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 Road to Hermit’s Rest Kindles Unexpected Thoughts

©Bert Gildart:  From the campground at which we’re staying near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, it is about nine miles to Hermit’s Rest. The Hermit Canyon Road, which is about 7 miles long,  is closed to all vehicular traffic except for the park’s shuttle buses.  But it is also open for bicycle riders.

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Bert Gildart along bike route to Hermit's Rest


The road passes a number of overlooks with names that hint at the vistas that unfold, and they include Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss – and Powell Point, among others.

Powell Point recalls the Civil War soldier who was first to explore the Grand Canyon.  From the overlook one can peer one mile down and see the Colorado River winding through the canyon it has created.  Powell was venturing into the unknown and what makes his journey even more amazing is that he had lost one of his arms at the Battle of Shiloh.  He was  struck by a minie ball, and the raw nerve endings at the stubble  caused him pain for the rest of his life.

Nevertheless, he and his men explored the Grand Canyon  and though several of his men deserted, he remained undaunted. 

“We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are we know not; what rocks beset the channel we know not. To leave the exploration unfinished, to say that there is a part of the canyon which I cannot explore is more than I am willing to acknowledge and I determine to go on.”

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View from bike route near Monument View Vista



“Its colors, though many and complex at any instant, change with the ascending and declining sun; lights and shadows appear and vanish with the passing clouds, and the changing seasons mark their passage in changing colors”. John Wesley Powell

Powell Point is one of the first overlooks one comes to along the ride, but the rest is equally as dramatic, and bike riding has to be  one of the most delightful — perhaps even profound — ways to experience the majesty of the area. If one does nothing but peddle (on a mountain bike)  it takes about an hour (each way), as the route is  a series of ups and downs, but  if you really want to enjoy the area, you need to take several hours and stop often.

Along the way I met a delightful German couple near Monument Creek Vista and they offered to take my picture.  I then took several pictures of the scenery that was a constant companion.  It was late in the day and I was delighted with the image (just above) that unfolded.


Tarantula near Hermit's Rest


On my return trip from Hermit’s Rest,  I found a tarantula, a creature I have been actively searching for.  In fact, one of the reasons we departed Montana early this year was with the hope of photographing these creature. Males are particularly active in the fall as they begin looking for a mate.

I hope to find more, but in the meantime, here is one of the several images I took of this amazing creature.  It was near the road, and fearing that a tour bus would run it over, I moved it with my gloved hand.  Those in the know say they are extraordinarily tolerant, but that they will bite if a person handles it roughly.

All totaled my ride took a little more than three hours, and I may do it again, for as Heraclitus, the great  Greek philosopher once said:  “No man ever steps in the same river twice,” meaning, of course, that another ride would at least provide subtle changes.  Or to be even more dramatic,  not only has the river flowed on, but we have also flowed on.

Perhaps Powell was a student of Heraclitus, easy to become here along the road to Hermit’s Rest, on the cusp of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.





*Rudyard Montana — So Who Is That Old Sorehead



(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.)


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