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

Civil War Gravesites Along the Natchez Trace

©Bert Gildart: It’s mid-April and as we continue our travels along the Natchez Trace we are overwhelmed by the splashes of dogwood now blooming. It’s everywhere, and the continuous glow of white makes driving a genuine pleasure rather than a chore. The 50-mile per hour speed zone posted along the entire Trace adds to the relaxed pace of travel, for most seem to obey the mandate.


Dogwoods backdrop Airstream along Natchez Trace

The many pullovers also facilitate driving ease and all are worth a stop. Consider the stop at Mile 268, created to commemorate 13 Confederate soldiers who mysteriously died along the Trace. How did they die? asks a sign posted by the Park Service along a portion of the Old Trace located near the first of the markers commemorating the unknown soldiers. Then, they sign provides thoughts about the mystery that will probably always remain a mystery.

Were they some of the wounded from Shiloh, who retreated here in 1862? Did they serve under the daring Nathan Forest who passed this way in 1864? Or where they guarding the headquarters at Tupelo of J.B. Hoods Army of Tennessee near the end of the Civil War?


We may never know continues the sign, adding that the 13 men might have died from any number of complications. The information panel continues on a note that is almost equally as sad. The original markers may have borne names, but they disappeared long ago. In 1940, Senator Theodore Bilbo arranged for marble headstones, but they were stolen. The National Park Service erected the headstones now in place.


The Natchez Trace harbors many mysteries and one is the demise of the 13 Confederates buried along the Trace

Though the dogwood certainly added poignancy to our drive, it was our stop at the markers that set the tone of our conversation for much of the day’s remainder. Foremost in our mind was the question of why here, so far from Shiloh and Tupelo. These men were wounded and we wondered how all 13 came to lie in this particular spot. Could they have been abandoned?  Could they have been murdered by Union soldiers as a form of retribution?

We had many questions, but were pleased to see that imitation flowers have been placed at each grave marker, a commemoration that has been implemented since we stopped here about 10 years ago. We hope the practice continues.



*Alaska’s Denali National Park

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy

Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


Comments are closed.