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

Magnificent Experiment or Simply Forerunners of the Hippies?

Rocky Trail to Yaquitepec

Rocky Trail to Yaquitepec

©Bert Gildart: The desert has always attracted unusual characters, but perhaps the strangest of all were Marshall and Tanya South.

South lived at the end of the steep, rocky trail Janie and I were now climbing, and when we reached it, we hoped to find the abandoned ruins of a weathered homestead that has come to represent one of the most remarkable lifestyle experiments America has known.

Viewed in these contemporary fast-paced times some would call the Souths and their three children forerunners of the Hippy movement. But the Souths were different, they were searching for a way of life that would allow them to work as writers, poets and artists, and do so without relying on handouts. More significantly, they simply loved nature and for 16 years (between 1930-1946) they lived here, attempting to make their style of life work for them.

The South’s almost succeeded and under slightly different circumstances their way might have worked. Janie and I, who had once lived in a 20×24 size cabin in the Arctic, both believed we could understand–at least in part–their motives.

We hiked on, awed by yet another magnificent desert scene…


Fifty years ago, had Janie and I been hiking this trail, we would have encountered before reaching the old homestead a sign that read as followed:

This is Yaquitepec-Our Home
And in Accordance With the Ideals Of Peace,
Sunshine, Health, Simplicity, Bodily Freedom
And The Simple Faith In The Great Spirit
For Which This Desert Mountain Retreat
Was Established
If you Cannot Accept And Conform To,
In Clean-minded Simplicity,
The Natural Condition Of Life,
We Ask In All Friendship,
That You Come No Further,
But Return By The Path You Came.
Be With You Always

Marshal & Tanya South

As Janie and I proceeded toward the mountain’s crest, we half expected to see such a sign, but nothing barred our way–and we continued on, passing through magnificent boulder fields, cresting to overlooks that gazed over some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.


We were engulfed by the Carizzo Badlands, as well as the Vallecito, In-Ko-Pah and the Laguna Mountains–all nestled in the shadow of Ghost Mountain, the actual peak on which they lived.

View from Ghost Mountain

View from Ghost Mountain

Why in the shadow of such overwhelming beauty where Marshal and Tanya produced countless numbers of magazines articles and well received novels did the couple ultimately fail? Those are concerns we wanted to learn more about, but are thoughts we’ll defer for another day or two, giving us time for yet further reflection.

Janie and I hiked on anxious to see what Yaquitepec, the old homestead, might reveal.



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

4 Responses to “Magnificent Experiment or Simply Forerunners of the Hippies?”

  1. Karen Says:

    Well, I’ll tell you why they failed, and I will enlist Mark Twain for help. Mr. Twain, in all his brilliance, once observed: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have had little or no influence in society.”
    Now I am going to sit and pray that your next entry includes NOTHING about you two deciding to strip down for “further reflection.” Good gracious.
    Hope all is well- maybe we can talk this weekend after the Giants beat the snot out of the Patriots.

  2. Rich Luhr Says:

    “we half expected to see such a sign, but nothing bared our way–” … surely you meant “barred”? Or is your inner nudist coming out?

    For an answer to the questions you have about why the experiment didn’t work, you can read the introduction to “Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles” available through a few bookstores and online (free) at http://books.google.com/

  3. Bert Gildart Says:

    Rich, possibly a little of the latter, but the correction noted with our thanks. Now, tune in tomorrow and you’ll see we carried the tome you’ve recommended with us to Yaquitepec, where we used it to help form some of our own conclusions.

  4. Nude Beach Says:

    Nudism is all about being satisfied with your own overall body and the body of others. Many individuals think it is something sexual or perverted, that is just not the case. There’s nothing quite as good as the feeling of the air on your skin as well as not needing to stress about what you are going to dress yourself in.