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

Springtime on Wildhorse Island Means Blanket of Flowers

posted: April 18th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here’s the cover image for the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association program directory, a conference which will be held this year in Polson, Montana.

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Arrowleaf Balsam Root on Wildhorse Island

NOWA is an affiliate of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America, and both organizations boast members who write and take pictures for some of the nation’s leading outdoor, conservation, and travel publications.

I took this image several years ago and it has been used for other publications — as well as for my book Montana Icons.

Our conference is a five day meeting and it starts next Thursday and runs through the weekend.  Attendance is slated to include members from all over the Northwest.

ARROWLEAF WILL BE AT ITS PEAK

My image is particularly appropriate for this meeting.  Out on Wildhorse Island, site of this image, Arrowleaf Balsam Root will be as its peak.  Beautiful at all times of the year, Wildhorse is particularly spectacular in the spring when flowers run from hill to hill.

Wildhorse is a remote island in the Flathead Lake and hosts not only the beautiful displays of flowers shown here, but also healthy populations of bighorn sheep and deer.  The island is most easily reached by private boat or by kayak.  The image was made with a 4×5 view camera and a Schneider wide angle lens.

For depth of field I set the lens to f-64 and then tilted the front swing slightly down to increase depth of field.  F-64 demands a very slow shutter speed, which was probably about one full second.  That means everything had to be perfectly still, as it typically is in the early morning hours out on Wildhorse.

Parts of the Arrowleaf are edible and Native Americans once sought out the species.  Wildhorse gets its name because of the wild horses natives once swam to the islands shore, thinking to safe guard their wild horses from enemies.

Note: I don’t use the 4×5 much anymore, but maintain that digital can not yet do what some of the large format film cameras do.


——————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO


*In Beauty We Walked


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 »

“Bray Like an Ass”

posted: April 15th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:

Burto

Burto the Ass

“Bray like a donkey,” Janie said as I jokingly stuck my head into the rear of the burrow.

Well I tried, and I hope you can see the gigantic effort.  But apparently I wasn’t too effective, ‘cause she soon admonished: “Well, then, say ‘I’m Burto.’ ”

That got the expression she wanted — as happy as the one shown on Burto the Ass.

We stumbled across this artistic rendering of a burrow as we traveled through a small Nevada town.  We found it because we were determined to avoid towing through the hell holes that Las Vegas and Salt Lake City have come to represent. In other words, we much rather travel the remote areas of Nevada —  and stumble across such heart-warming settings such as Burto.

In a few days I’ll post a few more “serious” images that highlight our months in the Southwest.  Right now, however, I’ve been trying to catch up on the business of writing and photography, and that’s taking up virtually all my time.  I’m hoping to be caught up in about a week.

In a roundabout way, what I’m saying is that we’re back home in Montana, revamping – and considering where we might want to go next.  It’s a big country and what we’ve discovered is that no matter where we go, we also seem to find something that piques our interest.  Certainly that was true on recent journey into the Southwest.

Appreciate the many thoughts from readers, and thank you all for following along. The end. (Pun intended.)


—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR

*San Diego Grafitti

 

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 »

Travel Inspire More Travels

posted: April 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Heading home now to Bigfork, Montana, but we left much undone from this trip into the Southwest and expect we’ll soon return.  We have to!

Lake Meade is experiencing low water levels, and that could make for some fascinating excursions.   When Hoover Dam was constructed water levels rose and covered a vast area to include the abandoned St. Thomas settlement.  But the severe drought of the past couple years has reduced water levels on Lake Meade leaving many areas exposed for the first time in years.   Once the town was flooded higher than 60 feet above the tallest structure.  We’ve been told it’s eerie now — a visit to a real life ghost town.


ValleyOfFire-1

Lone figure helps inspire inspiration from The Wave

 

Of course, we’ll want to see more of Valley of Fire, one of the most remarkable parks we’ve recently visited.  Though the park is not huge, we didn’t get a chance to see all we wanted, primarily because we spent so much time at the geologically fascinating area called The Wave.  I think the lone hiker in my associated photo peering down onto the chasm supports our thinking.  He’s shown here spreading his arms attempting through a body gesture to understand all that spreads before him.  His expression remains motivational, but so was that of a very elderly gentleman whom we met later.  He was stumbling along with a pair of walking sticks and told us he’d been coming here every year for decades.

“It’s inspiring you know.  And I learn so much.”

Same holds true for us.


—————–

 

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*San Diego Wildlife

 

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 Atlatl and the good Karma of Petroglyphs

posted: April 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Though there are thousands of petroglyphs in Valley of Fire State Park, when trying to date these amazing drawings, anthropologists turn to a single group of drawings, one of which contains an atlatl.  Look at the top of the image included here and you’ll see the drawing of a sheep.  But just below that you’ll see a shaft which is used as lever to increase the power imparted to spear pictured as the third item down.

ValleyOfFire-16

Image of atlatl shown at top, meaning these glyphs are ancient

 

The atlatl is intended to act as an extra arm  — a fulcrum that adds momentum to a spear which is attached to a cup on the fulcrum.  It was used prior to the invention of the bow and arrow, enabling scientists to state that most of the park drawings were made 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.  That means the drawings represent ancient tribes, collectively known as the Anasazi.  Perhaps the artists who made this image were hoping their drawing would create an appropriate karma, and that their day of hunting would be a successful one.

Though no one can say for sure what the images meant to each of the artists, with help from various tribes and by studying the artifacts of past cultures, anthropologists believe they can provide educated guesses.  Some of the objects, of course, seem  obvious.  For instance, circles with radiating lines are thought to represent the sun.  Squiggly lines may represent serpents. Other objects, however, require much  theorizing.


ValleyOfFire-9 ValleyOfFire-10 ValleyOfFire-7

L TO R: Image of four figures together holding hands is thought to represent power; image of sheep may be intended to project good hunting karma.  Third image, which shows a hand, circle and various other figures, may be intended to show death, the presence of a spring, another atlatl, and clan figures.

 

Images of figures standing side by side and holding hands are thought to be expressions of power.  Images of actual hands may signify death.

A single horizontal line from which four or five vertical lines extend downward but then sway slightly toward the bottom are thought to represent rain.

Probably the most prevalent drawing is one of sheep, and ancient artists may have drawn them hoping they could create a form of magic that would lure their principle source of food back, following, perhaps, a prolonged drought.

You can see most of these symbols in my first image. Others concepts are represented in some of the other images here included.


ValleyOfFire-14

Atlatl Campground, where we are surrounded by petroglyphs, to include the atlatl

 

Because the atlatl was such a significant drawing, the campground at which we’ve been staying has been called Atlatl Campground.  We’ve got a beautiful site and are grateful to have stumbled across such a lovely setting. Sadly, our three month adventure is closing down and we’ll soon be heading back to home.   I make it sound like a bad thing, and that’s certainly not the case.  It’s just that we enjoy our road trips so much we hate to see them end.  But particularly this trip as it represents a return of good health.  Perhaps there is good karma associated with the preservation of these glyphs and we have been immersed among literally thousands.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

*Photo Ecstasy

 

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 »

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still

posted: April 1st, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  It’s early morning in Nevada’s Valley of the Fire, and I’m standing on a sun-kissed formation near a bed of rocks known as “The Wave.”  Here, geological stories spanning millions of years seem to be compressed into a single moment.  It seems that time has been brought to a halt allowing a moment to try and understand.

Seas depositing various types of sandstone provided the working materials, to be followed by various types of orogeny.  But what I was seeing was the final chapter, the product of erosion which has also been carried on through the ages.  And, now, here, on this the first day of April, it has all been dramatized by the rising sun, making each granule of sand, each round of rock, leap out.


ValleyOfFire-28

The Wave, where time stood still

 

I felt like Ansel Adams, one of my heroes, who said, “I get to some places just when God is ready to have someone click the shutter.”

I’ll never know what Ansel Adams would have thought of this setting, but I do know that it was one of those places that seemed almost spiritual, though I am one of the least qualified to comment on that.  Nevertheless, it seemed to be a place where time did stand still – ephemeral though it was – for as the minutes ticked away and the sun arched higher in the sky, the intensity of the drama quickly faded.

Still, for whatever it is worth, the moment of clarity had been a gift; I’m sure it was.

 

——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Black Crowned Night Heron

 

 

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 »

Day In the Life of A Gila Woodpecker

posted: March 26th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  For the past few days I have been obsessed with creating images of one of the primary birds that makes its home in the saguaro cactus, specifically, the Gila woodpecker. Opportunities have been many and have included feeding shots on the ocotillo cactus, the actual excavation of a cavity in the saguaro cactus, and the occupancy of a cavity (I’m working several cavities) in which adults are now beginning to raise their young.


GilaWoodpecker-30

Gila woodpecker feeding (or pollinating) Ocotillo

 

Gila woodpeckers are one of the more showy species of the Sonoran Desert.  As always, the male is the more showy of the two sexes, sporting a red cap on top of the head.  Females and juveniles are similar, but both lack the red cap of the adult male.

According to a site maintained by Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Gila woodpeckers create nest cavities in the sides of saguaros in between the skin and the inner ribs (the outer cortex) of the cactus. With the saguaro tissue serving as insulation, these cavities provide safety from predators and refuge from extreme temperatures. Abandoned woodpecker holes make great nests for elf owls, kestrels, and purple martins.

But according to other reports, populations may be in decline because of competition for nesting sites, and we did note that other species occupied nearby saguaro cacti to include the house sparrow.  But the major problem, and one which is proving to be universally destructive to wildlife, is the endless constructions of housing developments.


GilaWoodpecker-15 GilaWoodpecker-9 GilaWoodpecker-24


L to R:  Male Gila peering from recently created cavity; female Gila atop century plant, now in bloom; male Gila and ocotillo flower.


Certainly as you can see from the top image, the Gila could be a pollinator of the ocotillo cactus, for it spent enough time on flowers of the ocotillo.  And the bird could not have struck more interesting poses.

First it landed among countless thorns on both upright and on branches that had begun to droop.  Then it inserted its beak into the flower, and whether or not it was extracting anything other than nectar was difficult to determine.

All these images have been made while based once again at the Gilbert Ray Campground just outside of Tucson.  Today, however, we depart and start heading north, knowing, however, that we will come back another day.


——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Ocotillo Cacti

 

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 »

Significant Organ Pipe National Monument Reopening

posted: March 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Here are a few images that tell a story of a very significant place, one we’re been enjoying these past few days.

Most notable is the one of Janie framed by a cave punched by weather into some igneous rock.  The cave is one of many and all are adjacent to Dripping Springs in Organ Pipe National Monument.  Our visit is notable because this area of the park has been closed for the past 12 years.


DrippingSprings-3

One of many small caves near Dripping Springs

 


In 2002, as reported in blogs over the years, Chris Eggle was shot to death in Organ Pipe National Monument  trying to protect visitors from the danger imposed by desperate drug smugglers.  Mexico is just five miles to our south and until recently established drug routes have coursed their way through this outstanding area of the Sonoran Desert, representing, therefore, a continuous source of danger.

But the work of park rangers and the Border Patrol has improved conditions.  As a result, park officials reopened six miles of the Puerto Blanco Road this past December.

Visitation to Dripping Springs is based on a quota system, and right now only five vehicles can travel the bumpy road at any one time.  With a permit,  bicyclists, however, can visit anytime.


DrippingSprings-8 WaterTanks DrippingSprings-6


L TO R:  Janie gazing over Sonoran Desert from Dripping Springs; biking to road to Springs, but stopping near compassionate Water Tanks; Janie and Springs.

Park officials say if this experimental opening is successful, they are hoping to reopen the remaining 30-plus miles.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, they say, if we could open the rest of the park?

Have not talked to anyone who would disagree.


——————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

*Are Birds Political Creatures?  You Bet

 

 

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 »

Whimsical Travels — to Optmize Photography

posted: March 19th, 2014 | by:Bert


©Bert Gildart:  Seldom have our travels ever been planned travels, and that is certainly true of the past few days.  We had no plans to stay another few days in Borrego Springs, and we certainly had no real plans to wind up where we are now – in Organ Pipe National Monument.  Travels such as these are made on the spur of the moment, and usually they’re made, changed — whatever — because we hear that interesting natural history things are starting to happen.


FanPalms-10

Fan palms as seen during moon rise from our Airstream at Borrego State Park

 

Some of our friends make travel plans over a year in advance. But we seldom know for sure what tomorrow will bring, much less any of the tomorrows contained in 365 days.  We call such travels “Whimsical Travels.”  And that’s the category into which most of our travels must be grouped. For one thing, we think it optimizes photographic opportunities.

We spent several days in Anza Borrego State Park and did so initially because Springs of Borrego was booked solid.  But then when we saw how beautiful each sunrise was turning out to be, and then how beautiful the evening moonrise – in all of its full-moon glory – was turning out to be, we extended by two days.



FanPalms-9 FanPalms-5 FanPalms-2

 

L to R:  Moonrise as seen from our campsite at Borrego Desert State Park.  Airstream at overflow campsite in Springs of Borrego.  Stand of palms reached after several mile hike up Palm Canyon.  Trail is immediately adjacent to state campground.


During that time we got a note from Chuck (one of our Peg Leg friends who had proceeded us by about a week) saying some of the cacti in Organ Pipe, Arizona, were starting to bloom, so now we are now camped next to the Mexican border. And, yes, some of the cacti are blooming, not the masses we’ve seen in previous years, but enough to make the trip worthwhile.


Organ Pipe-7 Ocotillo Organ Pipe-2


L to R: We think the flowers on the left and far right are both staghorn cholla.  If not, then one may be a buckhorn cholla.  The two species are known to hybridize confusing I.D.  The center picture is an ocotillo, and note that it is blooming and that THERE ARE NO LEAVES.  Leaves may accompany flowers but only when an adequate amount of rain has fallen.  Flowers, however, bloom independent of rain and are timed to bloom in April, synchronizing with the return of the hummingbirds, their pollinators.

We’ll be here for a few more days, then, we’ll do as I said we’d do in a previous posting: we’ll follow the Swenson’s Hawk, and like it, we’ll look for “staging areas,” areas where we can regroup and fuel back up. In a way, its travels are a bit whimsical, though we probably set the record.


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nest Needed to Survive

 

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 »

See You

posted: March 14th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: It is intended that Janie’s gesture suggest a certain nostalgia as we make ready to leave the Sonoran Desert. While here we’ve camped at Gilbert Ray, Peg Leg, Springs of Borrego and, today, we’re moving for a few nights to the State Park because Springs of Borrego is full.


Janie

Janie bidding a fair adieu to our many Sonoran Desert friends. Note our Airstream toward upper left.


The focus of our stay in each has been to learn more about the Sonoran’s natural history.  A few flowers are starting to pop up and last night we watched from our RV pad as dozens of Swenson’s Hawks circled over our heads.  They’ve wintered in South America, places as distant as Argentina, and they’re returning.  From here they’ll disperse, some settling in Montana, Alberta and other areas in the Northwest.  Each year about 300 Swenson’s move through the area, making this a particularly dramatic event.

CactusWren BarnOwl PrairieFalcon


L to R:  Cactus Wren, Barn Owl, Prairie Falcon

 

Monday we’ll leave the State Park and then we’ll follow the Swenson’s, moving north.  Like these hawks we may find a few “staging areas” along the way where we’ll take time to regroup and enjoy attractions in these new areas.   In the meantime, we say goodbye to the many friends. We’ve biked extreme areas with Ron, shared a glass of early morning wine with Tony and Betty, watched birds with Mike, Randy.  We’ve learned about Chinese history (see below) with Bill and Larry, and  studied the stars with Ted and Carol.  And we’ve climbed Coyote Peak with some very special friends,  Don and Nancy.

Sadly, some may not be back but our memories are so vivid that they’ll always be with us.  So we won’t say goodby, rather we’ll do as native friends in Alaska do, and simply say, “See you.”


—————-

*AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:

Year of the Dragon

 

 

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 »

Tony Feather Performance Will Benefit Borrego Children

posted: March 5th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Our friend Tony Feathers will be playing at the Performing Arts Center in Borrego Springs this Friday night.  Tony and his wife Betty were some of the first people we meet while camped at Peg Leg about five years ago.  He was playing his guitar around a campfire and we asked if we might join.  Since that time we have remained in frequent contact.

TonyFeather-3

Our friend Tony Feather providing Janie and me with fun-filled night -- a "private concert."

 

Back in Tennessee, Tony has his own band known as the Blue Sky Town. He has cut several CDs and placed high in the prestigious Chris Autin Song Writing Competition at the MerlFest.  He has been interviewed by and played on National Public Radio.

About a week ago he and Betty again joined us at Peg Leg where he entertained us as we all sat inside our trailer, and that’s where I took a number of new photos of Tony.  It was a fun evening, and his music reminds us a bit of the genre popularized by John Prine and Lyle Lovette.   Tony says his music is best described as “eclectic Americana,” Songs as reflected by titles that include Old Black Crow, Hop On My Pony and Ride, and Forty Miles From Mexico. Funds raised by the performance are intended to help the children of Borrego Springs.

We’re back in Borrego and camped at the same RV resort at which we stayed last year.  The resort is best known for its “Greens,” and though we’re not golfers we find that many other aren’t either.  They’re here because of its central location to all that Anza Borrego Desert State Park has to offer, and because of the resort’s amenities, such as the hot tubs and the exercise rooms.

Janie’s brother and sister-in-law will be joining us for Tony’s performance.  They’re from L.A. and we’re all looking forward to the Friday night concert.  It appears as though it will be a sellout.

*Cacti and Macro Photography

—————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:

 

 

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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It’s Lucky to be “Brushed By A Feather”

posted: March 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Before naturalists at Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Museum begin their Raptor Free Flight Program, they warn you about “Space.”  The bird’s space – and your space.

“Keep children off your shoulders and your hands below your head,” they warn.  “Your space is from the top of your head to the soles of your shoes.  Everything else belongs to these raptors.”

FreeFlight-2

About to be "brushed by a feather."

 

The warning is necessary, for birds, as explained in my last posting, zip from one side of the viewing path to the other side.  Because their speed and exact direction of flight is so unpredictable, it is a challenge to photograph them, despite the level of trust these birds place in their handlers.


FreeFlight-1

Mini-seconds later -- "Brushed by a Feather."

 

To make this picture I had to make some special camera adjustments.  I upped the ISO and set the camera’s shutter so I could make quick-fire exposures.  Then I tried to pre-focus on a spot where I thought this Gray Hawk’s flight might take it.  It’s a technique I tried to perfect while covering the World Eskimo Indian Olympics in Fairbanks several years ago for Native Peoples Magazine, so I’d had some experience.

I got my shot and then recalled another of our narrator’s comments.  “If you get brushed by a feather, you will have good luck for the next 50 years!”

Because of this image I believe I was lucky, but so, it seems were several other spectators, for surely they got brushed by a feather, perhaps even several.


—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:


*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nests Needed to Survive


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 Magnificence of Birds in Flight

posted: March 3rd, 2014 | by:Bert


©Bert Gildart: For almost a week we’ve been visiting the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum on a daily basis. Programs are many but one we’ve consistently attended is the Raptor Free Flight demonstration.  It’s always exciting, but think of us waiting as we did yesterday for the return of a Red Tail Hawk. Apparently it had been diverted by its sighting of real prey rather than by the morsels of food handlers have been placing atop pads of cacti.  Would it return?  That was the concern of its handlers.

“Occasionally,” said Carol Hemmingway, the museum docent conducting the morning program, “one of our birds takes off.  And it may not come back for an hour, a day or even several days.  We have no real control over them.  Just the other day our Red Tail Hawk found a bull snake, and because she’s not a skilled hunter, it was too much for her.  She let it go, but then she returned.”


SonoranMuseum-19

Beauty and power of flight, partially expressed by extended primaries. Harris's Hawk.

 

Because of action and potential for suspense, the Raptor Free Flight exhibition is one of the museum’s most popular program.  Naturalists began the program in 1996, and did so using several  captive birds that they had worked hard to condition.  Time has shown that’s really the only way it will work.  “We can’t even use rescued birds,” said another docent, “for eventually they want to take off and resume their wild ways.  We need birds we’ve conditioned. Some may come from wild nests where adults have been killed. Those birds need our help.”

Currently, bird species used for the program include the Chihuahuan Raven, Harris’s Hawk, a Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Gray Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and the Prairie Falcon, but before the program begins the narrator explains the concept of “space.”  Most importantly, your space.

“Birds know their space,” says the docent.  “You probably don’t.  Your space is from the top of your head to the soles of your shoes.”  Just a few minutes into the program that precaution was dramatized.


SonoranMuseum-18 SonoranMuseum-17 SonoranMuseum-14


L to R:  Morsels of food and hand moves serve to direct the flight of birds, which can attract hundreds of spectators.  Again, morsels of food control where a bird, the Gray Hawk,  will perch. 

 

Over one-hundred of us are now lined up along a 12-foot wide path delineated on each side by two 100-yard-long cabled fences.  Though our Red Tail has apparently forgotten its lessons, museum birds have been conditioned by trainers to land at specific spots lured in each time by a morsel of food.  Food might be a recently frozen (dead of course) mouse which managers purchase commercially.  And now the action begins.

Several trainers place food items onto the branch of a saguaro cactus and we all watch as a Barn Owl swoops to snatch the morsel – and then gulp it down.  On the other side of the fence another trainer waves his hand and secures yet another morsel of food.  The bird fixes its attention on the food, flaps its wings vigorously and zooms to the other side of the path.  And this is what is so exciting, for as the bird powers toward the food it is just inches above our heads.

“See!” exclaims Carol. “That’s why we don’t want you placing small children on your shoulders?”  The remark draws a hearty but nervous laugh.

Other species are also used to include a prairie falcon and its speed and maneuverability draws more gasps.  “Prairie falcons,” says Carol Hemmingway, “can dive at 200 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest of all birds.  Only the Peregrine Falcon may be faster.”


SonoranMuseum-5

Grace of the Great horned owl in flight

 

Though already listening closely, my ears really perk when Carol says that although there are 30 potential prairie falcon nesting sites in Arizona, only one remains.  “Critical habitat is being lost to human expansion,” she emphasizes. And that, without her saying, is another reason the educational efforts of the museum are so important.

But what’s happened to our Red Tail Hawk?

The program lasted over half an hour, and just moments after our group began to disband, the Red Tail returned. “You can see that we don’t really control the birds,” says Carol.  “But the birds are pretty smart and know from conditioning that this is where they want to stay.”

Another wonderful day at the Sonoran Desert Museum.


—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR

*Salton Sea


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 »

Rain In Tucson

posted: March 1st, 2014 | by:Bert


©Bert Gildart:  From what we hear, it has been months since Tucson experienced rain.  But all that changed today. Though rain wasn’t torrential, it did rain, and when the day was complete, it closed with an incredible rainbow.

Rainbow-2

Rainbow at end rain preceded by long overdue rains


 

We’re still camped at Gilbert Ray not far from the Sonoran Desert Museum, and this is what we saw just outside our trailer.  Hope your day was as satisfying.

Read Comments | 4 Comments »

Song of the Cactus Wren

posted: February 28th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Arizona at the Sonoran Desert Museum, the sound of spring is in the air.  All around the state bird is creating a familiar sound that some say resembles the churn of a battery that won’t start.  Others say the song contains a “clattering roll” and consists of “a series of quick beats without melody.” Whatever description fits the bill it is one now being heard virtually everywhere: from the tops of the mighty saguaro, from the thickets of the dense chain cholla, from the spiny top of the prickly pear…

CactusWren-30

Song of the cactus wren

 

The sound is associated with the cactus wren, a colorful species in which the male and female work together to build nests.  Nests are huge and built so that the top is closed.  When completed the nest will look like a football oriented vertically.  But unlike many species, access to the nest is from the side; and that’s for a very good reason. It’s an evolutionary thing that helps obscure the wren from predators flying overhead.  Those that were exposed, perished, and with time, only cactus wrens that created nest with holes in the sides survived.

Eventually, nests built by the pair may number several, perhaps even three or four.  But after our bird couple has completed the nest, which one calls the shots?  Who decides which nest will serve to raise their young?

CactusWren-24 CactusWren-31 CactusWren-22


L to R:  Nests, which may number as many as four, are constructed together by both males and female.  Nests could be prickly pear, in saguaro cactus, or deep in a thorn-filled cholla.  Nests are constructed from a variety of materials.

Apparently it’s like newlyweds shopping for their first home. Final selection of the “nest” devolves to the female; she calls the shots!

As I say, it’s spring down here but what does that mean? It means that the high today approached 80.  But tomorrow, if it rains (as is predicted), temperatures may not even reach into the 70s.  Nevertheless, I’ve been told that despite such frigid temperatures, nest building will continue, and we can still expect to hear the song of the cactus wren.

We’re grateful to be surrounded by nature.


———————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Fascinated by Ocotillo

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 »

Gilbert Ray and the Sonoran Desert Museum

posted: February 26th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re Camped now at Gilbert Ray, a county park located just outside of Tucson, Arizona.  More significantly we’re now located just four miles from the Sonoran Desert Museum, and that creates a real plus.

Airstream-1

Gilbert Ray Campground, a Tucson County Park

 


We’re here to take advantage of the photographic opportunities the museum offers.  In years past park herpetologists have helped me with several stories, most significantly, one for National Wildlife about Gila monsters.

Evenings are a delight, and we typically punctuate evening with a glass of wine.  Observe, however, the huge cuts in the pads of the cacti.  That’s from packrat activity, who typically feed on the pads.  But they don’t stop there and will also munch on the wiring under the hood of your vehicle.


SonoranMuseum-6 SonoranMuseum-2 SonoranMuseum-16

 

Great Horned Owl, Harris’s Hawk, Gray Hawk.  All images made yesterday.


To avoid rodent damage simply prop open the hood of your car.  Starlight and moonlight are adequate to discourage the nocturnal peregrinations of packrats.

Baring these foot long rodents, Gilbert Ray is an outstanding campground, one of the best in the desert Southwest.  It’s a wonderful setting to sip that glass of wine, admire the surrounding beauty of a mountain desert, and plot out your photographic agenda for upcoming days at the Sonoran Desert Museum.

————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*San Diego World Famous Zoo

 

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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Jail Time For Bert Gildart

posted: February 23rd, 2014 | by:Bert

Bert&Janie - Copy

Janie has helped insure recidivism.

OXFORD, Miss. (February 22)- A fraternity chapter at the University of Mississippi was indefinitely suspended Friday by its national organization and three of its freshman members were kicked out because of their suspected involvement in hanging a noose on a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to enroll in the then all-white college.

GILDART ARRESTED

When Meredith tried to enter Ole Miss in fall 1962 (as he should have!), Mississippi’s governor tried to stop him. That led to violence on the Oxford campus.  Most notably, Bert Gildart was arrested, marched down the main street of Oxford, Mississippi and simultaneously prodded in the glutei with bayonets and detained in the local jail.

A national TV station filmed the proceedings and the recording was broadcast ‘round the world.  (Gildart’s proud parents saw him from an Army base in Germany, where his mother and his father — a  Colonel, then — were stationed.) Later, a humiliating body search found a young Mr. Gildart to be weapon free.  Four of Gildart’s academic associates were treated with equal distain.

Though Gildart had a previous arrest record and did know jail time for smuggling moonshine from the nearby Tennessee State line to Alabama’s Florence State Teacher’s College, he was able to convince authorities that he had learned his lesson. Also, Gildart was guilty of nothing other than taking pictures.

“I’ve learned my lesson,” Gildart was quoted as saying.  “I’ll never again engage in nefarious activities.”

It should be noted that since those days back in the ‘60s, Bert Gildart has lead a model life, devoted as he has been to his then-found Christian principles.  His wife Janie has helped to perpetuate this upstanding life style.



—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*The Impossible Railroad (This could have been jail time.)

 

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 »

Drought Engenders Few Flowers But Attractions Remains

posted: February 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Borrego Springs – and much of the Southwest for that matter — is experiencing one of the driest and hottest seasons on record.  What that means for those of us Peg Leg is that the multitude of flowers normally carpeting the desert sands at this time of year is nonexistent.


PalmCanyon-3

Flowers usually dominate landscape in late February, but not this year. Still palms provide attraction

 

As a result we must search for other desert attractions, and thankfully, that’s not too hard to do.  Two days ago, for instance, Janie and I hiked up Palm Canyon.  Along the stream that courses through and past a grove of  palms, we found along the banks a few flowering specimens to include the brittle brush, chuparosa, and one species we believe is an aster.

PalmCanyon-5 PalmCanyon-2 PalmCanyon-1

L to R:  Chuparosa, possible an aster, brittle brush


But that was about it.  Of course we found the palms and they looked as healthy and as lovely as ever.

The hike is but 3 miles total, and includes the very real possibility of seeing sheep, which we have sighted many times on previous excursions.  The three-mile round-trip hike to Palm Canyon is one of Janie’s favorite hikes, and she takes a moment (above) to enjoy a view that is immensely panoramic.


——————

 

Airstream Travels This Time Last Year:

*Sonoran Desert Museum

 

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 »

Campfire Magic and the Compulsion of B.S.

posted: February 20th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: And so we spend the evenings sitting around a pine wood fire, spinning stories about our days’ adventures.  Sometimes it’s just Janie and me, but other times it includes a few of our Peg Leg neighbors.  The other night it included (L to R) Rich Charpentier, Randy and his dog Jack; and Mike Gibbs. Janie, of course, is also in the mix.  We’re all knowledgeable about B.S (Borrego Springs, of course!) so our range of tales is spread thickly.  Randy’s story included one about his dog, Jack, and it seems that once when Randy was flying commercially an acquaintance who was bordering hollered out “Hi-Jack.”  Randy says the name “almost got Jack and me thrown off the plane.”


AnzaBorrego-3

Campfire settings

 

But last night it was just Janie and me, and on nights when we’re unaccompanied we use the app on our cell phone to identify stars, constellations and planets.  We’re familiar enough now with this southeastern California sky to instantly identify Jupiter; Taurus the bull; Orion the hunter; Cirrus, brightest star in the sky; and Cassiopeia, a  vain Queen from Egyptian history.

Of course we’re seeing other stars, which we can also I.D., but the above are some of the more familiar heavenly bodies.  We have seen four other planets, and when the skies are really clear we can see the Pleiades.  Borrego Springs prides itself on its dark skies.

And so concludes a brief summary of nights spent ‘round the fire and narrations about B.S.


——————–

 

Airstream Travels One Year Ago:

*Brave New World In A Desert Heartland

 

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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Biking Anza Borrego

posted: February 17th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  For those who enjoy biking, Anza Borrego Desert Park provides a multitude of opportunities.  Small though the town may be there are at least three outlets that sell new and used equipment.  As well, “Biker Dan” provides repairs, and I’ve relied on him several times.


Biking-5

Biking the soft sands of Coyote Creek in Anza Borrego State Park. Rich Charpentier out in front.

 

Yesterday, I joined up with Rick Charpentier, a fellow Airstreamer and biker, who loves to mountain bike.  Because time was short for Rich, we picked Coyote Canyon, driving first to the trailhead for Alcoholic Pass.  From here, we continued along the dirt road, biking about four miles toward a stream famous for the historic explorations of de Anza, the Mexican explorer who first traveled through the region. He was bound for San Francisco, several hundred miles to the north, but Rich and I decided we would stop a little short.  We peddled through the soft sand but turned around after fording the tiny stream through which de Anza passed on Christmas day.  The stream also recalls the site near which the wife of one of the explorers in his group gave birth.

I worked hard trying to create a picture that would convey our ride and to do so had to rely on a camera chest mount. Photographically, I knew what I wanted, but because I was guessing at framing had to repeat exposures several times before I got what I wanted.  I wanted an image that included my handle bars, “Rider Rich, soft sand and the distant mountains.  The picture here is just as I took it and has provided me with much satisfaction.


—————————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Antsy McClain (Humor and Pathos Unite Everyone)

 

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 »

Leonard Knight’s Passing Represents End of an Era

posted: February 13th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: If you have seen the movie or read the book Into the Wild, you may recall that Alexander Supertramp, legally known as Christopher McCandless, spent time in a remote part of California called “The Slabs.” It’s surrounded by such features as Bombay Beach, a half-submerged wasteland of derelict buses and vehicles, and the Salton Sea, known for several environmental catastrophes. Sandwiched in between are the Slabs, a WWII-era Marine facility where squatters and seasonal snowbirds live in RVs and vehicles among the concrete remnants.

And not far from here is Salvation Mountain, created by Leonard Knight, one of the people who befriended Alexander Supertramp.


Leonard Knight, appearing three years ago as the vibrant and well meaning man that so characterized him.



Sadly Leonard Knight passed away three days ago and his passing is significant for it represents the end of an era. But the area may endure, for several years ago Senator  Barbara Boxer declared Salvation Mountain a “National Treasure.”

Over the years Janie and I visited the area on a number of occasions, and most visits were accompanied by the posting of a blog.  Some may want to know more about  Salvation Mountain, the Slabs — and Leonard knight, and I hope the associated links peak your interest in a way of life that has worked — and continues to work — for some.

 

———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Salton Sea

 

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 »