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

“The Ride From Hell”

©Bert Gildart: One of the best mountain bike rides in the valley proceeds from the base of Big Mountain (the bottom of the chairlift) and proceeds about 8 miles uphill to the summit.  Some people take the chairlift to the top, then zoom back down a trail, returning to the base.

But my son-in-law, Will Friedner, considered ourselves lucky because we didn’t have that choice.

Big Mountain (1 of 5)

Ride to the top of Big Mountain provides inspiring scenery


Our timing was perfect, for chairlifts had closed for the summer season just a few days earlier, meaning that if we wanted to take in the spectacular view, we’d have to ride.


Something that I didn’t share with Will as he began to lag behind is that I have a relatively new mountain bike with exceptionally low gearing.  It’s also lighter.

“But shouldn’t I, Will, be entitled to some kind of age-related handicap?  After all I am almost 40 years your senior.”

That was my mantra, and all day long  I played it like a broken record.

Big Mountain (3 of 5)

Located about midway up our mountain bike trail.

Over the past year I’d also been riding almost every day, hoping to participate in a 100-mile-long ride in Moab, Utah. I wanted to join a group called TNT (Team In Training) that makes endurance rides around the country attempting to raise money for cancer. The cause is exceptional and because I’ve recently worked up to the point where I was making comparable rides here in the Flathead, I was disappointed when work piled up I felt I should withdraw and try another time.

Janie and I were to have rendezvoused with friends (Hi Debbie!) from the Washington D.C. area, and that added to the disappointment.


As we rode, we passed a controversial statue of Jesus.  The statue stands about 12-feet high, and has generated acrimony.  The statue had been erected on public land, and some want it torn down, believing it infringes on the philosophy of the  separation of church and state.  This faction continues, saying that enough is enough; that everywhere you turn in the Flathead  Valley groups have posted Ten Commandment signs.  And that observation is certainly true.

But others say that because the statue was erected by soldiers returning during WWII, that it should be left in place.

The lines are drawn, and as with all issues in this highly charged political season, no one is “turning their check.”


At any rate, Will and I had an enjoyable day and because there was no chair taking people to the top, we didn’t have to worry about crashing with downhill riders who tend to go hell-bent for leather. Whitefish Lake was gorgeous and I knew Will had enjoyed the outing as he later summarized our 16 mile trip for my daughter, calling it the “Ride From Hell.”


Today, Janie and I are leaving for an extended trip to the desert.  Previously, we’ve tried to photograph tarantulas migrating across the desert in search of a mate, and we’re told that October could be a good month.

Big Mountain (5 of 5)

Our ride was backdropped by such beautiful features as Whitefish Lake.


We’ll be staying in Borrego Springs, and because temperatures are near 100, we will be  checking in to a commercial campground for the electricity needed to run our air conditioner.




*CMR Host Annual Elk Spectacle


*This is the anniversary of the battle at Antietam, and several years ago  we were there


(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon — or you can order them directly from the Gildarts. Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25. The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT 59911.)


2 Responses to ““The Ride From Hell””

  1. Will Says:

    The way that I truly described the ride cannot be published on this blog! The G rated description was that I would have rather had 4 root canals without novicane! Have fun in the desert!

  2. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Enjoyed your pixs of Whitefish and Big Mountain in the summer. We’ve only had the pleasure during the winter with their famous snow ghosts.

    Sundance surprised us the same way one autumn. Riding the tram and waking the trails was much different than skiing the hill.

    Bert, I’m worried about your obsession with mating tarantulas and 100 degree heat. I’m not sure which comes first!

    Be careful out there!