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

Ghost Mountain — An Experiment In Living

posted: January 19th, 2015 | by:Bert

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

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


M-South (3 of 3)

Trail to Ghost Mountain is rough and rocky.

 

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

INFLEXIBLE NATURE

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

TRAGIC ENDINGS

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

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


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


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

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

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

EXPERIMENT’S LESSONS?

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

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

 

————-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Adventure of Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Christmas Greetings From Lake Mead

posted: December 21st, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


Bert&Janie B&Janie N-LightsCabin500


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

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

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

Acquarium-16 Harris'sHawk KarenJanie


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


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

LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

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


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

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

——


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Christmas Greeting from Bigfork Montana

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Lake Mead Waters — Where’d They All Go?

posted: December 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Water once lapped at shore where this photo taken.

 

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


StThomas (2 of 10)

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

 




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


——————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Historic Fort Davis


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Retracing Route of Death Valley’s 1849 Gold Seekers

posted: November 25th, 2014 | by:Bert

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


JeepTripDVNP-11

Approaching Mangle Pass

 


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

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


JeepTripDVNP-9 jeepTrip-12 JeepTripDVNP-10


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

DEATH VALLEY GOLD SEEKERS

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


JeepTripDVNP-13

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

 


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


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

 

—————–

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Indian Hill


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

 

 

 

 





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

posted: November 13th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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


SaltFlats-1

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

 


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

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

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


SaltFlats-3 Airstream-1 SaltFlats-9


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

WEATHER IN DEATH VALLEY:

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


———————


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Aftermath of Gettysburg Address

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Annual Encampment of Death Valley 49ers Another Success

posted: November 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

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


Encampment-42

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

 

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

CAPTAIN DOTY:

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

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

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

PLACES OF BEAUTY?

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



42500 Encampment-44 Don&LucyeChristiansen-1


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


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


———

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Indian Hills

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Texas Spring, No Generators

posted: November 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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

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


 

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

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


————————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Canyon Country

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Rear View/Front View…

posted: November 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

RearView-3 RearView-6


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

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

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

RearView-5

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



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

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

 

——————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Photographing Tarantulas

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




 

 

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Broken Airstream Window

posted: November 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

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

How did it happen?

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


AS-WindowDamage-2 AS-WindowDamage-1


Views of broken Airstream Window from inside and outside

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

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

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

———–


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Canyon Country


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 3 Comments »

West Point’s Historic Cemetery — where Our Parents Rest

posted: October 20th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Certainly one of the most significant stops Janie and I made during our three-week trip to the East Coast was the one we made this past Friday. Both Janie’s parents and my parents are buried at West Point, and we wanted to pay our respects. As well, we included in our walking tour an inspection of some of the graveyard’s old monuments for they preserve so much of our nation’s history.

We wanted to see where Janie lived between 1959 and 1961 when her father served as an Academy doctor and where I lived when my father served between 1946 and 1949 as a tact officer. My dad was also graduated from the Academy.



WestPoint-7

View of West Point from Stoney Lonesome Mountain

 

The graveyard overlooks the Hudson River and first served as a burial ground for soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Officially designated as the West Point cemetery in 1817, it has provided a beautiful resting ground for military men and women — some distinguished, some not so distinguished. Names include figures such as George Custer (not distinguished), General Norman Schwarzkopf, General Winfield Scott, General William Westmoreland, and Master Sergeant “Marty” Maher. Maher was portrayed as a central character in the film “The Long Gray Line,” and appropriately so, for he was the academy’s swimming coach and was considered in the movie as a voice of reason. He taught military dependents how to swim and in 1948 taught me how to do the breast stroke.


WestPoint-1 WestPoint-12 WestPoint-10


Janie places flowers on parent’s grave; marker for my parents (Mom 1914 t0 1999); site of famous author and, not so incidentally, her historic home is now a museum about West Point.

 

The cemetery includes Medal of Honor winners, and a few men and women whose history complemented West Point history, such as Anna B. Warner, who wrote the children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.” She became a well-known novelist of the times, but germane is the fact that her former family home is now a museum located on Academy grounds.

The Academy, of course, is not for everyone, and seven years ago I posted a blog about the Military Academy and tried to explain its suitability. Five Gildarts (three generations) attended West Point and it was just assumed I would try and enroll.


WestPoint-4 WestPoint-2 WestPoint-5


First Medal of Honor given during Civil War; side panel of Custer Obelisk who was reinterred after his Little Bighorn debacle; grave stone of William Westmoreland.

 

I posted images of the Custer obelisk and of the football which serves as the headstone for the famous coach Earl Blake. In short, our visit brought back many memories and we were lucky to have had an absolutely gorgeous day to visit our parents’ graves and refresh our memories of some of our nation’s history.


—————


THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Dramatizing Desert Heat With Photographs


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 »

Sandy Hook National Seashore Preserves My Wife’s Old Home

posted: October 15th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Great Meadows, New Jersey, where we are visiting family, we are not far from a relatively new national park which combines natural history with military history.   Sandy Hook National Historic Park includes old Fort Hancock, which in turn preserves a row of homes that served as the quarters for army officers.

Between 1958 and 1959, Janie’s dad was a military doctor who served at the old post and lived there with his family, which means Janie lived in a house that is now part of the history of Sandy Hook National Seashore.


SandyHook-2

Janie standing in front of her old home

 

We toured the old fort and national seashore with Janie’s son and his family and, of course, our explorations brought back many memories. Janie remembers driving the old peninsula flanked by a bay on one side and by the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Today, the park is also renowned for its beauty, which includes several sweeping vistas of the New York skyline. As part of the skyline view one can see the new Freedom Tower, which has replaced the two Twin Towers. (You can see it if you click the image and look closely.)

SandyHook-11 SandyHook-3 SandyHook-5


L to R:  Nike Missiles located but a short walk from Janie’s old home at Fort Hancock. Parade grounds formed her backyard.  Fort Hancock Lighthouse, nation’s oldest.  Seashore is a biker’s mecca. 

 

From the park’s broad sandy seashore, which one encounters after driving or biking through the park entrance, the park road soon progresses on to old Fort Hancock and, of course, we had to stop by Janie’s old home and hike the parade grounds which formed part of her back yard. (Two of the images show the officer’s row of homes and her’s was number 13.)

From the porch on her old home, she could see Raritan Bay, but when she ventured from her home she knew that a short walk would take her to several Nike Missiles, used to protect New York City. A short walk in another direction offered her the opportunity to examine old bunkers used to house canons. And in yet another direction a short hike would place her at the base of a light house, said to be the nation’s oldest.


SandyHook-1

Jane Gildart back dropped by New York skyline and the new Freedom Tower -- as seen from Sandy Hook National Seashore..

 

The day could not have been more beautiful providing the deep blue skies which backdrop several of the images I’ve included here.


————————-

THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Cow “Girl” Poetry

 

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 »

Celebrating the Macabre

posted: October 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: I doubt if there’s any place in North America that celebrates Halloween with more showiness then do the six states that embrace the region defined as New England.  To carry this thought one step further it might be argued that Sturbridge, Massachusetts, leads the pack with several of its very flamboyant displays.  Here, then, are several images from this relatively small town along with my thoughts on each of the four photographs.


Sturbridge-32

celebrating the macabre

 

Historically, Halloween began about the mid-1700s and was considered to be a time when witches communicated with the dead through various forms of divination. In commemoration of this day, which now has a great celebratory component, each fall the town’s “Public House” offers prizes to the creation that symbolizes the best (more or less) of the occult.

One of my images then shows entries on the lawn of the Sturbridge “Public House.” Another shows daughter Karen and Mother Janie absolutely mortified by their proximity to the evil appearing pumpkin that sports tentacles, while yet another offers an assortment of a strange being crowned in one case by a skull graced with tendrils of green.


Sturbridge-38 Sturbridge-33 Public House-1

L to R: Mother and daughter caught expressing their feeling of absolute terror; figures communing with other spirits on lawn of Public House; skull adorned with tendrils of green engulfed by other strange spirits — all part of the celebratory nature of Halloween in New England, in this case Sturbridge, Massachusetts.


Finally, another image shows the caricature of a man creating a pumpkin watched over by several evil-appearing black ravens.  That’s my favorite.

But you may also want to see how other parts of the country celebrate the macabre, and if so then CLICK — and that will take you on a graveyard walk that we enjoyed several years ago in Nova Scotia.  It was incredible!

THIS TIME ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO:

Grand Pre, 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 »

“We Shall Never Forget…”

posted: September 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The sign in back of Jim Marshall and Sheldon Wickersham, two Creston, Montana, firefighters, summarizes the feeling of virtually all Americans.  “We Shall Never Forget Our Brothers.”

The display created by men and women of this volunteer firefighting department has been a ritual here in this tiny settlement since the year 2002.  Every year now for the past 13 years members of the Creston Fire Department stand throughout the day symbolizing a time when virtually all Americans suffered and came together.


CrestonFirefighters3 CrestonFirefighters CrestonFirefighters2


Creston Firefighters L to R:  Jim Marshall, Sheldon Wichersham


All of us know exactly where we were that day in 2001 and can tell you what we were doing. In our case, friends from Texas had just climbed Chief Mountain in Glacier National Park and they were staying with us.  Janie was watching TV and when she saw the jet planes fly into the World Trade Center she ran downstairs where our friends were sleeping and told them they’d better get upstairs to see the TV.  One of our friends, David Bristol, looked at her and said, “Janie, we’re at war.”

Janie and I also remember that in 1991, we honey mooned at the World Trade Center.

I realize that other towns throughout America are also recalling this day of infamy, but we are immensely proud and pleased that the tiny settlement in which we live is making such a grand presentation throughout the day.

They’re right, “We Shall Never Forget…”


————–

 

THIS TIME SEPTEMBER 11, 2008:

Creston Firefighter

 

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 »

Siskins Mostly Gone But Grosbeaks Still Around

posted: September 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: For a while we had dozens of Pine Siskins showing up at our feeder most every day.  Now, about the only consistent species attracted to our feeder is a family of Grosbeaks.  This morning the lighting conditions were fairly good, so I couldn’t resist the temptation to improve my Grosbeak files.

grosbeak (11 of 5) grosbeak (14 of 5) grosbeak (12 of 5)


My stock photo files number in the hundreds of thousands, and we makes sales monthly to a number of outlets.  Such work has kept me busy for over 40 years, and I plan to continue for as long as I can depress a shutter.  Rewards have been many, and as usual, we have plans for some extensive trips starting this fall.


————–

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

America the Beautiful.  But You Cannot See it Because it is Shut Down

http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2013/10/06/america-the-beautiful-but-you-cannot-see-it-its-shut-down


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











©Bert Gildart: For a while we had dozens of Pine Siskins showing up at our feeder most every day. Now, about the only consistent species attracted to our feeder is a family of Grosbeaks. This morning the lighting conditions were fairly good, so I couldn’t resist the temptation to improve my Grosbeak files.

My stock photo files number in the hundreds of thousands, and we makes sales monthly to a number of outlets. Such work has kept me busy for over 40 years, and I plan to continue for as long as I can depress a shutter. Rewards have been many, and as usual, we have plans for some extensive trips starting this fall.

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Organic Act of the NPS. Has The Agency Fulfilled Its Mandate?

posted: September 3rd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  The most recent issue of Airstream Life contains my story about national parks.  Essentially, my story posed a question that asks whether the NPS has maintained the goals posed by their Organic Act.


13130

Kayaking to Apostle Islands

 


The goals are lofty and state that the objective of the organization’s 400-plus parks is “….to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

It’s appropriate to ask such as question at this time as the Service is gearing up for its centennial which will occur on August 25, 2016.  In anticipation of that celebration many will recall that on the 25th of this past August entry fees to our all of our national parks were waved.

13128 W-house Chacco 162


To help answer the question in Airstream Life the story reviewed a number of policies the NPS has attempted to implement, to include its grizzly bear management program and its attempts to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone. As well, I discussed the difficulty of handling illegal immigration in Organ Pipe and the problems some visitors have created when they release snakes foreign to the ecosystem.  Obviously all these actions directly affect the intent of the Organic Act.

PARK ADVENTURES

As well, I described the enjoyment offered in our national parks by describing some of the wonderful adventures parks offer such as backpacking, kayaking, biking and the opportunity to appreciate and learn about nature.  Finally, I attempted to celebrate some of the types of features that parks preserve such as our antiquities.


41190

Tragedies of the '60s necessitated creation of a Bear Management Program, mandated by the NPS Organic Act

 


These are the types of subjects I’ve written about over the years for dozens of magazines.  I am particularly pleased, however, that for the past 10 years (since the inception of Airstream Life) that I have contributed stories and photographs to every single issue.

AIRSTREAM LIFE READERS

The magazine is a glossy magazine and it is well laid out.  Obviously it is directed toward a specific audience, but of importance to me is that so many of the magazine’s readers are dedicated to the important objective the NPS has attempted to achieve.  It’s obvious the agency is working hard to fulfill the mandates of its Organic Act, and that it wants you to benefit from its manifold accomplishments.  In truth, these parks are so significant that the beauty and the heritage they preserve may help preserve and stimulate mankind.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Memories Through the Yearshttp://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2013/09/10/memorable-adventures



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 »

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




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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 I met Mr. Linger 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, and 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 her 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







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“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




 




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“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 »