition; one of the 20-plus bars located along a several block stretch of Broadway.  Nashville attracts only the very talented, and some make it, some don’t. Hard to say who will survive to become another start.


Wagemans said that all the bands were great, but he believes that’s unique to Nashville. “It’s finding treasures of unrecognized musicians so good that they can transition from blues to rock or to country — and not miss a beat. I’ve never seen that anywhere except in Nashville.”

Three nights ago night Janie and I returned to the streets of Nashville and found a number of bands that projected Wagermans’s thoughts. Here are some images showing that Nashville attracts such a diversity of visitors that bands must perform in multiple genres.  It also reveals difficult lighting situations.

TWO NIGHTS AGO:

Two nights ago, and somewhat on a spur of the moment impulse I returned by shuttle to downtown Nashville. I then hiked over the people bridge, scoped out a number of areas where city lights reflected in the Cumberland River, then waited for darkness to fall.


GenJackson-1 GenJackson-3


L to R:  Nashville City lights, taken from banks of Cumberland; People Bridge.

 

I set up my tripod, took a number of images of city lights with which I was very happy. I then decided to depart, but just as I crested the top of the people bridge I heard music, and it was filling the darkness. Slowly, upriver but off in the distance, an apparition began to take shape soon assuming the form of the huge General Jackson cruise boat. It passed under the bridge then paused for a few minutes near the city lights, which I’d been photographing. It was a wonderful stroke of luck.


GenJackson-5

The General Jackson cruise boat, appeared from upstream darkness like an apparition, growing lighter as it came.  From the boat came the music of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up.”  From where I stood, it didn’t appear hokey at all.  The boat paused where you see it, then reversed engines and headed back upstream, soon to appear as only a glimmer of lights.  Then night swallowed it.


Naturally, I began clicking my tripod mounted camera and was overjoyed with the resulting images. For a photographer it was the perfect conclusion to the delightful eight-day stay Janie and I have enjoyed here in Nashville, Tennessee.  And now, we’re en-route to Shenandoah, where you will soon be seeing a different type of photography.  We’ll be staying in one of the park campgrounds, updating what has proven to be a very popular guide. It is  listed below with several of our other travel books.


——————–

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:


Miles City Bucking Horse Sale


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Country Music — Barometer of a Person’s Soul

posted: April 24th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Nashville, Tennessee, along Broadway and Second – or Third – everyone, regardless of age, is young.  But there’s more.  Here, as boots, jeans, miniskirts, low-cut blouses attest — everyone is sexy, cool and self assured.

Mostly it’s because of Country Music, and for the day, we’re part of the in-crowd though our dress remains conservative.  Music tastes, however, are eclectic and we adhere to Phil Vassar’s philosophy, a performer who believes that [music is the] “true Barometer of a Person’s Soul.


Ryman3

Ryman, the Mother Church of Country Music, almost full half hour before opening.

 

But there’s yet more:  this is all about Country Music, which has been further defined by Harlan Howard as “Three chords of music – and the truth.”

In all probability there are millions who have made the pilgrimage to Nashville at some time in their life to “learn the truth.”  After all “Stars” have truly influenced the lives of many.  They’ve added meaning, and the group of devotees is diverse and includes representatives from all walks. But what most in the group share in common is that few are strangers to Hee-Haw (longest running TV Show), or to musicians such as Slim Whitman, Merle Haggard, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Lefty Frizzell, Cowboy Copas, Webb Pierce or Kitty Wells.  These performers have helped to fashion barometers of the faithful.

 

GoldCadillac Tooties

 

L to R: Elvis Presley’s gold cadillac; 11 a.m. at Tootsie’s, who’s owner once provided upstairs rental rooms to both Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard.

 

Music is also a mood setters for us, but this morning it’s augmented by a self-walking tour with short a.m. stops at several bars along Broadway.  (10:30 at Trixie’s, 10:45 at the Legend, and 11 at Dick’s Last Resort.)  All are full and the comradery of the crowd is an inducement to stay, but we’re on a mission, so we limit our intake.  But others don’t.  They imbibe sinful amounts, something city fathers must have anticipated long ago for Nashville boasts 700-plus churches.  (Little wonder gospel music is so popular.)

For us, the day-time mood setters was basically confined to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which we entered about 11:30.  We take almost four hours to walk the immense layout of this legendary shrine.  TV screens are everywhere and on one Cousin Many Pearl is proclaiming that [she is] “…just so proud to be here.”

On another Carl Perkins is singing and dancing to his Blue Suede Shoes, while on yet another Hank Williams Sr. is crooning “We’ll Go Honky Talkin’.


Ryman2 JohnnyCash Ryman


L to R: April 23rd performance of Opry Country Classics included Larry Gatlin, TG Sheppard, The Whites and Craig Morgan.  It was an incredible venue.  Johnny Cash, one of 124 (2014 count) members of the Hall of Fame; exterior of Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and served as home to Grand Ole’ Opry from 1943 to 1974, when it was moved to Opry Land on outskirts of Nashville. 


But displays in the museum are often heroic – but almost always genuine.  They include music instruments, costume dress – and Elvis’s Gold Cadillac.  Look at the mirrors and handles but also at his gold piano.

That night we make the short walk from Main Street to attend the “Opry Country Classics.” at the Ryman.  The lineup is great and includes Larry Gatlin as MC. Later in the program he’s joined by his brothers to sing “All the Gold In California.”  It was great and fans could not contain themselves, joining the Brothers in the refrain:  “All the Gold in California is in a bank in Beverly Hills in Somebody  else’s name.”

Remember??

We will, and for a long time yet to come, for country music continues to influence us.


————————-

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

The Magnificence of Bird Flight


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy






Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Natchez Trace Terminus — Sadly It’s Road’s End

posted: April 22nd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re off the Natchez Trace now and are trying to take a few tentative steps to explore the country music aspects of Nashville.  We also feel privileged that Gary Johnson would drive from his home in Kentucky to visit us here in Nashville.  Gary is another old friend from my days at what is now the University of North Alabama.



NatchezTrace-6

Bridge representing one of the last major aspects of construction creating an uninterrupted highway stretching almost 450 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.


But the Natchez Trace is still on our minds essentially because I took so many images during our week travel along the Trace and am just now processing them.  Included here, then, are a few shots from the northern end of the Parkway that dramatize the aftermath of a spring storm; a hike along the Old Trace; and an image of Janie studying an interpretive column noting that General Jackson traveled here to help preserve America’s Freedom in the War of 1812.


NatchezTrace NatchezTrace-2 NatchezTrace-5


Downed tree near Meriwether Lewis burial site; Old Trace trail; Janie studying an interpretive column noting that General Jackson traveled here to help preserve America’s Freedom in the War of 1812.


Finally, I’ve included the image of a bridge representing one of the last major aspects of construction creating an uninterrupted highway stretching almost 450 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.  The Trace is one of the incredible components managed by the National Park Service, and one we’d recommend to anyone.


———————

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Miles City Bucking Horse Sale

 

 

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Big Bend’s Hundred Year Bloom

posted: April 1st, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: It’s not too late, but you had better hurry.  Right now Big Bend National Park is experiencing what naturalists say is a once in a hundred year bloom.  Dominating the landscape are Texas Blue Bonnets, Desert Marigold, and Bicolor Mustard.  Interspersed among these fields are Prickly Poppy, Blind Prickly Pear and the very patriotic Texas Rainbow Cactus.   Yucca is also in bloom and these tall stately agave look like so many candelabra lighting up the desert.

FlowersAirstream (3 of 5)

Janie, blue bonnets and Airstream


One of the above is presenting itself in numbers we never thought possible.  On a single specimen of the Blind Prickly Pear we counted over 100 blossoms.


TexasRainbowCactus (1 of 5) FlowersAirstream (5 of 5) PricklyPear (1 of 3)

L to R:  Texas Rainbow Cactus, perhaps a verbena (anyone know for sure?), Blind Prickly Pear.


Here are a few images we’ve taken the past few days, and it feels as though this incredible spectacle is just starting to come alive and that there may be much more to come.  If you want to see what is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event, better pack your bags.


—————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy






Read Comments | Post a Comment »

El Pinacate–The Place of All Creation

posted: March 23rd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The Tohono O’odham Indian Nation considers the land embraced by the volcanic field of El Pinacate to be the place of all creation. Last week we made the hour-long drive from Organ Pipe, Arizona, to this “sister” park, and after spending a day in Mexico hiking and driving this magnificent area, we understand.

El Pinacate is a one of a kind volcanic field, containing the the highest concentration of giant maar craters in North America. Giant maars, such as El Elegante, were formed when basalt magma interacted with water in the sediment. This in turn generated violent steam explosions that broke through existing lava flows and created the current craters. As the description on the interpretive board explains, “These craters did not generate lava flows, but huge quantities of rocks and old lava flows were ejected and spread around the crater. Remains of cinder cones and old lava flows can still be seen on the interior walls of craters.”

Pinacate-19 Pinacate-8 Pinacate-52


L to R:  Ocotillo cacti serves here as foreground to the Maar Crater known as El Elegante.  Seneti cacti so common here at El Pinacate grows only in Organ Pipe.  Another image of the crater known as El Elegante, considered unique in the world because it is a Mar volcano.

LEAVING USA

Leaving the security of the good old U.S. was a big deal for us. We’ve heard so many negative things about travel in Mexico that we did so with some trepidations, but our concerns were generally unfounded.

True, when we crossed the border and passed through the Mexican town of Sonoyta, the transition was like day and night. Poverty jabbed you in the eyes, but you can drive by all that in a matter of minutes. Then you come to a substantial highway sign that says “Hassle Free Driving for Americans.” Put in other words, the state of Sonora has realized that they have a better chance of generating a flow of American dollar by treating us with respect rather than stopping us and faulting us for questionable driving infractions.


Pinacate-22

Janie hikes short trail from remote parking lot to El Elegante Crater, pictured above.


Mexicans, of course, also appreciate natural history and we met a number of families touring El Pinacate. Every single member greeted us with smiles and expressions of friendship: “Hola. Como esta.” Or: “Bien dia.”

We returned to Organ Pipe after a very active day. We concluded that we had truly seen one of the most remarkable expressions of volcanism in the world, and came to believe that it was so extraordinary that, indeed, to have been born from such an upheaval would have been a majestic thing.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

The Majesty of Flight


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

The Natural History of Organ Pipe is Reasserting Itself

posted: March 22nd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: As promised (at least on my Facebook account), we’re posting images of the magnificent wildflowers that  winter rains seemed to assure.  It’s a sudden transition, but it’s happening right now.

Just outside the campground proper, a number of flowers have reared their heads.  Along the Perimeter Trail, we’ve seen  Buckhorn Cholla, Hibiscus, and the Brittle Brush.



BrittleBrush-1 BuckHornCholla-2 Hibiscus-3


L to R: Brittlebrush, Buckhorn Cholla, Hibiscus

 

Sadly, some of this beauty has been off limits to visitors until this past September when it was finally deemed safe to open. Because of the vast amount of drug — and just plain human — traffic passing through this exact same area, over 60 percent of the park was closed in 2003. During those 11 years vegetation was trampled and the endangered pronghorn was inhibited from expanding its range.

Park officials recognized the travesty and found funding was now available to bring in the manpower necessary to control this flow.  Last year funds became available and the Border Control was increased from about 50 officers to 500. As a result, the entire park has reopened, and nature has responded to the enforcement that followed and already nature seems to be reclaiming itself.  Just a few days ago one of the volunteer park interpreters spotted the rare Sonoran antelope in the area Janie and I hiked — the Red Tanks Tinaja.


Tinaja-1 Wildflower-2 Wildflower-3

 

L to R: Red Tanks Tinaja, Desert Gold, Globemallow, backdropped by Senita Tree


And two days ago, though signs are posted everywhere asking that you “Please Let It Grow,” vegetation has grown — at least in some places.  Yellow flowers (the Desert Gold), are now sweeping across the sands that characterize La Abra Plain, the region flanking the South Puerto Drive. From the same region the orange flower (Apricot Globemallow,) has reared its head and, here it is backed by the Senita Tree.

Truly, this is a magnificent area and there is little wonder that Organ Pipe National Desert was designated an International Biosphere Preserve, meaning that it is unique in the word.

We’re delighted to be here.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Organ Pipe Test Opening


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 1 Comment »

New Thoughts About Alamo Canyon

posted: February 24th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Three years ago Janie and I hiked the Alamo Canyon Trail in Organ Pipe National Monument – and it was here that we encountered a group of illegal Mexicans stealing along the stream bed.  They were carrying large backpacks highly suggestive of drug smuggling, and the experience was unsettling.  Silently, they glared at us and we glanced back.  Turning, they clamored out of the boulder-strewn stream bed and clawed their way onto the far bank.  Then they disappeared into the brush.  We scurried back to our truck, and then as park instructions requested, we reported the incident to park headquarters.

The experience was, in fact, alarming, and so disconcerting that we have never returned to Alamo Canyon.  But the beauty of the canyon remained fixed in our memories, and because it has been haunting us, and because of increased security measures to help insure visitor piece of mind, yesterday, we returned.


AlamoCanyon (2 of 8)

Thoughts of encounters with illegal aliens have now been replaced with thoughts about the lushness and grandeur of
the saguaro and organ pipe that characterize Alamo Canyon


Alamo Canyon is, in fact, a splendid area, lush with both organ pipe and Saguaro, which you see immediately as you hit the trail.  They flank the path and frame the Ajo Mountain Range, whose jagged ridge juts into the blue desert sky.

A stream parallels the trail and because of recent rains it was trickling, creating condition reminiscent of the features that apparently attracted, Bill and Birdie Miller who homesteaded here in the early 1900’s.  Initially, they build an adobe home, but in the 1920’s the couple replaced it with a brick structure that still stands today.


AlamoCanyon (6 of 8) AlamoCanyon (5 of 8) AlamoCanyon (8 of 8)


Certainly the availability of water attracted the area’s early homesteaders, but perhaps it was also the beauty of
Alamo Canyon that so characterizes this gem of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. 


About 100 yards past the old brick home, we found a set of corrals and at this point we ran across park volunteer Lee Campbell.  Ironically, we had attended his digital slide show only the night before.  He said the corrals were constructed in the early 1930s.  He also said that Bill Miller left his wife Birdie and that she managed the cattle all alone.  Eventually, however, she sold everything off to the Grey family, whose ranching efforts we had explored several days earlier.


AlamoCanyon (7 of 8)

Janie examines the old corral built in the 1920 by Bill and Birdie Miller


For us, Alamo Canyon now stands out as a gem in the Sonoran Desert, offering what we believe are some of the monument’s best and most intriguing groupings of saguaro and organ pipe.  But equally as important, we believe that when we think Alamo Canyon it will be yesterday’s adventure we think of first, rather than of our encounter in January  of 2012 with a band of illegal aliens,who may have been transporting drugs.


———————

 

ORGAN PIPE ADVENTURE FROM 2012


Illegal Aliens, Our Encounter was Unnerving

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Organ Pipe National Monument Has Reopened

posted: February 20th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Out of concern for visitor safety, much of Organ Pipe National Monument has been closed for about 12 years. (See link to my posting about the murder of Ranger Kris Eggle.) But in February of 2014 the park service brought in Superintendent Brent Range and instructed him to apply his background in law enforcement and try to reopen closed areas.


SenitaBasin (3 of 10) SenitaBasin (7 of 10) SenitaBasin (4 of 10)


L to R:  Pleats of the Senita are more boxy and project fewer spines; Janie hiking through Senita Basin; Senita “tree.”

 

INCREASED VISITOR SAFETY

For starters Superintendent Range increased the ranger staff from about seven permanent rangers to about 20, increased the border patrol from about 100 to about 300, and installed better surveillance equipment. Though we suspect there is more to come, Range opened all closed park areas in September 2014.

For increased visitor enjoyment, the “new” park also began offering van shuttles to wonderful hiking areas, such as the Senita Basin. Our van was full and following an hour drive along a rugged backcountry road to a trailhead, Janie and I struck out on a five mile hike.

The hike enabled us to familiarize ourselves with a most interesting member of the cactus family, the senita. Though the organ pipe is sensitive to cold, senita is even more so, and this monument represents the specie’s most northern extension from Mexico. To cope with the cold the tops of senita are covered with hair-like structures. Structurally, the pleats are more “boxy” in appearance and are more widely separated.


Quitobaquito (1 of 10) Quitobaquito (8 of 10) Quitobaquito (9 of 10)


L to RTo prevent drug runners from plowing across international border in their vehicles, park has erected steel fences.  Road and trail to Quitobaquito are now open and no longer require an ARMED ESCORT, which we joined several years ago.  You’ll still see black water bottles , but they (hopefully) are “artifacts” of a hard core drug era rather than reflective of the times.   But note, as the park service certainly points out, illegal crossings still occur.


We plan to remain in Organ Pipe for at least another week and will be posting more images about this forgotten park. Once it had the reputation of being the nation’s most dangerous park, but we believe that designation is now changing.

Here are a few images of our hike, the senita and “artifacts” from along the road.   You’ll be seeing more posts from Organ Pipe.


—————-


Organ Pipe Recollections From Many Visits Over the YearsAirstream Camper Tips from Organ Pipe, and Organ Pipe’s World Class Cactus Forest


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Ghost Mountain — An Experiment In Living

posted: January 19th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The trail was steep and rocky, and following a one-hour hike, Jerry and Susan  Weil, Janie and I finally reached Yaquitepec, the site of the eroding ruins of a home Marshall South and his wife Tanya began building in February 1930. Here they remained until September 1946.  (Links to a few of my previous postings on the Souths:  Ghost Mountain, No Clothes, Ghost Mountain or Broke Back Mountain. )

They had removed themselves from civilization hoping their lifestyle of simplicity would complement the flood of writing that both Tanya and Marshall produced. What we found, however, as we poked around the old homestead now being absorbed by the overwhelming wilderness in which they had once worked, were ruins. And some say they were a metaphor for their “experiment.”


M-South (3 of 3)

Trail to Ghost Mountain is rough and rocky.

 

For awhile, all seemed to go well for the Souths. Three children were conceived here, and art work produced. In his years at Yaquitepec Marshall wrote hundreds of magazine stories. “They were popular,” wrote Randall Henderson, editor of Desert Magazine, “because he expressed the dreams which are more or less in the hearts of all imaginative people.” Often complementing those stories was Tanya’s poetry. Marshall also wrote five novels, all popular at the time.

INFLEXIBLE NATURE

But underlying all of these achievements was an inflexible nature, and that, more than anything else, probably contributed to their downfall. Wrote Henderson in a book we had carried in our day-pack to Yaquitepec: “Marshall’s tragedy was that he tried too hard to fulfill his dream. He would not compromise. And that is fatal in a civilization where life is a never-ending compromise between the things we would like to do and the obligations imposed by the society and economic organization of which we are a part…

“He wanted to raise a family–and impose upon his family his own unconventional way of life.”

Though Henderson may well have been correct, the Souths were living in a time when vast changes were occurring. Our nation was at war and the army considered a part of the land on which the South’s were living to be their land, and in 1945, forced them off. Though permitted to return a year later, the South’s way of life had been disrupted, momentum lost, and they had to start all over again.

M-South (1 of 3)_2 of 3)_3 of 3)_tonemapped

Homestead still testifying to Marshal and Tanya South's fascinating Life.

 


By this time, the toll of such Spartan existence was taking its toll on Tanya, and she wanted out.

TRAGIC ENDINGS

One winter day she gathered the children and marched down from Ghost Mountain, eventually settling in San Diego. Though there is much in the records to suggest she often looked back during the next 50 years (she died in 1997 at age 99), there is little in the written record, for she remained aloof–and sometimes friendless.

Lichen (1 of 1) M-South (2 of 3)


L to R:  Lichens are an indicator that air quality is good, and along trail, they were abundant and vibrant.  Jerry and Susan  Weil, Janie and Bert, standing in arch of the South’s old home.


Marshall died in 1948, at the age of 59. He was penniless and so destitute that it remained for Rider, his oldest child, to provide a marker, which he did in 2005. The epitaph read: “Father, Poet, Author, Artist and included as well, one of his poems. Though the poem that follows is not the one on the grave stone, it may well reflect Marshall’s hopes that he did, indeed, leave his mark. The poem is entitled TIME and we begin with his second stanza:

Who owns this land? Beneath the sun,
in blots of indigo and dun,
The shadows of the clouds move by,
beneath the arch of turquoise sky.
Sunlight and shade in patterned change
across the wasteland’s endless range-
Time–on soft feet. And who shall find,
the records we shall leave behind?

Janie and I closed the book about the Souths and continued poking around. Immediately we found the metal frame of the old bed that all five used in the winter for warmth. We could also make out the general layout of their home. We found evidence of the cisterns Marshall constructed to funnel water following the desert’s infrequent rains. But elsewhere agave poked throughout the old structure. So, too, did ocotillo and barrel cacti. Cholla blocked the frame once supporting a door.

EXPERIMENT’S LESSONS?

When Janie and I first learned about the couple, we had cheered for them; hoping to learn of a happy ending. But that was not to be, and we concluded they were lucky to have made it as long as they did, for so much was against them. They contended with war, disruptions to their lifestyle, and a society that at times expressed intolerance. As well, the nation was growing–the population expanding–and their land was coveted by some.

Without funds, they were ill equipped to fight this new battle, a lesson we should not forget. Take heart from the fact that their home-schooled children led very successful lives.

 

————-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Adventure of Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Christmas Greetings From Lake Mead

posted: December 21st, 2014 | by:Bert

Dear Family and Friends:  In years past we’ve mailed Christmas letters to family and friends, but we’re on the road right now and just discovered we left our address book at home. Hopefully, this posting will  seem just as appropriate.

Though it may seem as though we’ve become jet-setters, that’s really not the case.  However, we have amassed lots of Frequent Flier mileage and decided to use them this fall for various events.


Bert&Janie B&Janie N-LightsCabin500


L to R: We’re still On the Trail; Janie and Bert in Arizona; outside our cabin in Venetie Alaska, which still brings back some of our most favorite travel images.

In September, we flew to San Francisco to attend a family wedding.  Then, one week after returning to Montana, our home (when we’re not in our Airstream), we flew to Albany, New York, rented a car and then drove to several of the New England states to visit family and friends.  Of particular significance was a trip to see Nancy Dennis, whose husband Don, had just passed away.  Though we all knew his cancer was serious, his passing has been hard to accept, because he was active so recently.

Otherwise, this past year has been a good one.  We saw Janie’s children and their respective spouses.  Together, in our extended family, we have 14 grandchildren and we saw all of them this year, but just wish we all lived a little closer.

Acquarium-16 Harris'sHawk KarenJanie


L to R:  Photographer recording pulsations of jelly fish; flight shot of hawk in Sonoran Desert Museum; Karen and Mother Jane on right  chomping on apples during Apple Orchard tour.


At one time Janie and I used to enjoy x-country skiing, but in recent years we’ve been enjoying seeing so many new places from the comfort of our Airstream.  This past winter we spent time in the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce.  At the moment we are in Lake Mead National Recreation Area spending Christmas with good friends who are from Montana and from Canada.  We’ve all been amazed at the extent to which this sustained drought has dropped the Lake Mead Reservoir.  Water, of course, is the concern, and we’re wondering how the reservoir will ever return to “normal.”

LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Lake Mead shoreline with "bathtub" ring showing extent to which reservoir has shrunk. I'm standing in the "ring."


We continue with work as both writers and photographers for various magazines. Included here are a few published images.  We’re still working for Globe Pequot, and will be returning this spring to Shenandoah NP to update our book on that park.  It has been one of our best sellers.

Hoping this letter finds everyone in good health and that the new year offers all that can be reasonable expected.

——


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Christmas Greeting from Bigfork Montana

Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Lake Mead Waters — Where’d They All Go?

posted: December 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Last night I stood on the shoreline that represented the high-water mark of the Lake Mead Reservoir.  From where I stood I could look across Callville Bay and see to the opposite shoreline marked by a continuous white band.  The band represents the lake level as it has existed for the decades following impoundment of Lake Mead.

This lake, once the sainted representation of high-tech engineering, is down over 100 vertical feet representing (for me) an incalculable volume of water.  What makes this such a difficult calculation is that this scene is not confined to just Callville Bay but begins above Grand Canyon at Lake Powell.  Waters that remain then flow through the Grand Canyon but are once again blocked at Hoover Dam where we are now camped. This is the dam created the barren landscape we are now observing.


LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Water once lapped at shore where this photo taken.

 

Of course we all heard about the drought in homes distant from Lake Mead, but back there when you say Lake Mead is down over 100 feet these measurements are little more than vague abstraction.

What’s causing this? Immediately it is caused by the prolonged drought Colorado has been experiencing.  But scientists say this is only the beginning.

They’re worried that this region will confront significant water supply challenges as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise.  But that suggests global warming, and we all know that is just the loose-tongue meanderings of some of our nation’s leading scientists – perhaps 95% of them.  “No to worry,” say detractors.”


LakeMeadeShoreline (20 of 3) LakeMeadeShoreline (21 of 3) LakeMeadeShoreline (22 of 3)


Note the white ring that covers so much of the landscape in these three images.  Those lines represent the shoreline created by the Lake Mead impoundment.


That’s the way I might have felt before I saw these shorelines several nights ago, and if I wasn’t a believer before I saw Lake Mead, I now have to say that it appears as though something monumental is happening, and it appears as though it will only get worse.

However, the drought has created some interesting side stories, and one of them is shown in the next image.


StThomas (2 of 10)

An interesting aspect of this prolonged drought is the reemergence of the historic village of St. Thomas.

 




This image shows the reemergence of the old Mormon village of St. Thomas, which existed from 1865 until 1935, when Hoover Dam created the impoundment that covered it.  More on this in next post.


——————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Historic Fort Davis


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Retracing Route of Death Valley’s 1849 Gold Seekers

posted: November 25th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Several days ago  Janie and I made a trip in Death Valley National Park that we’ve wanted to make for years. We rented a jeep, then made a 200 mile, 14-hour loop drive from our campsite here at Furnace Creek. About 120 miles of the trip was on a blacktop road, and that portion took us to Stove Pipe Wells, up over Towne Pass and then to Ballarat Ghost Town.  There’s where the four-wheel drive jeep tour started.


JeepTripDVNP-11

Approaching Mangle Pass

 


After leaving Ballarat, this section (probably about 80 miles) took us about 30 miles through a narrow canyon where it then reenters Death Valley. At the point there’s a sign pointing to Barker Ranch, the ranch where the FBI captured Charles Manson.

Not much is left there today, as the ranch burned several years ago, but Barker Ranch is in the news because on the weekend of the November the 15th, Charles Manson, who is now 80, got  married. The man is still in jail for murder, so I’m not sure how nuptials will play out, but, locally, the site is generating some interest.


JeepTripDVNP-9 jeepTrip-12 JeepTripDVNP-10


L to R:  Ascending Gower Gulch out of Ballarat; four-wheeling through boulder field; approaching Mangle Pass with monument to Mangle.

DEATH VALLEY GOLD SEEKERS

Essentially we made the trip to recall the rugged country Manly and Rogers traversed in their efforts to rescue the Bennett and Arcane families back in 1849. This country is rugged beyond belief and to successfully navigate it in a jeep requires a spotter (Janie) and patience in selecting an appropriate route through the maze of rocks. Hopefully images reflect the challenges and show the country going up and going down as well as the rugged Mangle Pass. Hopefully, too, they project the excitement Janie and I shared as we traveled through this park’s seldom seen back country splendor.


JeepTripDVNP-13

Passing Stripped Butte, a significant landmark for Rogers and Manly, the men who subsequently saved the Bennette Arcane families in 1850.

 


NOTE: Janie has always said she’d like a Rubicon jeep, but I think last week’s trip cured her of that notion.


DVNP WEATHER: Weather the past few days has been brutally cold, with day-time temperatures never rising about 72.

 

—————–

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Indian Hill


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

 

 

 

 





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Is Death Valley Beautiful or Beastly? It’s All Point of View

posted: November 13th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re still in Death Valley, camped at Texas Spring, and obsessed with the hardships endured by a group of emigrants collectively referred to as the 49ers. There is no other year that contributed so much to the names and legends that were eventually to become part of this park’s story as the year 1849.

The year also contributed much to a significant chapter in American history, the journey to find riches in the California gold fields at a time when the American economy was floundering.


SaltFlats-1

Mountain Ranges through which the 49ers had to pass in order to reach Travertine Springs, site today of the Death Valley Hotel

 


Perhaps the story of the ‘49ers and its significance to us today can be highlighted by the working title of Beauty or the Beast, for the features that we marvel at today, they looked at with abject horror.

Though the 49ers had endured hardships on their travels from states in the Midwest, nowhere were the hardships as intense as when they reached Death Valley and its immediate surrounds. Entries from the writing of Mrs. Brier, one of the 49ers, summarize some of the hardship.

“Poor little Kirk, my eldest boy… would stumble on over the salty marsh for a time and then again sink down crying. ‘I cannot go any further…’ “


SaltFlats-3 Airstream-1 SaltFlats-9


Images here are taken from along the route Mrs. Brier and her family travels in December of 1849. Though she viewed the landscape as one replete with challenges, we look at it as a place of absolute beauty, stark though it may be. But the endless mountain ranges were heights they had to conquer. And the streams were as rich in salt as the oceans. Sunsets, however, meant an end to the day’s heat, so perhaps we are united in appreciation of a Death Valley desert sunset.

WEATHER IN DEATH VALLEY:

And now today’s DV weather, which will include an afternoon high of 81 and more light breezes. No wonder we’re viewing the area as a place that is one of beauty rather than one that is beastly.


———————


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Aftermath of Gettysburg Address

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




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Annual Encampment of Death Valley 49ers Another Success

posted: November 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Though I try to be laid back and unobtrusive as a photographer it’s hard to completely avoid scrutiny during Death Valley’s annual ‘49ers celebration where most everyone who congregates is hoping to hold the past together.  The period of time they’ve been celebrating for 65 years in this huge desert park is exciting, and part of that history includes the recollections of a gallant struggle for life.  It was a struggle that today forms the foundation for Death Valley’s exciting history, and the celebratory atmosphere of the thousands assembled this past week commemorates that idea.


Encampment-42

Today's celebrants follow same route used by gold seekers in1849

 

So it was not a big surprise when one of those celebrants hurried over to me and motioned for me to follow.  “There’s a man right over here you’ll want to meet,” said the celebrant  with a wave.  “He’s the great, great grandson of one of the original Jayhawkers. Meet,” he said moment later, “Don Christiansen.”

CAPTAIN DOTY:

Don is in fact a third generation descendent of Captain Edward Doty, and significantly from my point of view, Mr. Christiansen seems to have learned all he can about his historic ancestor.

Briefly, for the purposes of this short entry, Doty is remembered as the man who became captain of the Jayhawkers when Asa Haynes became too weak to lead. Doty assumed leadership near Death Valley, where heat, lack of water, and endless expanses of salt created hardships from which several never recovered.

The group that history now refers to as the Jayhawkers originated in Galesburg, Illinois.  There, a nucleus group of young men departed for the recently discovered California gold fields.  As they traveled, others joined, and because of the number of jaybirds and hawks they saw along the Platte River, the group soon took the name “Jayhawkers.”

PLACES OF BEAUTY?

Life was not easy as they traveled and along the way many in the group had to divest themselves of treasured items because of weight.  Then, just north of Death Valley, they had to burn wagons and kill oxen for food.  Bad enough, but when they reached what we today call Death Valley, hardships multiplies.  Many of the places that we look upon today as places of beauty and intrigue proved life threatening to the Jayhawkers.  Some of those places include Zabriskie Point, Furnace Creek Wash, the Devil’s Golf Course, Salt Creek…, and, finally, Emigrant Pass.



42500 Encampment-44 Don&LucyeChristiansen-1


L to R:  Image one (Zabriskie Point) and two show terrain those traveling to California gold fields had to endure.  Image three is of Don and Lucye Christiansen.  Don is great, great grandson of Capt.  Edward Doty, one of a group of 49ers that traveled to the California gold fields.


Today, the 49ers celebrate those places and areas of hardships endured by the 49ers, and in the case of Don Christiansen – by his great, great grandfather.  I’ll be learning some of the specifics when Mr. Christiansen and I visit for further dialog.  In the meantime, it is significant to remember that the celebratory atmosphere exhibited by several thousand these past five days is intended to hold together an exciting part of our American history.


———

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Indian Hills

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

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Texas Spring, No Generators

posted: November 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Made it to Death Valley and got a campsite at Texas Springs.  Because of the thousands camped half a mile below for the annual 49ers celebration that was a surprise. Virtually all have generator and they do run them when the are allowed.  That’s between the hours of 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Image the racket.

But the key to quiet camping is solar panels, and we have four on top of our Airstream and two that are free to move for precise orientation with respect to the sun.   At Texas Springs, generators are prohibited.

Death Valley-12 Death Valley-14 Death Valley-13


 

Two images show us visiting Rhyolite Ghost Town located near entry to Death Valley; middle image, moon rise over Texas spring.

Images posted here include two of our Airstream creeping through the long ago abandoned mining town of Rhyolite located near the entrance to Death Valley.  The third represents a relaxed evening watching the moon rise about our campsite.  Picture us with a glass of wine, sitting back in easy chairs with the temperature about 75.  We’re in heaven, with many 49er activities waiting our pleasure.


————————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Canyon Country

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




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Rear View/Front View…

posted: November 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: OK, so my hands are off the wheel for two of these pictures, but Janie is steering, we’ve slowed to about 25mph and there’s no traffic in sight. The intent with these three images is to show the starkness of this part of Nevada and the paucity of people. It’s great!

RearView-3 RearView-6


Front View/Rear View. Note Traffic –That’s the way we like it.

As well I wanted to show the sweep of the prairie, the beauty of the mountains – and the descending snow line. Here, the elevation is right around 6,000, sometimes a little below, sometime a little above.

In the side view you can see that duct tape (see previous posting) is covering the front side window, so it’s working to help hold the shattered window together.

RearView-5

Side View, showing snow line descending. Also note duct tape holding our small front window in place, reported on in last post and also Facebook



At the moment we’re “Kamped” in a KOA in Ely, Nevada. We stayed here eight years ago gathering material for a story on “The Loneliest Highway in America.” That’s Hwy 50. For the story I climbed Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park, and Janie and I BOTH interviewed Portia, a working madam here in Ely. She was sophisticated and not what I had expected at all.

Click on the link provided and you’ll see more of Nevada’s beautiful open spaces. This is truly a beautiful and interesting state and should be revered for more than just Las Vegas.

 

——————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Photographing Tarantulas

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

 

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Broken Airstream Window

posted: November 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Again, we are on the road, but starting off with a little bit of bad luck.  Last night when we pushed back the curtain in our Airstream we discovered that a small window toward the trailer’s front but on the side was shattered.

How did it happen?

We have no completely satisfying answer, but we suspect Halloween vandalism, and here’s why.  We have never in all the years I’ve been driving had a window on the side damaged by flying rocks or other debris.  True, we were on the road yesterday driving from Dillon, Montana, to Twin Falls, Idaho, but we don’t think driving created the dent on the window.  When we look closely (and you can too in my photo), it appears as all the fracture lines radiate from a point made by either a rock or by something like a ballpein hammer.  Certainly, it is possible the rock could have come from highway travel, but, again, it just doesn’t seem probable.


AS-WindowDamage-2 AS-WindowDamage-1


Views of broken Airstream Window from inside and outside

At any rate, though the window is covered with shatter marks, we’re hoping the specialized glass of our Airstream will hold together for several weeks.  In an attempt to bolster the strength of the weakened glass we’ve cut cardboard to size and then applied Ducktape to the interface created by the window frame.  We think that will hold while we complete several timely story projects.

First, we are going to Death Valley (remember my post about Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane?) to cover the annual 49er celebration.  After that we’re heading toward Las Vegas.  There’s an Airstream dealer there, but also we want to visit Valley of Fire and the contiguous Lake Meade National Recreation area.  With water levels so low it is now possible to hike to some of the settlements covered by the creation of the Lake Meade Reservoir.

That’s our schedule, and we’re stickin’ to it.  I think we can, despite the inconvenience of a weakened window.

———–


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Canyon Country


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 3 Comments »