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

Modern-day Peg-leggers; That’s Us

©Bert Gildart: After a long drive from Death Valley we are back at Anza Borrego State Park in California, staying at the park’s Peg Leg campground. Those of you who followed our blog last year will recall that this is a land of great characters. One was Marshall South, another Peg Leg. While here, we hope to hike back to Ghost Mountain, perhaps with Larry and Bill, two men fascinated with history. In fact, Bill posts a blog about his use of the Airstream travel trailer and his interest in history.


Somewhere between Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego Desert State Park

At the moment we’ve located at Peg Leg Campground, and there is a marker nearby stipulating that if we are here hoping to find Peg Leg’s gold mine then we must add ten rocks to a pile that has been growing for several decades. In fact, it is now so large it would probably engulf our Airstream.

According my research the tradition began in 1949 when “Desert Steve” built a monument to Peg Leg by piling up stones. Not far from our trailer is a sign that asks that those who are seeing Peg Leg’s gold add 10 stones to this monument.” Well, let it be known that since our arrival the pile is now appropriately higher.

Folks who search for Peg Leg’s gold are actually searching for a mine said to have been discovered by Thomas Smith who later “salted” the desert with a peg leg to enhance the legend of a peg-legged man searching for gold.


Reading from Peg Leg Log

Thomas Smith, a.k.a. as Peg Leg, lived from 1801 to 1866. He was a spinner of tall tales and yet the marker, this time an historic marker, says that his gold mine could actually be “within a few miles of the monument.” What that means, of course, is that Janie and I and our companions now camped with us, might actually have to spend time looking for the mine.


There’s yet another reason to hang around and search for gold. Each year come April Fools Day, any and all are welcome to gather at the Peg Leg Campground to compete in the Peg Leg Liars Contest. Sign up is on arrival at the contest site, which is held at the Peg Leg Smith memorial, about seven miles east of Borrego Springs on Route S-22. Presentations are done in order of sign up, and should be of no more than five minutes in length.” Other rules specify that they should be “about lost gold and/or Peg Leg Smith… and can’t contain anything which an intelligent person might mistake for the truth.”


"Let he who searches for Peg Leg's mine add ten rocks."

With those kinds of guidelines Janie and I might just hang around. At any rate, we’re here for awhile, and plan a number of things for our stay. We want to search for the endangered desert bighorn sheep, see once again the incredible badlands, and see friends made previously, such as Steve and Linda. As well, we want to learn more about yet other characters, most notably Marshall South. Since departing this park last spring, my interest in their extremely “basic” mode of living has only grown. Click here from my posting made about this time last year, and you will come to understand why this is so. What we’re really saying, is that if we can’t be throwbacks to modern-day hippies, at least we can still be peg-leggers.


The Anza Expedition

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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