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

Duck Lake Grizzly Bears

posted: July 24th, 2014 | by:Bert

THIS IS MY FIRST BLOG POSTING IN OVER SIX WEEKS, ESSENTIALLY BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN HAVING TROUBLE WITH FLICKR.  I HAVE, HOWEVER, BEEN POSTING ON FACEBOOK.  BECAUSE BLOG POSTINGS REACH A DIFFERENT GROUP AND BECAUSE I USE MY BLOGS FOR REFERENCE, I’LL SUBSEQUENTLY BE POSTING HERE SOME OF MY FACEBOOK ENTRIES FROM THIS PAST MONTH.  THE POSTING BELOW COMES FROM ADVENTURES OF THIS PAST WEEKEND AT DUCK LAKE LOCATED  JUST EAST OF MONTANA’S GLACIER NATIONAL PARK.


©Bert Gildart:  Highlight for me this past weekend was seeing a sow grizzly and her two very-near-adult cubs on an open expanse of prairie near Duck Lake, which is located just east of Montana’s Glacier National Park.


Cattle At Base of Chief Mountain


Fritz and Ami had invited Janie and me to spend the weekend with them in their guest cabin, adjacent to their log home.  I’ve known Fritz since reporting for my first job in Glacier shortly after graduating from high school.

While at the cabin Fritz asked me if I wanted to patrol some of his pasture land and check the integrity of the fence line.  The offer was hard to pass up as the prairie was near the height of its flowering beauty, and it was all backed by the east slope of the Rocky Mountains to include Chief Mountain, which I’ve climbed several times.  As we topped a hill on Fritz’s four-wheeler we saw our three grizzlies ambling toward a grove of aspens.  They were about 100 yards away.



DuckLake-6 DuckLake-5 DuckLake-7

 

L to R:  Chief Mountain backdrops blanket flower and sticky geranium; Chief Mountain backdrops a variety of prairie
flowers; Fritz and Amy and their prairie log home.

The wind was blowing hard from them to us and Fritz stopped the four-wheeler.  We climbed off and marveled at their size and power, watching until they finally sauntered off and disappeared into the woods.  Bears have poor eye sight and we questioned whether they even saw us.

Our sighting topped a weekend of admiring flowers, photographing Chief Mountain, hiking and playing cribbage in the evening.  It is hard to envision a more perfect weekend.

———–

 

Books That May add to your travel pleasures


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 »

Raccoon At Our Feeder

posted: June 10th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We were absolutely amazed late yesterday afternoon when a rather large raccoon shinnied up the Douglas fir tree that leads to our porch — and sometimes to our bird feeder.

It was broad daylight, the TV news was blaring through the screen door, and we had just taken down the feeder because we know that at night, if we leave it out, our friendly masked bandit will pounce at the opportunity and possibly do irreparable damage.


Racoon-2

Raccoon at our feeder in broad daylight

 

We watched the coon for a few minutes as it searched the porch, then tapped against the window. Casually, it looked up, munched a few of the seeds finches, chickadees and grosbeaks had spilled onto the deck, and then slowed padded off.

So now we know our raccoon is still lurking around, and if we leave for the day, we need to bring the feeder inside.


———–

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Biking to Glacier’s Logan Pass

 

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 »

Why the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale Works So Well

posted: May 19th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Like most other rodeos, The Miles City Bucking Horse Sale makes every attempt to run smooth and be colorful.  To do so, men have specific functions and the horses have names and qualities that make them more colorful and more appropriate to the sport.

In the horse department, most of the horses are bred to produce rugged characteristics, and arrive with names such as “Friendly Fire,” “Bragging Rights,” “Lunatic Fringe,” “EZ Money,” and “Smokey Lonesome.”  Yet another, “Silly Sam” has a 100 percent buck-off rate in 2014 at rodeos in Denver, Rapid City and Clovis.  All are noted for their ability to kick high and to twist and turn.  Danny Halverson, one of the judges, told me that “drop,” was another important feature.   “A horse springs into the air with all four feet off the ground and then,” he said, “it drops.  That can unseat some of the very best cowboys.”

MCBHS-15

Jesse Bail, one of the nation's top rodeo riders -- ready for his "Pickup Man."

 

Obviously riders are important and the MCBHS attracts some of the nation’s best cowboys, to include Jesse Bail, who has won close to 2M dollars in his 15-year rodeo career.  Other top names – and their final scores in last night’s final, include Andy Clarys, 85.50; Jake Costello, 84; Jeff Willert, 82.50; Max Filippini, 80.00.

Pickup men serve the very vital job of getting a cowboy off his horse –safely.  To rank, a cowboy must stay on his horse for eight seconds, and getting a rider off that horse requires incredible riding skills.  In one of the pictures you’ll see a pickup man trying to position himself behind Jesse Bail following that man’s successful ride.

Yet another man who serves a vital role is the Chute Man, and Ty Linger, who is pictured here in a vest, is a third generation Chute Man, and, here, for me,  there is an interesting though personal story.  Sonny Linger, Ty’s grandfather,  was also a Chute Man, and Janie and Mr. Linger him about five years ago in Big Bend National Park.  Ironically, he was camped next to us in the most incredible 34-foot Airstream we’ve ever seen.  It had several slideouts and the interior was posh.


MCBHS-14 MCBHS-10 MCBHS-12


Unfortunately, Sonny passed away several years ago, but he passed the trailer on to family members who were also Airstream enthusiasts.

Certainly family members miss the man, but so does the rodeo world.  Nevertheless, his grandson, Ty, has  mastered the skills to be a top Chute Man.  As such he is required to help load the horses into the holding pen, seat riders, and generally determines when horse and rider are ready to enter the arena.  “He’s the boss,” said Roxanne Harding, a Miles City bucking horse enthusiasts who has lived on a ranch all of life.


Bull Riders-1

The Miles Horse Bucking Sale opened Thursday night with a wildhorse saddling and riding contest


So here are a few images depicting the folks described above. Sadly, the MCBHS ended last night, and we’ll soon be heading home.  It’s been great!


——-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Zion National Park on Our Anniversary


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 »

“Americans are Feeling the Impact”

posted: May 7th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  This past month we were driving Interstate 86 near Pocatello, Idaho, and here is the setting that caught our attention, for it dominated the landscape.

Posting the photograph seems timely, for yesterday, May 6th, 2014, the nation’s top climate scientists released a report saying that Americans are feeling the impact of climate change in every region of the nation.


IdahoPollution-3

Image that greeted us near Pocatello, Idaho


I’m sure many have by now seen the report on TV, and because the scientific report was created by the same types of men and women who got us to the moon, reduced polio, discovered the chip, developed heart transplants — and created life-saving vaccines — I’m inclined to believe them.  Really, what motive would they have to lie?

This image is not an isolated one, for we see such sights often as we travel the nation, so we have to wonder: “Where is all this smog, smoke and particulate matter going?”  And, “what effect does it have on our climate?”

In various ways, Mitt Romney and John McCain have also asked this question, so I believe I am on solid ground.  But no matter, I’m concerned because it appears as though global warming is starting to impact some of the areas that have been impacted my life, specifically, our national parks.  As well, I feel sorry for the people in drought-ridden areas, now contending with the ravages created by drought and subsequent fire.  And that, say global scientists could be mitigated with life-style changes.


————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME:

*Montana Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

 

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 »

“Happy Hippo” Prepares Us For Brewery Tour

posted: May 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Last week Janie and I attended a writer’s convention in Polson, Montana, and though much of it (previously described) was spent attending seminars on writing, photography and current events that pertained to our local environment, part of the time was also spent touring area attractions.


ChickenDance-1

Chicken Dance aboard the Happy Hippo

 

Polson has lots of attractions and several are shown here.  Bob Ricketts, at Three Dog Down, provided us with various types of entertainment to include songs at one of our dinners and a boat ride on his “Happy Hippo.”  Ricketts insisted that we all do the “Chicken Dance.” He said if we didn’t participate, we’d be “dowsed with a spray of water.”

Our hour-long tour on Flathead Lake was back dropped by the Rocky Mountains, and as you can tell, we all had fun.  The dance primed us for the afternoon’s next attraction.

Shortly after the Chicken Dance we unloaded and visited a local micro brewery,  which makes a number of excellent brands to include a Golden Grizzly Ale.  I wanted to show this Montana enterprise that I appreciated their work, and to do so felt had had to “sample” several bottles of the excellent brands which they produce.  I was thorough — so as not to insult.

NOWA-Conference-1 Polson-11 NOWA-Conference-10

 

L to R: Retired opera singer Bob Ricketts now owns Three Dog Down and the Happy Hippo, an amphibious craft he uses to show off the area’s spectacular landscape.  Brewery employees were engaging and encouraged Janie and me to sample their products.  I was partial to a “Golden Grizzly Ale” and worked hard to show a “thorough” appreciation.


Yet another benefit of attending the Outdoor Writer’s Convention was to pick up story assignments and I am delighted to report that next week Janie and I will be attending the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. Over the years the rodeo has become an international attraction and photographers with assignments are allowed into the arena.

In about two weeks, expect to see lots of up close and personal images of cowboys and quality bucking horses.  But you’ll certainly be seeing more from us before then.  Please stay tuned.


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Travel in Zion National Park, Capped By our Anniversary

 

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 »

Glacier and the Absolute Joy of Early Season Biking

posted: May 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Winter is slowly releasing its hold on Glacier National Park, as prevailing conditions reveal.  Park plows have cleared a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road; bears are beginning to emerge from hibernation, and with warming temperatures creeks are beginning to rise.

For those of us who enjoy cycling, it means that during the week we can now bike about 10 miles (20 miles round trip) along the famous road.  However, on the weekend, when snowplows are not running, you can bike as far as road conditions allow; and right now that’s about another ten miles.  In another week or two, the road may be open for cyclists all the way to Logan Pass.

Biking-GTS-8

Cycling through an avalanche slide in GNP

 

Yesterday, the decision whether to wait for the weekend or ride Thursday, was an easy one. This weekend it is again supposed to turn wintery, but yesterday, skies were blue and temperature soared into the high 60s. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the features we saw were interesting enough.

This past winter huge avalanches had roared down the sides of Mount Cannon, Mount Brown and Mount Vaught and the devastation had been dramatic.  Trees had been snapped just as though they were matchsticks, and boulders had careened down mountain slopes.  Bill Hutchinson (a former Glacier ranger) and I could see the results shortly after we passed the turn off to the park’s Avalanche Campground.

Biking-GTS-4 Biking-GTS-5 Biking-GTS-6


ALL IMAGES IMAGES CREATED THURSDAY MAY 1ST.

L to R:  Early morning reflections on Lake McDonald; Bill Hutchinson  stops to examine small avalanche; visiting with patrol ranger,who along with a few road crew trucks is all that will be allowed on Going-to-the-Sun Road.  This creates ideal conditions for cyclists.

Because the road is closed to the vehicular traffic, essentially bikers have the road to themselves, and that further helped to create a particularly enjoyable day.  And that is  just the way it will remain until park managers are satisfied there will be no more snow slides, which could create a logistical nightmare  for motorists. If a slide suddenly barred a motorists from his return route, it could result in a very uncomfortable situation.

Last year Going to the Sun Road remained closed until mid-June, but this year, because of the immensity of the snowpack it could remain closed even longer, and for many of us shout “Hurrah.”

For those of us who enjoy seeing Glacier when it is unfettered by the several million summer cars that now pass over the road after it is opened, early season cycling is the way to go.


—————


ABOUT THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Mountains of Snow Mantle GNP


HERE ARE SOME BOOKS THAT MAY ENHANCE YOUR TRAVELS:


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 »

A Most Prestigous Outdoor Writer’s Award

posted: April 29th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: When Milt Keiser, a longtime member of the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA), announced the year’s winner of the organization’s prestigious Enos Bradner award, Chuck Robbins was genuinely astounded.  But he shouldn’t have been.

For the past year, Chuck has struggled to make the organization’s newsletter the very best it can be.  Over the years, he has written several books and been published in many of the nation’s most prestigious outdoor magazines; and though he was an obvious candidate to many, still this calm and deliberate man was caught off guard.

Setting for the award was the Kwataqnuk Resort which overlooks the beautiful Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana, and the time was this past Saturday night at the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association’s Awards banquet.  It was the culmination of a four-day conference, consisting of seminars, alerts by “news makers,” and finally, awards for various journalistic achievements.

BigholeBrookTrout-4

Too beautiful to keep

 

But the top award was the Enos Bradner award, and for yet more reasons, it would be hard to imagine a more deserving candidate.

Chuck’s understanding of the outdoors is more than just academic.  He brings years of knowledge about the outdoors to the NOWA organization having worked first as a guide in Pennsylvania where clients included Jimmy Carter and Dick Cheney.

About 15 years ago, Chuck and his wife Gale moved to Dillon, Montana, where the man continued his work, guiding on Montana’s fabled Big Hole River. Today, Chuck has clients from countries such as Japan and from most every state in the union. In other words, Chuck Robbins must know about the outdoors in a way that satisfies a broad-based clientele.  Little wonder, Milt Keiser, himself a recipient, passed the baton on to Robbins.

The Enos Bradner award recipient is chosen by the three most recent, past chairmen of the NOWA Board of Directors. Criteria for selection includes long time outstanding support of NOWA and upholding the high professional standards of outdoor journalism practiced by Enos Bradner. Bradner was outdoor editor of the Seattle Times for 26 years serving between 1943 and 1969. He was also a founding father of NOWA.  He died in January of 1984, leaving a legacy that demands high standards, such as those personified by Chuck Robbins.

BigHoleChuckRobbin BigHoleChuckRobbins-2 BigholeBrookTrout-4


L to R:  Chuck positioning himself in Big Hole to optimize fishing success; “biggest brookie I’ve ever
caught in Montana; too beautiful to keep.

For a number of years I’ve had the good fortune to tag along with Chuck and remember an anecdote that summarizes Chuck’s attitude about the sport he loves so much.  Several years ago I was with Chuck when he caught what he believed was one of the river’s largest Brook trout.  For a few moments we admired the fish, noting the beautiful patterns of white dots all back dropped by a light greenish coloration.

I thought Chuck might have the fish mounted, but he said it was too beautiful to keep, and so he released it. We watched as the fish reestablished itself, and then suddenly, with a vicious flick of its tail, reentered the swift waters of the Big Hole.

With a look of satisfaction that was almost akin to that of an evangelist, he smiled.  “Someday,” he said, “we might just catch that ole Brookie again.”


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Seals or People, Which Should it Be?

 

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 »

Making a Prize Winning Photo

posted: April 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

41040

Making A Prize Winning Photo requires much work

©Bert Gildart: Several years ago I won the first place award in the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA) photo contest.  As I mentioned in my last posting, NOWA is an organization of writers, photographers and editors who want to sell – or buy — stories and photographs.

The contest includes several categories and a contestant must win in several of the categories to place first for the contest, which I did.

Categories are varied and one included “outdoor activities,” in this case kayaking.  The attached photo may look as though it was easy to make, but it wasn’t.  In other words, it was much more than a simple “snap.”

I was lucky to have Janie, a first-rate kayak paddler/model who worked for over an hour to help me get all the “elements” artistically aligned.

Composition wise, the kayaks had to be angled properly and then pointed in the right direction – the mountains in Glacier National Park.  There had to be some separation as well between the two kayaks. Then Janie had to dip her paddle at just the right moment, and the outside blade had to be angled just right but still held high.   There had to be the right balance between my kayak and her kayak.  And Janie’s kayak had to be in focus, not mine.

At any rate, it all conspired to work well creating a picture that not only won first place but an image that has sold to a number of different publications.

The NOWA convention is an annual affair and will be held this week from Wednesday to Sunday, and I will be one of the judges in the photo contest, so obviously won’t be participating in the “shoot out.”  The city of Polson is hosting our convention and they have planned an interesting agenda for us.  There’s lots to see and Janie, who is also a member, and I are both looking forward to a week of seminars, tours and, of course, seeing folks from all over the Northwest.  In the past, attending NOWA conventions has taken us to several Canadian provinces and to all the states in the Northwest.  We’ve been doing this a long time.

And, now, least I forget, happy Earth Day.  It was established in 1970 by the Nixon administration, an administration which also passed the Clean Water Act.  Politics are a bit different today, for today environmental concerns are not so popular among many Republicans.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

*California Condor

 

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 »

Springtime on Wildhorse Island Means Blanket of Flowers

posted: April 18th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

53020

Arrowleaf Balsam Root on Wildhorse Island

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

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

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

ARROWLEAF WILL BE AT ITS PEAK

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

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

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

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

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


——————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO


*In Beauty We Walked


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Travels Inspire More Travel

posted: April 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


ValleyOfFire-1

Lone figure helps inspire inspiration from The Wave

 

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

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

Same holds true for us.


—————–

 

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*San Diego Wildlife

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

The Atlatl and the good Karma of Petroglyphs

posted: April 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

ValleyOfFire-16

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

 

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

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


ValleyOfFire-9 ValleyOfFire-10 ValleyOfFire-7

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

 

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

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

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

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


ValleyOfFire-14

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

 

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


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

*Photo Ecstasy

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still

posted: April 1st, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


ValleyOfFire-28

The Wave, where time stood still

 

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

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

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

 

——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Black Crowned Night Heron

 

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Day In the Life of A Gila Woodpecker

posted: March 26th, 2014 | by:Bert

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


GilaWoodpecker-30

Gila woodpecker feeding (or pollinating) Ocotillo

 

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

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

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


GilaWoodpecker-15 GilaWoodpecker-9 GilaWoodpecker-24


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


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

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

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


——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Ocotillo Cacti

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Significant Organ Pipe National Monument Reopening

posted: March 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


DrippingSprings-3

One of many small caves near Dripping Springs

 


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

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

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


DrippingSprings-8 WaterTanks DrippingSprings-6


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

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

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

Have not talked to anyone who would disagree.


——————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

*Are Birds Political Creatures?  You Bet

 

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Whimsical Travels — to Optmize Photography

posted: March 19th, 2014 | by:Bert


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


FanPalms-10

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

 

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

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



FanPalms-9 FanPalms-5 FanPalms-2

 

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


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


Organ Pipe-7 Ocotillo Organ Pipe-2


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

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


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nest Needed to Survive

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

See You

posted: March 14th, 2014 | by:Bert

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


Janie

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


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

CactusWren BarnOwl PrairieFalcon


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

 

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

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


—————-

*AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:

Year of the Dragon

 

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

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Tony Feather Performance Will Benefit Borrego Children

posted: March 5th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

TonyFeather-3

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

 

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

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

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

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

*Cacti and Macro Photography

—————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:

 

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




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

posted: March 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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

FreeFlight-2

About to be "brushed by a feather."

 

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


FreeFlight-1

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

 

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

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

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


—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:


*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nests Needed to Survive


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | Post a Comment »

The Magnificence of Birds in Flight

posted: March 3rd, 2014 | by:Bert


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

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


SonoranMuseum-19

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

 

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

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

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


SonoranMuseum-18 SonoranMuseum-17 SonoranMuseum-14


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

 

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

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

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

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


SonoranMuseum-5

Grace of the Great horned owl in flight

 

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

But what’s happened to our Red Tail Hawk?

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

Another wonderful day at the Sonoran Desert Museum.


—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR

*Salton Sea


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

 

 



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Rain In Tucson

posted: March 1st, 2014 | by:Bert


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

Rainbow-2

Rainbow at end rain preceded by long overdue rains


 

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

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