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

Park’s Immense Visitation Creating “Habituated” Bears

posted: August 16th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Fifty years ago from yesterday (August 15, 1967), Leonard Landa and I shot the grizzly bear that killed Michele Koons, the fatally mauled young lady at Trout Lake, whom we had found three days earlier.  This then marks the end of the events that have conspired to create so much publicity for those of us involved in the episode now known as “Night of the Grizzlies.”  Approximately 10 different publications have related the story and used images for illustrations. I was particularly flattered two Sunday’s ago when the Great Falls Tribune featured an image of mine that ran horizontally across the entire  front page of the Sunday edition.  The Tribune is one of the state’s largest papers, and the accompanying story filled almost two full pages so extending my 15 minutes of fame to 17.



Most likely the Tribute selected this grizzly bear image as it tells the story not only of the animal’s magnificence but also
of its lethal capabilities. 
I photographed it about three years ago, and it quickly scurried on, as did I.


But now, speaking for myself, I hope this publicity soon winds down, but not before remarking that some good came from the two tragic maulings.  Most specifically David Shea, one of the rangers assigned to shoot the garbage-conditioned bears at Granite Park Chalet, says that prior to 1967 the park had been lax about separating people and bears.  “But not afterward,” emphasizes Shea.  Shea says those events precipitated a new Bear Management policy, and believes that for the most part “the plan has been working.”


Bear&Leonard

Leonard Landa examines the bear that he and
I shot and that proved to be the bear responsible for the fatal mauling of Michele Koons


But Shea is now concerned because hordes of people are descending on Glacier subsequent to last year’s National Park Centennial, and the unprecedented advertisement associated with that event.  “The park,” says Shea, “was not set up to contend with a million visitors each of the park’s four summer months.”  Shea notes that back in 1967 the park averaged about 100,000 visitors throughout the entire year.

Proximity of bears and humans then is the immense problem with which the park must now contend, and if they don’t, the “conditioning” that results from the close proximity of bears and people could very well create two more “killer” bears.

Neither Leonard nor I want to hear that two young rangers have found a young mangled girl whom they must then roll into a body bag.  That’s an indelible memory Leonard and I share; but along with it we wonder that the parents have survived as well as reported.  We both think their grief has been pushed into the background.

 

----------


Night of the Grizzly, from a post I created about 10 years ago

 

 

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

In Glacier Bikes Should Prevail

posted: June 27th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Saturday, June 26th, I rode my bike through what is some of the world’s most spectacular country, and I did it on a day when it is safe to do so. Each year, the Glacier National Park road crew must plow the Going to the Sun Road (GTSR) before vehicular traffic can pass through. At a certain point park managers allow bikers to use the road but prohibit vehicles, and it is this period that so many of us look forward to. In fact, many of us wish the park would follow the lead of Grand Canyon and Zion. In those parks summer traffic had gotten so dense that they implemented shuttle service while simultaneously permitting bikers. I like the idea because summers in Glacier have become an absolute madhouse. Finding parking at the many pull overs and, too, at Logan Pass is an impossibility for traffic to Logan Pass is always bumper to bumper.


GNP-Bike-12

One of the best years for Weeping Wall, a Glacier Icon


I arrived at the Avalanche Creek parking lot — the spot along the (GTSR) where drivers must now stop — about 8 Saturday morning, and already that lot was getting full. But I quickly left that scene behind and began my 15 mile ascent to Logan Pass. Yes, there were lots of others riders but the distance between us increased as we began ascending the road. Most everyone passed me, and I told several who joked that, yes, I was ashamed to be left behind — because I probably had 50 years more experience than most other riders. But not all, and there were a number of oldermen and older women who were pumping right along.


Biking-15 LoganPass1

Heavens Peak Overlook back dropped by its namesake,
a mountain I climbed many years ago; approaching Logan Pass


I stopped often to take photographs and sometimes, simply to marvel. Waterfalls were running hard and heavy and when I reach Weeping Wall I stopped and plopped down on the cement retaining wall and ate lunch, realizing that in several weeks such quiet pleasure would be impossible. Mounting my bike again I soon began encountering some of the huge snow banks created by this past winter’s heavy storms.


MapOfRideToLP

On Saturday, June 24, the most distant point a person can drive is Avalanche Lake parking lot,
shown in green arrow. From here one must ride, and what a pleasure it was to be free of
the mountain of summer traffic, which will follow in about a week.


I reached Logan Pass about four hours after departing Avalanche and was amazed by the amount of snow still remaining. Hard packed banks partially covered the Visitor Center, but even more impressive — except for two cars probably used by members of the road crew — the parking lot was completely empty.

I wandered about for well over an hour, then started the 15 mile return ride. I gripped the breaks hard to keep my speed down to about 30. Here, again, many zipped by me, and some were not using much sense. As I approached the Heaven’s Peak Overlook I saw an ambulance and several ranger cars surrounding a biker who was prostrate. I suspect his speed had gotten out of control and he had crashed.

BikeLP-7 BikeLP-8 BikeLP-6

All photos made at Logan Pass, laden with snow on June 24th, 2017


I continued riding and soon returned to Avalanche Campground dense now with people trying to find a space. Many were shouting and screaming and I thanked my lucky stars that there are still a few ways people can find sanity. All together I’d ridden about 31 miles, ascended over 3,000 feet and both my forearms and legs felt used. But it was joy to experience Glacier as I had once known it, and am absolutely convinced that if the Park Service wants to retain the spiritual quality of lands they administer they must find some way of controlling visitation. Biking would be a good fit.

—————————-

 

This Time Three Years Ago:

Logan Pass in June 2013

 

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 »

Biking to Logan Pass

posted: June 12th, 2017 | by:Bert

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road before it opens to vehicular traffic is an excellent way to see Glacier National Park.  But better make the ride just as soon as you can after the plows reach the pass (check the Internet), and that will be soon. A week or so after clearing the snow, the road will then be open for vehicular traffic transforming the area from a place of serenity to one that is so congested that impatient people will be blaring their horns — and parking at Logan Pass will quickly become a virtual impossibility.

Grand Canyon and Zion national parks have each made closures on a few roads, stipulating that during peak season only bikers and shuttle buses can enter.  Something like that may one day be necessary in Glacier to protect the resource.

Tunnel-300x225 8057538860_9c224c6988 GNP-Bike-8

LtoR: Riding through a tunnel just before approaching the West Side Loop;
Access to Hermit’s Rest in the Grand Canyon is by shuttle and bike only; 
Logan Pass shortly after pass opened last year.


WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE:

Make the ride and then write your representative asking that the middle portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road be closed permanently to cars. Propose that Glacier follow the example of Zion and the Grand Canyon, which allow access to certain areas only by shuttle — and by bike. Last summer by 10 in the morning all parking had been taken at Logan Pass. Closure to vehicles might also eliminate visitors with shitty attitudes. The aged can still drive in these restricted areas, and so can the handicapped if they have a driver.

Here’s a repeat of a posting I made on Facebook serveral years ago that highlights the pleasure of BIKING TO LOGAN PASS. There could not have been a more perfect day for my daughter and son-in-law to make the 32-mile round-trip bike ride from the parking lot at Avalanche Campground to Logan Pass, an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. At this time of year, the road is open for bicycle riders and emergency vehicles only.

GNP-Bike-13

In June waters cascade down the most
appropriately named “Weeping Wall.”

Though it was cool when we departed we quickly shed our windbreakers, then progressed along McDonald Creek. Almost immediately the Going-to-the-Sun Road began to climb, passing first through a tunnel, then to the West Side Loop where we took a few photos back dropped by majestic Heaven’s Peak, which I once climbed.

From the Loop our ride passed dozens of water falls and the climb was demanding. We stopped at Bird Woman Overlook where we had lunch, then rested, we continued up to Weeping Falls, which at this time of year was absolutely gushing with snowmelt.

An hour later I rode into the snow-cleared parking lot at Logan Pass. Leaning my bike against a towering snow bank I spent an hour or more photographing the incredible fields of snow still remaining. The Logan Pass Visitor Center was literally covered with snow and was certainly not yet ready to greet the summer hordes.


GNP-Bike-2 Biking-GTS-8

Angie and Will Friedner pause en-route to Logan Pass, backdropped by
Bird Woman Falls;
Return form Logan Pass for a total of abut 32 miles,
which makes for a day of fun and health-filled activities

 

Though it took me several hours to ascend to Logan Pass, from there it was all downhill, which I enjoyed — coasting along at about 30 mph. That seemed like a sane speed, but apparently not everyone agreed. On the way up we’d almost collided with some downhill riders who must have been cruising at dangerous speeds, perhaps 45mph.

And that may account for the day’s sad experience.  As Will and Angie approached the West Side Loop they encountered a small group gathered around a lady who had either crashed or been hit by as an out-of-control rider. Blood covered the road where she was laying and she was immobile.  Park ranger responded quickly. An emergency helicopter soon flew in and took her to the hospital. We have no idea what the outcome might have been.

BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PARK:

Certainly that was a very unfortunate incident, but other than that our day was glorious, and later, WE AGREED THAT BIKING IS THE BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PARK. By July, hordes of visitors have massed, and when that happens, numbers are so OVERWHELMING that in recent years parking spaces at Logan Pass are completely taken.  That’s when competition for parking gets mighty nasty.


———————————–


OTHER BIKING EXPERIENCES ON NATIONAL AND STATE LANDS:

Anza Borrego

Learning from Biking

 

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 »

WHAT I LEARN FROM BIKING

posted: May 14th, 2017 | by:Bert

BikeRiverside-26

NOT ALWAYS, BUT QUITE OFTEN, I ride my bike to assess the personality of the valley in which I live (near Bigfork, Montana). Sometimes I find that I am disturbed, but, generally, I find that I am cheered by valley beauty and the response of people who are also using my road. I wave at everyone, and most everyone waves back. Their waves, however, are probably more genuine then mine for I wave to remind them that we do share the road and that it would inconvenience them greatly were they to hit me. So far positive experiences out number negative experiences, allowing me to focus on riding techniques and, sometimes, on self-evaluations.

Map-RiddingData

Map created by Garmin mounted on my handle bars,
showing length of ride, time, temperature,
average moving speed and other interesting aspects of a route.


At times I like to compare the timing of my rides with those of top professionals finding that there is no way I could compete. That really surprises me as I have about 50 years more experience than do most riders I see along the way.

The most famous cycling race of course is the Tour de France, and the fastest time (forget drugs, most everyone was on them) was recorded by Lance Armstrong in 1999, whose average speed was 25 mph. That’s a speed I can barely hold for even a few minutes, though several days ago I did manage to reach 32mph during a 27-mile ride. However, I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit a stubborn wind was helping me along.


ArrowleafBalsamRoot RobQuist Stream

Several days ago my focus was on natural history and on the unsavory way
in which competing neighbors deal with one another.


Up until a year or so ago I was able to average 17 mph, but only for about an hour; then I’d slow down and try to maintain an average of 15 mph, which I can sometimes do for several hours. But that’s nothing. In 1986 Peter Penseyres rode 3107 miles and during the eight-plus-day ride, averaged 15.40 mph.

And how about the fastest biker ever? It scares me just to think about it but in 2009 Sam Whittingham of British Columbia reached a speed of 82.3-miles per hour. He was riding over a level road and his bike was top of the line, consisting of a carbon fiber frame wrapped with Kevlar bodywork.

That irks me as my bike features some of the same components. Guess I’ll just have to try harder, but the fact of the matter is that I’m generally riding to better understand the surroundings in which I live. In other words my times might improve if I didn’t stop so often to take pictures, which I did two days ago, May 5th. Spring flowers, such as the arrow leaf balsamroot, are now informing me that spring is neigh. And so are the many small creeks now roaring through age-old gullies.

Human habitation also interests me and throughout my ride political signs screamed out that despite our beautiful environment some neighbors must absolutely despise one another. Property owned by politician Rob Quist abuts a neighbor who must glorify Greg Gianforte, Quist’s Republican opponent for The House of Representatives.


BikeRiverside1-1

Spur road that links with my traditional route.

Several days ago I rode by these properties and noticed that Quist’s neighbor had mounted an overwhelming sign that glowered over Quist’s driveway. And then just the other day, when I rode by, I realized that Quist’s diminutive sign had been yanked out and probably trashed. Suddenly I peddled vigorously, determined now to vote for Quist, not because of the bullying, but more because he provides good evidence that he is for the preservation of public lands.

Biking helps me with many observations, often allowing me to feel things I might have missed: messages from signs – but more often the obscure expressions of the beauty provided by nature. I hope I can bike forever and that some of you can join me – and share your thoughts.


——

 

THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Glacier and the Absolute Joy of Early Season Biking


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 »

Join Me

posted: April 5th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:   Consider this an invitation to some of my good friends (and their good friends) who are global warming holdouts. Join me this July on a hike from the Many Glacier campground in GNP to Grinnell Glacier; and though I promise I won’t suggest you are a retarded baboon (chuckle??) if you don’t believe global warming is real, I will point out that back in the early 1900s Grinnell Glacier extended from its current location in Grinnell Lake about six miles down and back almost to our trailhead.

GlobalWarming (1 of 4)


Trail to remnants of Upper Grinnell Glacier


Proof?  The B&W image shown here provides periodic comparison.  More proof?  If we’re lucky we’ll run into Dan Fagre (shown here in pointing toward his diagram).  He has a PhD in climatology, but, that doesn’t mean much to some.  Some will just say he’s educated beyond his intelligence.  Nevertheless, I must report that Mr. Fagre says that all park glaciers will be gone by 2030.


GlobalWarming (4 of 4) DanFagre11194 GlobalWarming (7 of 4)


Chart that chronicles demise of Grinnell Glacier; Dr. Dan Fagre points to Salamander Glacier, which once was part of Grinnell;
view from Grinnell Overlook of what was and what now is.


More proof?  This month’s (April issue) National Geographic magazine employees the following subheadings to support the meat of their article about “Climate Change.”:

1 THE WORLD IS WARMING.  2 IT’S BECAUSE OF US. 3. WE’RE SURE.

Yet More Proof?  Contact me mid-July and we’ll make the trek to Grinnell Glacier.  My objective will be to make a slight dent in the steel armor of any “Flat Earthers” who join me, and if I can’t do that I’ll admit that it is I, in fact, who is the ineffectual, dim-witted baboon.  But that said, we’ll have fun.


—————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Botanical Adaptations to Desert

 

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 »

Ghost Flower

posted: March 8th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Yesterday (3-8-17),  photographer friend/Airstream owner Bill D and I hiked Moonlight Canyon Trail searching in part for the elusive Ghost Flower, a species that derives its name from the ghostly translucency of its flowers. Certainly, that’s appropriate, but Bill and I concluded the plant could also be named because it is so ephemeral.  “Here today, gone tomorrow,” is the way Bill expressed the condition, adding, “like a ghost.”  And that seems apt, for over the years Janie and I have visited Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we’ve only seen but one example of this beautiful white flower.

But Bill and I lucked out, and during our hike we found a number of small clumps, and then, later, as we researched the species, discovered it has some characteristics that make Mohavea confertiflora unique.


GhostFlower (1 of 4)

Bill and I return to Moonlight Canyon, near Aqua Caliente. 
An excellent area in which to see bighorn sheep and to find the elusive Ghost Flower.


NO NECTAR

Mohavea confertiflora flowers March to April, and what is unique to the species is that it does not produce nectar.  Instead, the internet tells us [the species] “has adapted a morphology resembling the flower Mentzelia involucrata, which often grows in the same habitat. Mentzelia involucrata produces nectar to attract female bees of the genus Xeralictus.”

The explanation further says that our ghost flower attracts the same pollinators to its flowers through floral mimicry (an evolved act in which a species derives a benefit by mimicking some feature found in another species):  In this case the Mohavea flowers contain marks that resemble female Xeralictus; these marks operate as a sign stimulus to the male bee, which enters the flower and in doing so pollinates the Mohavea.”

These facts piqued our interest and we worked hard to capture the blood-red marks (located deep in the “bowl”) of the plant.


GhostFlower (4 of 4) GhostFlower (5 of 1) GhostFlower (2 of 4)


Note the blood-red splotch in the bowl
of these ghost flowers, another feature that makes them unique.


FIGWORT FAMILY

Because the species has some unique features that it shares with snapdragons and penstemons, the ghost flower is placed with them in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). But its appearance is decidedly different and can be recognized by the long, hairy, light-green leaves that are elliptical to lanceolate.  Plants we saw stood about 4 inches long.

We saw a number of plants on our hike through this beautiful canyon accessed from Agua Caliente, but had spent so much time photographing Ghost Flowers we figured we could dally no further, for Larry and my wife Janie were waiting for us so we could all to sit down beside Bill and Larry’s Airstream and enjoy the scrumptious mid-day dinner Larry had prepared.

 

———————

 

OTHER FLOWER POSTS:

Photographing Cacti — In Macro Mode

Strobes, Great for Photographing Flowers in Windy Weather


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Organ Pipe Water Issues


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 »

Sunrise Heralds Spectacular Day in Anza Borrego

posted: March 6th, 2017 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: The day started here in Borrego Springs with a beautiful sunrise, which Janie captured with her cell phone camera. For me the day continued with a bike ride accompanied by Paul and Gareth Pritchard, a man I’ve teamed up with several times over the past few years. Gareth and I met while mountain biking the Ajo Mountain Loop in Organ Pipe National Monument. Subsequently we have made many other rides to include a challenging trip from Montezuma Pass to Tamarisk Campground.


Sunrise

Saturday (3-6-17) morning sunrise

Because those rides pass through such stunning country I’ve provide links to several blogs as well as a link to the data my Garmin collects about the ride I made yesterday, Saturday the 4th. Click and allow a moment or two for the map to load. Then, if you are ever in this area you’ll have directions for a route that passes through some very magnificent terrain.


FLOWERS

BorregoFlowers (15 of 6) BorregoFlowers (10 of 6) BorregoFlowers (14 of 6)


Because of massive amounts of rain at the perfect time, flowers are beginning
to bloom in profusion to include primrose, desert lily and sand verbena.

 

GARMIN DATA: The Garmin data also records length and time required to complete yesterday’s 18-mile journey.  Information says it took almost three hours to complete our trip… and that’s because my companions were kind and allowed for my pace, which was slower.  But the slow pace also allowed us to appreciate a spring flower bloom that promises to be magnificent.  Clumps are rearing their variegated heads.


BikeBorrego3-4-17 (3 of 4)

Bike Ride takes us to Indian Head where flowers are blooming in profusion.

Garmin information also show temperature which pivoted around the 80º mark. Because snow storms are still raging in Montana Janie and I want to repeat that we are so happy we made 1400 mile trip from Montana to Borrego, where we acquired a rental using the VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) website, and we’re already thinking about next year. We have lots of good friends in Borrego and we like the opportunities provided in this the largest of state parks in America. Here we can hike and bike – and enjoy the vistas created when the sun sets – and when it rises.


———————


Ajo Mountain Loop

Adventure Biking in Borrego Springs:

Garmin Info:  (This takes about 30 seconds for all information — to include map to load. )


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 »

Renewed Person?

posted: March 3rd, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Well, we made it, from Montana to Borrego Springs and to a house we’ve rented for a month. This is the first time in 20 years we’ve traveled without our Airstream, and it was a wise choice. Blizzards followed us from Bigfork and then on into Idaho. But we missed them all, and then had the good luck to run into a short stretch of Route 66, something for the future, when I’m ready to hoist hitches.


Route66 (1 of 1)


I didn’t realize how much strength I’d lost from over 35 days in the hospital where I was mostly bedridden. But I sure found out yesterday when I biked about 10 miles and had to push to complete the trip in less than two hours. Lots of stiff muscles this morning.

Rental (2 of 2)


But I accomplished goal number one and that was to climb back on my bike after a four month hiatus and though I was challenged, I did it — and today hopefully I will do better.

The warmth of the weather is an inducement to get out, and the coziness of our rental makes it a delightful place to recoup. From our rental we look out over Coyote Peak, and just three years ago I had the strength to make the day-long climb, up and down, with good friends Don and Nancy Dennis.


Rental (1 of 2)

We’re going to try and do a little socializing while here, but mostly we’re here so that when we leave, I’ll be a “renewed” person.


—————-

 

Adventures in Anza Borrego, before I had to be renewed:

Climbing Coyote Peak

Challenging Mountain Bike Trip in Borrego Springs


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 »

TOM ULRICH 1948 TO FEBRUARY 10, 2017

posted: February 12th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Tragically, Tom Ulrich, a nationally renowned photographer, profoundly individualistic man, and genuinely good person, passed away early Friday morning. His demise has created a void for his many friends, and Janie and I know that includes us.

Tom and I have been buddies since the mid-70s when we shared the aspiration of becoming photographers, a difficult profession to break into.  Initially, Tom worked as a teacher, but he found the classroom too confining and decided to move to Montana where he lived out of his van until he built his own cabin several years down the road.  But in the 1970s he needed to balance his income, and to do so he tapped into unique situations.


TomU Buddy (2 of 2)

Tom Ulrich was a highly creative photographer.  His dog “Buddy” knew how to pose, at least for Tom.

 

At the time, thousands upon thousands of salmon would migrate each fall from Flathead Lake to the upper reaches of rivers and streams near Glacier National Park.  Their numbers would attract anglers interested in snagging the spawning fish, but in the course of doing so they would lose thousands of relatively expensive triple hooks. Here’s where Tom came in.

OLYMPIC TRY OUT: Once Tom had been an Olympic swimming tryout, and he took those skills to the river. Donning scuba diving tanks and appropriate garb, he would swim along river bottoms retrieving lost hooks. He’d then bundle them up and resell them at various outlets he had established. Pricing the lures at eight for a dollar, returns were significant, because of the high volume.

Before long Tom’s photo business began to boom but he never got so busy he couldn’t help friends, and often that included Janie and me.  To supplement our income Janie and I had rentals, and once, when we returned from a trip we found one in a complete mess.  Shortly thereafter Tom called and invited us for dinner but we declined because we felt we had to get the mess cleaned up.  Tom didn’t say a thing, but about an hour later he showed up and spent the rest of the day helping us clean the mess, and that included painting a wall. That night we dined.


From Mountain MonarchsBook (1 of 1)


MOST PHOTOGRAPHED  DOG?

As the years went by Tom was becoming well known, but I didn’t realize the extent until one day in Denali National Park.  Initially, other Alaska photographers informed us they’d seen Tom that winter in some far off place.  But here’s what blew my mind.  To visit Wonder Lake in Denali, visitors have to take the bus, and it was crowded, forcing Janie and me to sit apart. My seatmate was congenial and wanted to know where we were from.  When I said Montana, he said he had just been at a photographer’s log cabin near West Glacier.  “You can’t mean Tom Ulrich,” I almost shouted.  “Yes, he said, and he was taking care of a dog called Sinopah.”

Well that was our dog and then we started visiting about his dog Buddy, whom we’d care for when Tom was on the road.  It was a reciprocal thing but this anecdote is really about Buddy and Tom, and recalling all the prizes Tom won dressing Buddy (his beautiful golden retriever) up in so many various ways.  Sometimes Buddy was a skier adorned with goggles, other times an old man or woman, dressed with the proper hat… even a snorkeler. Janie and I also remember the birthday parties Tom had for Buddy.

To reduce the cost of travel Tom and I sometimes teamed up, and whether it was the competitive edge or simply the fact that Tom’s enthusiasm set the standard I don’t know.  But it is hard to beat the image Tom made of three bighorns in Jasper, which Northword Press used for the centerpiece of my book on Mountain Monarchs.  Why hadn’t I seen that drama unfolding? But at Bosque Del Apache, we pushed each other, and at the crack of dawn we both clicked as thousands of snow geese rose from the waters.  I’ll always associate my image with Tom, remembering his penchant for hard work, which drove him relentlessly.

 

Snow Geese

Tom’s enthusiasm for trying to capture the very best
image was contagious and had us both up at the crack of dawn at Bosque Del Apache.


And that may have been the key to his success, for he certainly achieved the objectives he and I had talked about so long ago.  He published in hundreds of different periodicals; created books; lectured widely; led photo tours around the world, but often focused on Africa and South America; and has made friends everywhere, as Linda Martin (Tom’s significant other) and her Facebook page so testifies. In the past few days, hundreds have posted comments about this highly motivated individual.

But more significantly, his photographs leave the world a better place.  You know the man loved nature, and because of the way he reveals it you are inspired to do so as well.



—————


A Few Blogs Which Included Tom:

Arctic Grayling

Tom Ulrich & Photography


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 »

Donald Trump’s Wall

posted: January 28th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: For the past few days Donald Trump has been discussing “The Wall,” and he’s finding it may not be as easy to separate the U.S. from Mexico with a huge, huge barrier as he had promised.  Yes, some places may need a means of excluding Mexicans from entering the U.S. and that was certainly true in Arizona’s Organ Pipe National Monument. Here, parts of the terrain are ideally suited to stealth, and monitoring revealed that at the height close to 1,000 illegals were stealing across the 30-mile long border on a NIGHTLY basis.  Many were drug runners, and some threatened visitors, and sometimes tragedies occurred.  In 2002 Ranger Kris Eggle was killed by a drug runner.

Dozens of “People trails” were being established and the trampling from thousands of footfalls quickly eroded the critical habitat required for the endangered desert antelope.


Dos Lomitas-6 Dos Lomitas-4 DosLomatis (1 of 7)


Here’s the way a five-mile section of road in Organ Pipe appears.  Some of the fencing is obviously
cheap but one section, perhaps a mile long, was expensive and is used in other sections of the park.
As best I can determine, cost per mile is $2-3M. 
When used in conjunction with other forms of detection, it has worked.


You can’t have this type of impact on a park designated as an International Heritage Park so here, in this specific part of the U.S., a wall was needed.  Americans paid for it and the cost as best as I can determine for the high metal barrier section was $2-$3M PER MILE.


BullPasture-3 OrganPipe1 Dos Lomitas-5 - Copy


It is now safe again to hike remote sections of Organ Pipe, thanks in part to fencing.
It’s also made it safer for law enforcement rangers.

But the border fence didn’t completely solve the problem and to accomplish the goal of eliminating drug runners and, yes, sometimes undocumented aliens simply looking for work, officials had to do lots more, and here are a few of the extra measures that were required: They increased the border patrol from 50 to 500, installed huge monitors and night cameras, and periodically they make helicopter patrols. The combination has worked, and the park, which closed subsequent to the murder of Ranger Eggle, reopened two years ago.  Now there are fences separating the border but some are more effective than others.  The fences shown here separate a five mile segment of the U.S. from Mexico.


43849

Building a wall worked in Organ Pipe and now the beauty of this incredible desert park
can be safely explored, here along the Ajo Mountain Loop Road.



Do we need a wall in other parts of the USA?  Do Americans need the kind of protection Organ Pipe required?

Those are questions I can’t answer, but if we do, I doubt seriously if DT will be able to live up to his campaign promise. What I can say and want to emphasize is that if we do need a wall, it’s not because I agree with “OUR PRESIDENT’S” hyperbole that [Mexicans are] “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…”

But to give the devil his due he concluded by saying “…some are good people.”


—————–

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Mountain Biking in Anza Borrego

 

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 »

EXCELLENT ACTRESS

posted: January 16th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  I just received an email notice (with attachment) that an image I made several years ago of Actress/narrator Tammy Denease Richardson performing at the much renowned Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, was used in a brochure to attract patrons to yet another of her grand performances.  The event is scheduled for February 12, but unfortunately it will be  staged in Virginia. We’re in Montana and distance precludes our attendance. If we were in the same region we would make the trip.

Ms. Richardson can literally step into the shoes of whomever she is portraying, and you can believe, for example, that she is Sarah Margru, the slave who had been brought from Africa via Cuba to America on the slave ship Amistad.


Denease3

Tammy Denease


 

You can believe that she is Elizabeth “Mum Brett” Freeman, trying 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  Denease/Freeman.

“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.”

Ms Richardson acquired some of her outstanding interpretive skills from her ancestors.  Born in Mississippi she 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.

We hope she’ll return to Old Strubridge Village.  Because of family, we visit there often, and hope our timing will be such that we can see her again.

Today, of course, is Martin Luther King Day, so the arrival of the brochure was well timed.


————————-

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Ghost Mountain, An Experiment in Living: http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2015/01/19/ghost-mountain-an-experiment-in-living

 

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 »

Open those Stored Boxes. They Could Surprise!

posted: January 9th, 2017 | by:Bert

PearlHarbor©Bert Gildart:  It’s been many months since I’ve posted but there’ a reason.  During those months I’ve endured three surgeries to remove a precancerous polyp that was located between my stomach and the small intestine. The last surgery kept me in the hospital bed for 23 days.

That can all make a person a bit blue, so I’m trying to look at the positive side of things, and I really don’t have to look very hard.

First, is the uplift friends and family have created for me with their thoughts and prayers, expressed online as well as in cards and by telephone.

Though their support tops the list, there is yet another thought expressed by the photo to the right.  The time at home has enabled me to rummage through the dozens and dozens of boxes my parents left with me 15 years ago.  I was shocked by what I found, but most specifically by this ancient newspaper clip. It’s historic and could even be worth some cash, but I’ll never sell it.

It’s from the front page of the Honolulu Star published the afternoon of December 7, 1941.  It’s significant to me because I was there as a one-year-old toddler.  Obviously my parents were there and whenever army folks stationed on Oahu gather, well you know what they talked about.   I’ve posted on this event before but didn’t realize boxes in the attic contained such historic newspapers.  My dad was a history buff and I’ve got many more boxes to go.

Though I believe we’ll do a bit of traveling in March to see friends in Borrego Spring, by that time, if I can maintain my resolve, should you visit us you’ll see a very orderly house. That’s a bit of the good that will definitely come from this period of convalescence.

 

———————-

 

As an afterthought, and because I need to fill in more of this space, here are two images of birds struggling
YESTERDAY to find food.  Turkeys are drawn to an area immediately below our porch and bird feeders because the grain is often scattered
by the smaller birds.  But with all the cold and snow, they two are having a rough time exemplified by this dove.

 

Birds&Food (2 of 2) Birds&Food (3 of 2)

 

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE (Country was spectacular) :  http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2016/01/16/challenging-mountain-biking-in-anza-borrego-desert-park

 

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 »

Fire — The New Norm?

posted: August 24th, 2016 | by:Bert

JewelBasinSmoke-15

Jewel Basin hiking area August 22, 2016, about 9 A.M.

©Bert Gildart: On Monday morning about 9 a.m.,  August 22, 2016, this is the way the Jewel Basin Hiking area appeared from the porch of our house.

Smoke from a substantial fire in the Hamilton, Montana, area (about 100 miles to the south) had crept into the Flathead, muting the sun and obscuring Jewel Basin. At times like this conditions afford unusual photographic opportunities that can create stunning images.

On the flip side, my eyes are watering and my sinuses are partially blocked.

Scientists tell us global warning has increased the frequency of fires and the conditions you see here may become the new norm.  Oh my aching sinuses.

Of course the Jewel Basin Hiking Area doesn’t always look this way, though smoke muting the sun does presage future conditions.  But frequency could be reduced, offering a future more like what we saw last week while on a family hike to Mount Aeneas, one of the highest mountains in the Swan Range.

From our house the distance is  only about 10 miles to the Forest Service parking lot, known as Camp Misery, but that required about a 45 minutes because the last stretch of the drive is over a bumpy logging road. However, views along the way are spectacular.

HIKER’S PARADISE

The “Jewel” straddles the Swan Range within sight of Flathead Lake to the south, Hungry Horse Reservoir to the east and Glacier to the north.  It’s a hiker’s and backpacker’s dream and has more than fulfilled the promise which the Forest Service envisioned. The challenge, of course, is to maintain conditions so the area’s beauty and history prevail.

The area is characterized by glacier-carved peaks and cirques, which surround valleys dotted with 37 alpine lakes.  Fifty miles of hiking trails connect most of the lakes, and aside from getting from the valley floor to the basin rim, most of the hiking is not too strenuous. Several years ago Janie and I produced a guide to the Flathead and Glacier and we devoted a section to exploring hiking trails in this area.

From our guide book about Glacier and the Flathead Valley, the highest peak, Mount Aeneas, was named for an Iroquois Indian.  His name was Big Knife and he arrived in the Flathead valley sometime in the 1870’s and was adopted by the Kootenai people.  Somewhere along the way, his name was changed to Aeneas, a name borrowed from the Greek and Romans, meaning “Man Without a Country.”


FamilyPolga-9 FamilyPolga-8 FamilyPolga-10

 

L to R:  Family members Alun Polga and his son Griff test a flank that leads to Mount Aeneas;
Polga family pause at saddle en route to Aeneas; pausing at saddle where we recalled
famous John Muir quote:  Climb The Mountains and Get Their Good Tidings.


NATIVE USAGE: Also included in our book are quotes from one of the area’s noted hikers, who is a good friend.   Elaine Synder is a volunteer hike leader with the Montana Wilderness Association and she says that from the top of Aeneas you can see in all directions.  She says that your sweep includes vistas of early Indian settlements, some of which are thousands of years old.  “There are places,” says Synder, “that were used in the last century by Native Americans who camped, hunted, and gathered in the valley.” She says  there is evidence that the peak itself was an important perspective point for early day hunters, just as it often has been for us.


JewelBasin

Jewel Basin Hiking area, back dropped by the tan colored massive mountain, known as Great Northern positioned in this photo along horizon, far left. Many years ago, when my son David was 15, we climbed the peak.

 

On the day family members and I climbed and explored the Jewel Basin Hiking area the skies were perfectly clear.  In fact, though we were  surrounded by areas where fires were raging, the Flathead remained smoke free until two days ago.  Lighting, however, has torched off the vast forests in the Flathead Valley, now parched from weeks of hot temperatures and a lack of rain.  Not surprisingly, such conditions have produced forest fires — and now, of course,  smoke.

For those of us who believe the predictions of world scientists, I guess we’re getting a hint of what the future might bode.  Sad, because some of the deleterious aspects of our compromised environment  could have been forestalled.


——–

THIS TIME IN OCTOBER OF 2006

Graveyard Stroll in Nova Scotia


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 »

Facebook Crossovers

posted: August 4th, 2016 | by:Bert

Biking-5

One of my loop routes, a 26 mile road along the base of the Swan Mountains,

©Bert Gildart: Because of the social nature of FACEBOOK, I generate many more quick responses and “Likes” using that form of social media then I do by posting blogs.

As a result, I sometimes overlook the people who say, “Sorry, we want to know what you’re doing, but we don’t want to deal with another  program.   As an attempt to share I’m going to start summarizing some of my Facebook postings on my blog.  By so doing, I hope to make my blog postings more than just a hit or miss project.

As a result you’ll see two postings here, one on biking, the other about photography and magazine submissions.

———

YESTERDAY I BIKED  26.4 MILES along a series of secondary roads that departed from our drive. Locals will recognize the route as consisting of Riverside Road, Fishhatchery Road, Foothills Road and finally, LaBrant. For the most part it is an agrarian setting and signs along the way told of the price of a dozen fresh farm eggs ($2.75); of dirt roads to Jewel Basin Hiking area; and, naturally — in this area — of how best to prepare for life in the hereafter.

As I ride I monitor activities with a top-of-the-line Garmin, which was a birthday gift from my lovely wife. Information is thorough and includes standard data such as rate of travel, average speed and both heart and cadence rate. When home all this information can be downloaded onto my cell phone or onto my computer. I can also examine my route in the form of a map.

For any interesting in the map, and the information just mentioned, here’s a link.  Generally I find it takes about 20 seconds for the data to load.

I find the program helpful as I chart attempts to improve overall conditioning — and later, to look back on a very interesting bike adventure.


https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1271194635


—————————–


AND NOW MY ENTRY ON THE SUBMISSION OF IMAGES FOR AIRSTREAM LIFE: Just completed a story for Airstream Life magazine, a periodical that appeals to a travel-oriented audience. Most readers are highly adventurous and many are interested in nature photography. Obviously most tow an Airstream.

The magazine is “slick” meaning my images are reproduced with great fidelity

The magazine started about 12 years ago and I’ve sold to every issue since its inception. Images accompany my stories and are sometimes related to the season, in this case to fall travel here in the West. Over the years I’ve covered areas from all of the Canadian provinces and from areas embraced by all four corners of the U.S. Generally our trips are also made for other magazines as well.

Moose Moose2 PhotographerBert2

Note the belligerence in the eye of the moose, now in rut and potentially a very dangerous and aggressive animal.  Not so the cow moose, simply interested in plucking vegetation from the bottom of this pond.  Photo by Bill Mullins, one of the nation’s top nature photographers.


To facilitate layout I try and give editors at the magazine a wide selection – far more than what they’ll use. In this case I’m sending about 40 images, realizing the final cut will total about 10. Here are a few samples from which they’ll be selecting. Certainly, I have no objection if they select the one Bill Mullins took of me out on Montana’s Wildhorse Islands.


GB 52165 CranesFlight2


Mullins is a top photographer and a good friend. He’s from Idaho and I was delighted to have seen him several weeks ago at the annual convention of the Outdoor Writer Association of America, which this year was held in Billings, Montana.


————————————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Dark Skies

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 »

Tragic Results After Biker Collides with Bear

posted: July 5th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: On June 29 two men riding mountain bikes just south of West Glacier, Montana, rounded a bend and surprised what officials now believe was a grizzly bear.  To make matters worse, Brad Treat, actually collided with the bear, and the alarmed bruin knocked Treat from his bike and then attacked. According to one report, Treat was going so fast he couldn’t stop. Tragically, the bear killed the 38-year-old man who was employed as a law enforcement officer by the Flathead National Forest. Treat was a former Glacier Park ranger. The other man, escaped attack and scurried for help.


GNP7038 GNP7026


L to R:  Search for the bear that mauled Treat has not been successful, and officials have called off the search. 
Glacier has about 500 grizzly bears and though we probably hike by many, we generally don’t know they’re watching us.


Immediately after the mauling, authorities initiated a search for the bear, but, now, after a week, the search has ended. Again, cautionary bear statements abound and some are recalling that the event had been predicted, most notably by Dr. Stephen Herrero, a professor at the University of Alberta. Herrero, who is recognized as one of the world’s most renowned bear experts cautioned years ago that mountain bikes could be dangerous.

BIKES CAN BE DANGEROUS

“Mountain bikes,” said Dr. Herrero, “are potentially very dangerous. They approach quietly and fast, and bears don’t like surprises.” Herrero, who is also a mountain bike rider, emphasized that riders should carry bear spray and make noise.”

Bear6 41189G-Bear StupidPhotographers


L to R:  Invariably, the old cliche holds:  A fed bear is a dead bear.  If a grizzly bear exhibits signs of aggression, back away slowly. 
These photographers intentionally intercepted the chosen route of this grizzly, forcing it onto the trail to Iceberg Lake in Glacier.  The situation could have become dangerous.


That message strikes home and in the future I’ll do just that. When rounding a bend I’ll shout. As well, I’ll focus more on the trail rather than on the beauty which generally surrounds me. And I’ll slow down, realizing now that I might collide with a family as well as a bear. Yes, in the past I’ve been guilty.

FATAL MAULINGS DATE TO 1967

I’m not certain whether Treat’s death will be included in the tally of Glacier Park bear maulings, but to date the park says there have been 10 fatal maulings within its boundaries. The first of these occurred in 1967 when two different bears killed two people in different parts of the park in the course of a single night. Those attacks became the subject of a 1969 book by Jack Olsen titled “Night of the Grizzlies,” and later a documentary by the same name. Those attacks can be linked directly to garbage, as I emphasized in a story I later wrote for Smithsonian magazine.

In addition, I have written many other bear stories and am providing links to postings about bear behavior — and about some of the tragedies.

(Note: all these bear images were made with an 800mm lens. I don’t search for bears, but am prepared to photograph bears using a tripod-mounted camera setup.)


———————-

More  Bear Postings:

Night of the Grizzlies

Bears Now Ready to Hibernate

Is It a Black Bear or a Grizzly Bear?


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 »

NRA Aggression

posted: June 27th, 2016 | by:Bert

.22 calibre pistol which we recently purchased to serve as a form of psychologial comfort.

.22 calibre pistol which we recently purchased to serve as a form of psychologial comfort.

©Bert Gildart: Two weeks ago I traded in a very sophisticated semi-automatic pistol for the simple-to-operate revolver shown here.  Since making the purchase I’ve received two telephone calls — as revealed by my caller I.D. —  to be from the NRA.  Unfortunately, I was slow in climbing our stairs and was not able to answer before the contact was broken, but this may have been for the best.  Now, should they call again, I’ll not be caught off guard.  Read on if you want to learn how I might respond.

For years I was a member of the NRA but denounced membership back in 2003.  At the time, I was in Spokane, Washington, attending a convention of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America, which is supported by many national organizations such as the NRA, the Sierra Club – and by virtually all the major producers of outdoor products. Unfortunately, a spokesman for the NRA had a major disagreement with the Sierra Club, which at the time was attempting to persuade members that habitat had to been considered as a major factor in setting hunting guidelines.  The NRA disagreed and in so many words, representative Kayne Robinson said at the organization’s sponsored luncheon that it was their way or the highway.  Shortly thereafter I dropped my membership.

That was 12 years ago, and perhaps the NRA has changed its mind on habitat management, but new issues have materialized to include the issues of assault weapons, gun registration and the No Fly/No Buy suggestion regulation.  So… if the NRA calls again, I do know what I’ll tell them.

I’ll tell them that I remain a gun enthusiasts, but that my three hunting rifles are bolt action guns and that each holds half-a-dozen bullets or so.  Each time I fire, I must yank the bolt back and then, to chamber a bullet, I must slide the bolt forward.  I can only do that about a six times before reloading, and each time I slide the bolt backward and forward I have to take my eye off the target.  Not true, however, of the AR-15 semiautomatic assault weapon, which can accept magazines holding up to 100 bullets.  But that disparity is not a problem for me, as my target is deer and elk, not people in a night club or children in a school.

As stated at the outset of this opinion piece I recently purchased the .22 magnum caliber pistol for the very rare occasion when Janie and I feel threatened.  More than anything it provides psychological security, and our first line of defense would be bear spray — and I have had to use it while riding my bike, confronting dogs, so know it works.


Guns-BearSpray-2 Bear-spray-works BearSpray5-199x300

 

L to R:  Bear spray as mounted on my bicycle; Bill Hutchison demonstrates use of bear spray, our first line of defense for unpleasant situations.


Purchasing the pistol took about 15 minutes, and if it had been necessary to wait a day or two for a background check to determine whether I was mentally competent to own a gun, or to insure I was not on a No-Fly/No Buy list (hopefully to be implemented), that would not have bothered me.  Certainly these “inconveniences” will save at least one life, and if it does then it’s worth it to me.  I don’t believe my 2nd amendment right are being compromised.  Several countries such as Britain and Australia have limited private ownership of assault weapons and time has shown that in some countries, some restrictions work.

And, so, that’s what I’ll tell the NRA should they call, and if they do, I hope I won’t slam the door shut on future deliberations – as did the NRA spokesman.  However, it will take a lot to get me to re-up membership status.


———————


Associated Blog:

Knife River … And Keep Guns Out of National Parks


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 »

Biking To Logan Pass

posted: June 7th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  There could not have been a more perfect day for my daughter and son-in-law to make the 32-mile round-trip bike ride from the parking lot at Avalanche Campground to Logan Pass, an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. At this time of year, the road is open for bicycle riders and emergency vehicles only.

Though it was cool when we departed we quickly shed our windbreakers, then progressed along McDonald Creek. Almost immediately the Going-to-the-Sun Road began to climb, passing first through a tunnel, then to the West Side Loop where we took a few photos back dropped by majestic Heaven’s Peak, which I once climbed.


2016 06 06_2524 Tunnel GNP-Bike-1


L to R:  Departing from near Avalanche Campground the Going-to-the-Sun Road soon begins to climb; tunnel just above
Packer’s Roost and just below West Side Loop; West Side Loop back dropped by Heaven’s Peak.


From the Loop our ride passed dozens of water falls and the climb was demanding. We stopped at Bird Woman Overlook where we had lunch, then rested, we continued our ascent to Weeping Falls, which at this time of year was absolutely gushing with snowmelt. From there the grade only seemed to increase, and unfortunately both Angie and Will were experiencing great pain on their “undercarriages.”  To reduce further injury both decided it would be prudent to turn around, agreeing that we’d reunite at the West Side Loop; unfortunate as they were so near the top.  But anyone who has ridden the thin saddles associated with road bikes knows that it takes months of steady riding to generate the proper “callouses.”

Meanwhile, I continued the climb to Logan Pass.


GNP-Bike-13

Weeping Wall, and early June is perhaps the ideal time to bike past this rush of snow melt.

 

An hour later I rode into the snow-cleared parking lot at Logan Pass. Leaning my bike against a towering snow bank I spent an hour or more photographing the incredible fields of snow still remaining. The Logan Pass Visitor Center was literally covered with snow and was certainly not yet ready to greet the summer hordes.

Though it took me several hours to ascend to Logan Pass, from there it was all downhill, which I enjoyed — coasting along at about 30 mph. That seemed like a sane speed, but apparently not everyone agreed. On the way up we’d almost collided with some downhill riders who must have been cruising at dangerous speeds, perhaps 45mph.

AND THAT MAY ACCOUNT FOR THE DAY’S SAD EXPERIENCE.

As Will and Angie approached the West Side Loop they encountered a small group gathered around a lady who had either crashed or been hit by as an out-of-control rider. Blood covered the road where she was laying and she was immobile.


GNP-Bike-2 GNP-Bike-6 GNP-Bike-7


L to R:  Angie AND  Will break for lunch back dropped by Bird Woman Falls. 
Logan Pass Visitor Center engulfed by snow, and certainly not ready for hordes of visitors that will soon
so completely inundate the area
that parking will be impossible for any who don’t arrive at the crack of dawn.


Park ranger responded quickly. An emergency helicopter soon flew in and took her to the hospital. We have no idea what the outcome might have been.

Certainly that was a very unfortunate incident, but other than that our day was glorious, and we later agreed that this is the best way to experience the park. By July, hordes of visitors have massed, and when that happens, numbers are so many that in recent years there has been no parking at Logan Pass.


———————————-


THIS TIME THREE  YEARS AGO:

Biking Going-to-the-Sun


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 »

Memorial Day — On a Personal Note

posted: May 29th, 2016 | by:Bert

Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial

©Bert Gildart: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND and Arlington National Cemetery is much on my mind as we honor our war heroes. I think about Washington D.C. and  Arlington because it is where several of my relatives are now buried.

Such memories become more significant as I get a little older and history takes on a new meaning; hence three years ago I attempted to locate (again) the grave of a family member buried in Arlington. At the time I was on a business trip, intending to learn more about our nation’s Capital Parks, and Arlington was one of them.

NIGHT CREATES AURA OF ETERNAL VIGILANCE

The newest of the memorials is the World War II Memorial, which honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., and the 400,000-plus who died in that war. It is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the “central axis” of the National Mall, and President Clinton dedicated the memorial site on Veterans Day 1995.

Night is a particularly good time to visit the WW II Memorial, for night lights and refracting ponds create an aura of eternal vigilance. Take a tripod if you want night photos, but you’ll need more if you want to walk within range of the Capitol building.

Because heightened security since 9/11 looks askance at long pointed objects, you’ll need a special permit, but if you ask a park policeman he or she will tell you how and where to obtain one.

 

Arlington must be visited during the day and finding my grandfather’s grave amidst the 290,000 servicemen (7,000 new graves each year) could have been a daunting task had it not been for the easily accessible computerized records. To locate a relative, all that’s required is a stop at the desk immediately to your right as you enter the Visitor Center. Then, they’ll want a little information.

FINDING A RELATIVE AT ARLINGTON

They’ll want to know your relative’s legal name and his or her date of death. Such information also entitles you to a special pass with a “numbered” address that will allow you to drive to your relative’s grave.


13570 13547 13551


Many of our Capitol Parks are dedicated to the memory our military heroes.

Though my grandfather’s site was more than a mile away I chose to walk, passing as I did by the grave of John F. Kennedy with its massive memorial and its eternal flame. I passed, too, the grave of Audie Murphy, our most decorated WWII soldier, and a man who later became a movie icon of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

I stopped by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the changing of the guard was in progress. The precision of their moves spoke of strength, coordination and infinite practice.

Two hours later, I arrived at my grandfather’s grave, who died in France shortly after Germany surrendered. He had survived the war only to die in 1919 from the pandemic flu, leaving behind two sons, age four and one. Though they were young, his death so impacted them that both chose military careers. In turn their lives affected me, and though I never followed my dad’s path, I remain in tune with much that is military.


Dad400

Dad approaching his 90th year wheeled himself to Trophy Point, West Point.  Both Janie’s parents and
my parents are buried at West Point.
A small portion of the library at the academy was dedicated to my father.

You and I may or may not agree with the policies of our administration, but that has little to do with the appreciation we should demonstrate for the sacrifices our brave soldiers made in the past and are making today. On a personal note, my father was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and he later fought at Guadalcanal. Little wonder, I suppose, Military Parks hold such fascination for me, and little wonder I suppose that I respect all Memorial Day has come to represent. My father and mother are buried at West Point, and so are Janie’s.

Today, if I were in D.C., I’d make another pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetery and lay flowers on my grandfather’s grave. But since I’m not, Janie and I will do as we do most Memorial Days: we’ll post a small flag and allow it to remind us of the 2,757,196 men and woman who have given their lives for America.


NOTE:  BEFORE CLOSING here are a few other links that pay homage to our veterans:  Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Memorial Day.


—————————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Shenandoah’s Deer & Bears

 

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 Parasitic Cowbird

posted: May 27th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Though not as beautiful as are many of the other species now attracted by our feeders, nevertheless, the bland-appearing cowbird is a species of great fascination, essentially because of a habit it developed from a long ago association with a most formidable  mammal.

BUT FIRST THE HABIT:

Cowbirds do not build nests, rather they parasitize the nests of others, and prolonged studies reveal cowbirds will lay eggs in the nests of at least 220 unsuspecting species. Further studies show that over 140 species of surrogate “parents” have raised young cowbirds.

So how did cowbirds pull off a trick like this? They accomplished the feat long ago learning from an association with the countless number of bison that pounded across the prairie. In those long ago times bison made annual peregrinations across the Great Plains of North America, and those herds numbered in the millions. As they migrated they stirred up insects and these bugs became an easy food source for any species that chanced to be in the area.


Cowbird-20

Parasitic cowbird, whose habits
acquired from association with herds of bison


COWBIRDS MOVED WITH THE BISON

Cowbirds were present,  but a problem existed for bison didn’t stay long in the same area. Rather, they moved, and when they did move, cowbirds lost access to their easy food source. The solution? To eat, cowbirds had to move with the bison but that meant they couldn’t build nests. Further, that meant that any eggs they did lay would be abandoned.

The solution was to parasitize the nests of other birds, leaving incubation and the feeding of young to all the hawks, finches, robins, warblers, and crossbills — birds who relied on other foods. Certainly not all these other species adopted the mottled eggs that cowbirds laid, but most were oblivious, meaning that populations of cowbirds thrived.

Today, cowbirds still eat easy-to-gather insects because cattle stir the bugs just like bison did a century ago. And, so, today, even though the vast herds have been killed off, cowbirds continued with the parasitic trait they learned so many years ago.



12873 BisonMigrate BisonSkull


Bison, insects and cowbirds all go together.  Once millions of  bison
stampeded across the prairies, and thankfully,
we still have a few remnant herds.  Bison skull, Badlands, N. Dakota is symbolic of vanquished herds.


BISON & BIRD:

Fascinating, and I thought the information so exciting that I wanted to pass it on. Of course, I would not have been able to offer this information if a cowbird had not landed on my feeder, prompting me to grab for my field guide and confirm identification. But then I noticed that the guide offered an extensive discussion about the relationship with bison and bird, which I believed interesting.

Hope you do too.


————————-

 

THIS TIME NINE YEARS AGO:

Learning to Roll a Kayak

 

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




 

Cowbirds were there, but there was a problem, for bison didn’t stay long in the same area. Rather, they moved, and when they did move, cowbirds lost access to their easy food source. The solution? To eat, cowbirds had to move with the bison but that meant they couldn’t build nests. Further, that meant that any eggs they did lay would be abandoned. They solution was to parasitize the nests of other birds, leaving incubation and the feeding of young to all the hawks, finches, robins, warblers, and crossbills, birds who relied on other foods. Certainly not all these other species adopted the mottled eggs cowbirds laid, but most were oblivious, meaning that populations of cowbirds thrived. Today, cowbirds still eat easy-to-gather insects because cattle stir the bugs just like bison did a century ago. And, so, today, even though the vast herds have been killed off, cowbirds continued with the parasitic trait they learned so many years ago.

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Egypt On My Mind

posted: May 20th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Recently I’ve been downsizing images currently in my stock photo files. It’s an emotional and challenging task as so many of these photographs have been published.

Others images simply remind me of personal histories. For instance, 30 years ago I was working monthly for Travel Holiday Magazine, which provided me with wonderful assignments that included a month in Egypt. (Every night while on the Nile, I had a bottle of Queen Nefertiti wine in my stateroom.) Editors at the magazine used these and other photographs from my submission to them.


Egypt5-2

As the man rode his donkey and towed his camel, he shouted out, “I’m John Wayne, 
I’m John Wayne.”  Then he asked for Baksheesh… baksheesh.


So, now, which images should I save? More to the point, do any of these images have any future commercial value — perhaps for some family or extended family member who might one day decide to major in journalism or in photo journalism? Vanity gets in the way here, coercing me to ignore what may be reality, but that’s OK, as hopefully ultimate disposition is at some distant date.

In the meantime, here are some images that recall such wonderful memories that I cannot include them in my discard pile.

Egypt5-3 Egypt5-5 Egypt5-1


L to R:  The man had stationed himself for early morning visitors, such as me; struggling Egyptian village; young children
have already learned the lingo and ran out to greet me, then asked for Baksheesh… baksheesh


TRAVEL COORDINATORS  CAUTIONED:

In the 1980s, officials cautioned that it was dangerous to embark on solo journeys.  But I was lots younger then, and perhaps a bit too self-assured, so I ventured out – and am glad I did, for I managed to capture the Pyramids of Giza at dawn. I managed to dramatize the setting with a camel rider just waiting for someone like me, and I knew what to expect. “Baksheesh… baksheesh (tip),” he smiled, holding out his hand.

Shortly thereafter another rider materialized. He had a long stick and he was “firing” it, saying “I’m John Wayne.” I tipped him, too.


Egypt5-4 Egypt5-6 BazaarCairo


L to R:  Hiking five miles between Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens; Napoleon shot
the nose off the Sphinx; day in a Bazaar at Luxor.


I also tipped others. For instance, I was advised not to hike the five miles across the desert between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens (burial site of Queen Nefertiti), for “it could be dangerous.” But I hiked the desert there anyway and met a delightful young man who later served me tea from his village home. There, in the small village I met young children living on the edge of poverty who had learned how to pose, and, of course, they too, had learned the lingo: “Baksheesh…baksheesh.” I didn’t mind the request and responded with the tip amount travel coordinators had suggested.

Because these images recall such wonderful memories, I’ll certainly keep these and a few dozen others. (Hundreds are now staring at me from a trash pile.) But I’m starting to realize that I’ll never scan all those other in-camera dupes and that I do need to downsize. It’s painful, but eventually it will have to be done. And it might as well be done now. Right??


————

 

 

This Time Last  Year:



A Few of Our Books:

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 »