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

Archive for December, 2012

Christmas Past

posted: December 25th, 2012 | by:Bert

MERRY CHRISTMAS

From Bert and Janie


NorthernLights

Merry Christmas

 


The image of northern lights makes us think of Christmas and of family and good friends we’ve know around the country.   With that thought in mind I’ve posted links to good times from the past.  Most focus on Christmas but several include celebrations from other season.  The list includes not only people in the Arctic but from all over the Lower 48. We wish this group of links linked to all of our friends, but with the exception of a few, these were all taken at Christmas Time.


Merry Christmas From 2010

Bullhead City

Arctic Village

Christmas at Bill & Larry’s (Anza Borrego)

Christmas at Prescott, AZ

Christmas in Bigfork *2008

Christmas Fun in Glacier’s Winter Wonderland (Skiing with Will, Hallie and Granddaughter Hallie)

Poke Salad at the Anderson’s (This was almost like Christmas)

Christmas on the Road

Christmas in Bigfork



 

AGAIN, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS WHERE EVER YOU MAY BE.
WE MISS YOU ALL!!

 

Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Life-Long Friends Recall 15 Minutes of Fame and Infamy

posted: December 24th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  And so after celebrating David’s birthday in Marathon, Texas, Brian and Marie, David, Janie and I are now traveling in two Airstreams (David’s and mine) and are again in Big Bend National Park.

BigBend (15 of 17)

At Santa Elena Canyon it is but two steps (literally) across the Rio Grande into Mexico. L to R: Marie, Janie, David, Brian.

 

I’ve known the two men here since the 1960s, where we met on a labor crew in Glacier National Park, and I am always amazed that this group (meaning David, Brian and I) survived, much less succeeded.

TIME OFF FROM COLLEGE

Back in the ‘60s each of was asked to leave the colleges we were attending essentially because we held standards and values that differed from those of our respective college deans.

Brain, who played football at the University of Montana, may have spent too many summers in Haight-Ashbury.  David, apparently, was not working up to capacity at his college of veterinarian medicine and decided to take a little time off.

DRY COUNTY

As for me, I’m not sure why the dean at Florence State Teachers college recommended leave-time, for I was simply trying to create beer and wine in a place where it not previously existed.  That would be a liquor-free county in Alabama, notorious in the ‘60s as a place I wanted to reform. Perhaps I was too successful, having been invited on several occasions by the local sheriff to sleep in one of his very secure and special rooms.


BigBend (9 of 17) BigBend (1 of 17) BigBend (14 of 17)

As we celebrated David’s birthday we rehashed the character flaws in our respective deans, believing our willingness to explore all aspects of life subsequently instilled a sense of compassion in us all – and eventually contributed to the 15 minutes of fame we’ve each enjoyed.

SUCCESS SLOW BUT SURE

For instance, Professor Brian now teaches art at a college in Ohio and his work as a sculpture graces the home of Jimmy Carter.  Just recently, his heroic-size statues of Bart Starr, Robin Yount and Hank Aaron were unveiled at the entrances of several major baseball stadiums.

David completed his degree in veterinarian medicine and has been outstanding in his field.  Next month Dr. David will address employees of Big Bend on the humane techniques for euthanizing injured animals.

BigBend (17 of 17)

Sunset from Sotol overlook with Mexico in background

 


Other than the fact the three of us married beautiful and talented women, what we continue to share in common is our love of adventure and travel.  Hopefully that will come across in my next few postings as we hike some of the trails in Big Bend and visit a few more of these fascinating west Texas settlements.


——————————————————————————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

 

*Snowy Owls

 

—————————————————————————————–

 

 





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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Out of Big Bend and Connected Again

posted: December 20th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  I suspect readers have endured enough of my rantings about illegal borders crossings  from Boquillas, Mexico to Big Bend, America, but this setting so intrigued me I simply had to  share it.  Those are the Chisos  Mountains in the background and the river, of course, is the Rio Grande. Note the rider heading toward Big Bend.

Posting this and the other three images is now easy, as we’re in Marathon, Texas, and once again have reliable  access to the Internet.


Big Bend (1 of 5)

Just hop on your horse, give it a nudge and in about three minutes you've made the crossing from Mexico to Big Bend National Park. That's in America, Texas to be precise.

 


Yes, the above image shows a resident of Boquillas stealing across the Rio Grande –  but I believe that if I were destitute I’d take chances too.  The rider is hoping to sell a few of the items shown just below.  All were made in the tiny village of Boquillas, and the folks there need the money.  They’re isolated from the rest of the world, and 9/11 brought America dollars to a screeching halt.


Boquillas (13 of 7) Big Bend (3 of 5) Big Bend (5 of 5)


L to R:  Boquillas, Mexico purchases on a cliff overlooking the Rio Grande and Big Bend NP.  Residents of Boquillas cross the river and then position works of art on
rocks in Big Bend.  Residents of Boquillas then monitor sale items from their side of the Rio Grande.


At the moment we’re in Marathon, Texas, meeting a good friend of mine.  We’re celebrating a very significant milestone, or at least that’s what the Bible says, calling it his  “three score and ten.”  We’ll be here for a night or two, but then, we’re all heading back to Big Bend for a few more days in this incredible example of the Chihuahuan Desert.  At least in Big Bend the news is not as dire as what we’ve just learned about another mass shooting, this time in Connecticut.

So tragic!



————————————————————————————–

FOUR YEARS AGO:

*Pero, The Luckiest Mouse Alive


————————————————————————————–

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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

From Boquillas to Big Bend. Should Crossing Be Legal Again?

posted: December 18th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: “See ‘em?” questioned Janie from our perch on the boulders near Rio Grande Village Campground in Big Bend National Park, Texas. “There goes another…

“I don’t think they’re supposed to be doing that!”

Fact of the matter is they’re not supposed to be doing that! But it’s so darn easy for Mexicans to cross the Rio Grande River at Boquillas, Mexico and enter this immense American national park that they do so at will.  And everyone knows it.  Rangers know it, campground hosts and hostesses know it, maintenance personnel know it, and now we know it ‘cuz we’d just seen it.  It’s easy! Simply hop into a saddle behind a Mexican horseman, and no one even gets wet. In places the historic river is only about 100 yards wide (if that), and on a Quarter horse the water is but stirrup high.


30286 Boquillas (33 of 6) Boquillas (31 of 6)


L to R:  Prior to 9/11 Victor could legally transport Americans from Big Bend to Boquillas, Mexico.  Today, he wades or boats the river with items to sell which the park now considers to be illegal.  Nevertheless, everyone knows he does it, just like they know other illegals (images 2 and 3) ford the Rio Grande with items of art which they too sell along the park’s various trails. In the case of image 2 & 3, Mexicans are fording Rio Grande immediately adjacent to the Rio Grande Village Campground.  Many we talked to say it makes them nervous.  (All images copyright Bert Gildart)


The purpose, of course, of “stealing” across the U.S./Mexican border is to sell your family’s works of art, and this river setting offers many opportunities.

SHALLOW AND NARROW

In some places the water could hit a horse at shoulder height, in which case you defer to a small canoe like the one Victor, “The Singing Mexican,” uses.  Worst case scenario, simply wade the river, get wet, and when no one is around, place your objects of art along the trail.  Before day’s end American tourists will be along — and just as surely as the Chicos Mountains will be standing tall and majestic in the morrow — someone will place the requisite price in the small, stone-weighted adjacent glass jar.  Signs warn against purchasing contraband from undesirables, but most (visitors at any rate) just chortle the thought away.  “Yeah, we’ve got one of Victor’s walking sticks.”

And though purchase price may be small, the money means much to residents in Boquillas.

UNIQUE VILLAGE

Along the entire Mexican/American border, the small village of Boquillas, Coahuila (the state) is truly unique .  Established about 1916 to serve mining interests, the village peers down on the Rio Grande River from a 500-foot high cliff face where it looms over the 800,000 acre Big Bend, famous for its javelina, road runners and other premier examples of the Chihuahuan Desert. In this immense landscape employees at the park once played baseball with residents of Boquillas.  Folks from both sides crossed from their respective countries with little more than God’s blessings, and might have done so simply to gossip about Juanita’s new baby boy.

Here, too, in this setting a genuine business once existed where American visitors could hop aboard Victor’s boat and listen, perhaps, to a few of the man’s ballads as he paddled you across this historic river.  Five minutes later you would step foot in Mexico, climb the bank to the village, have dinner and then, several hours later, boat back to Big Bend National Park.


30276 30284 Javelina2


Though illegal border crossings is a significant story in Big Bend, it is not the major story.  Instead, it is park’s unique geology; its outdoor activities such as paddling the Rio Grand River; and the wildlife, such as the javelina, that make this premier park so fascinating.  Nevertheless, Big Bend National Park, like Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, has problems that must be resolved.


Prior to 9/11 it was all very legal and everyone loved the experience. No passport or other legal papers were needed, but most importantly, adventures here provided residents in Boquillas with an income.

NOT VERY ACCESSIBLE

All this worked because Boquillas is not easily accessible, making drug running impractical.  Nevertheless, after 9/11 new rules were implemented.  Essentially it meant that Americans could no longer cross the Rio Grande for a night in Boquillas. As a result, generating revenue for the 450 residents of Boquillas became a huge issue.  And so Mexican residents  began crossing the river where they’d position their art on rocks along the Boquillas Canyon trail, which is remote.

And because times are now desperate, some who make these illegal crossings get overly zealous.  A few ask inappropriate questions, as just recently happened to Janie and me.

WE WERE WARY!

Four days ago (December 15), Janie and I were returning from our hike into beautiful Boquillas Canyon, when we saw a Mexican horseman near the crest of our short trail.  From his vantage he had a commanding view of our vehicle and the comings and goings of all hikers.  He was just off the trail, and he was definitely not supposed to be there.  Nevertheless, he wanted information – and that pissed us off, for his attitude seemed imperious.

“Ola,” said the horseman.  “Where you camped… Any more behind you?”

Because posted signs explain that thefts have recently occurred at the parking lot, his presence also made us wary, so we hiked on, saying little.  Later a ranger said our thoughts were justified.


30096

Priort to 9/11 Victor the boatman could transport visitors from Big Bend to Boquillas. That may soon be possible again.

 


“Yes,” said Ranger Jose Galinda, “he could have been signaling a partner.”  But Galinda also said aggressive residents would probably be weeded out if conditions returned to those that existed prior to 9/11.

SOON TO BE LEGAL?

Most can’t wait and rumor has it that change is in the offing, though convoluted red tape will be part of the bargain.  Nevertheless, most believe it will be a start in the right direction – that it will eliminate any budding problems by charging the economy in Boquillas.  That means that in two to three months (March, some say) Janie and I may be dining in Boquillas.  It would be an adventure – and then, too, we’d like to help Mexicans in Mexico sustain themselves.

It could be a very good thing, certainly better than labeling some of American’s closest neighbors as “undesirables,” which they certainly are not – at least in the case of Boquillas.


————————–


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS SIX YEARS AGO:


*By Their Beaks Shall You know Them


—————————

 

 

 


 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Transforming Beauty to Exquisite Beauty

posted: December 12th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Fort Davis, Texas, is surrounded by dozens of miles of absolutely gorgeous columnar rock whose evolving beauty was initiated millions of years ago by the rapid cooling of basaltic rock as it intruded onto the earth.  Essentially, that’s geology 101 and it contains information most everyone appreciates as they drive along country road 118 in this high desert landscape.


Fort Davis

Autumn transforms the beauty surrounding Fort David into exquisite beauty.

 


The rest of the story is brief and continues, explaining that massive forces in the Earth’s core forced molten rock upward, and when it found a fissure — a weakness in the earth surface — it intruded, and began covering the land.  Immediately the molten rock cooled and when it did, it was transformed into huge crystalline structures that soon became all those interesting columns now lining the road and back dropping the old fort itself.  The result is that you have a number of beautiful settings that stand, independent of the season.

But wait!  Now enter fall, and when you see a cottonwood dressed in yellow, one that graces the forefront of a column of dark basaltic rock, then one of the seasons has transformed a beautiful setting to one that is absolutely exquisite.  That at any rate is what I thought as I drove along the almost deserted highway on this morning of 12/12/12).

The setting is magnetic, compulsory if you will, so we’ll be staying yet one more day at the Overland Trail RV Park.  We also want to take a little time out from travel to work on Christmas cards.



————————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS SIX YEARS AGO:


*Sanibel Island, Florida



 

*Ranger Overboard


——————-

 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Historic Ft. Davis – Making Claims to a Proud (mostly) History

posted: December 11th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: If you plant the image of the row of old adobe homes in your mind’s eye, then shut your eyes for a moment and then listen to blare of the trumpet playing revelry through the park’s much obscured PA system, it is easy to be transported back to the years between 1854 and 1891.


FortDavis (25 of 1)

Image of both old and new Fort Davis, taken from lofty nature trail.



I was visiting Fort Davis, Texas, and it is one of the very best preserved old military complexes in the United States.  Such integrity helps preserve old stories and they are still told here about the famous Indian leader, Victorio; about everyday life for soldiers on the frontier; about the Buffalo soldiers; and, sadly, about Henry O. Flipper – West Point’s first black graduate.

NATURE TRAIL

To better assimilate this parade of images, I had followed the advice of a park ranger and followed a nature trail to the top of a mountain of muscular rocks of volcanic origin.  Along the way signs alerted me to materials used for constructing the fort, to wood used for heating the fort, to interpretations of how life in general unfolded for the men charged here to protect settlers moving into Texas.

Though the Comanches had been defeated in the mid 1870s, Apaches continued to make travel on the San Antonio-El Paso Road dangerous.  Units from Fort Davis fought the crafty Victorio eventually forcing the Apaches into Mexico, where Mexican soldiers killed Victorio and his followers.

BUFFALO SOLDIERS

This lofty visage also offered the best views of the entire complex, which consisted of dozens of well-preserved old structures.  Following the Civil War many of these buildings were occupied by Buffalo Soldiers, and here is where a story of tragedy begins to unfold.


FortDavis (21 of 3) FortDavis (22 of 3) Buffalo Soldier


L to R:  Construction of military complex consisted of much adobe; showing parade grounds and segment of buildings yet remaining; “Buffalo Soldier”, men Indians named because of similarity in appearance of head hair  (they thought) to wool of bison.  They also called these men “worthy opponents.”

 

From 1870 to 1871 Henry Flipper was one of the black soldiers stationed at Fort Davis, and he became the victim of a conspiracy fomented by racist officers.

Though off the radar for most, I’ve known about the story for years, having heard it from my dad, himself a West Point graduate and a man who was proud of his knowledge of academy history.  In 1881, while stationed at Fort Davis, Texas, Flipper was framed by white officers and charged with embezzlement. At his court-martial he was found not guilty of embezzlement but guilty of “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”  He was dishonorably discharged, and for the rest of his life he fought to restore his good name.  Eventually he did.

The town surrounding us is also called Ft. Davis and we’ve parked our Airstream at an RV park named after the Butterfield Stagecoach Route.  Essentially, winter is setting in making us one of the very few people now exploring this historic and quite picturesque area.  Though this quiet time might not be for everyone, we absolutely cherish such times. However, if you dear reader are in the area, please look us up.


———————————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FIVE YEARS AGO:






(Note: RV travelers might enjoy materials from both of these links!

*Remember the Alamo






*Christmas On the Road


—————–

 


 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Images from The Texas Ten

posted: December 10th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Today Janie and I left Las Cruces, New Mexico, and traveled east to Fort Davis, mostly along Texas Highway 10.  Fort Davis, Texas  seems to offer much in the way of history and beauty so we’ll be staying for the next few days.  Hollywood filmed part of Lonesome Dove at and around the fort.


Texas (10 of 4) Texas (11 of 4) Texas (21 of 1)

THE MIGHTY RIO GRANDE — A RIVER WITHOUT WATER! 
CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER VERSIONS


But that’s not what we saw as we traveled east from Las Crucez along the Texas Ten.   Draw your own conclusions from the above images of the Rio Grande as seen from a city park in Las Crucez.  Click the image of the sign which will blow it up large enough to be read more easily.

In brief it says the “Rio Grande has been an integral part of the history of New Mexico.” Proudly the sign proclaims the Rio Grande to be “one of the great rivers of the world.”

That’s sad because judging from what we saw today it appears as thought the Rio Grande is about to suffer the same fate as the Colorado, which no longer reaches the Gulf.  Image on the right of sign make the Rio Grande appear as though it may be a muddy river, but in fact it is only sand and mud and was taken when I turned 180 degrees.   Click the image to enlarge it and you’ll better see the dessicated clumps of  dirt which now fill the air when the wind blows, which it frequently does. The bright spot is that there are remedies for some of America’s environmental problems.


Texas (12 of 4)

Borders without fences? Maybe somewhere but not here where this huge fence separates El Paso from Juarez, Mexico.


And, finally, here (above) is  an image of Juarez, Mexico, taken from the shoulder of Interstate 10 in El Paso,  showing the huge border fence and a little of the poverty behind the fence. Hopefully, some of the dire economic conditions will change with Mexico’s new president.  On Dec. 1, Enrique Peña Nieto began a six-year term and immediately directed his Cabinet to promote Mexico’s development.  We hope he is successful, because the more we travel the more we become convinced that we in the U.S. have some real problems.

Some of those were alluded to in my last few posts, and the bright spot (as mentioned) is that remedies do exist.


———————————————————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FIVE YEARS AGO:


*Gator Drama in Shark Valley


———————————————————-





 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Scorpion Beneath Our Mat

posted: December 9th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  In the course of packing our Airstream this morning we rolled up the step mat and discovered a  bark scorpion –  the species with the most painful of all bites.  For a tiny creature that had perhaps been walked on as we scraped our feet on the mat, Mr. Scorpion exhibited immense life, and seemed to explode with action.  It stuck out its pinchers, elevated that tail which when snapped forward can kill small prey or create much distress in humans.  Then it started rambling around: first one way then another.


scorpion (10 of 1)

Scorpion beneath our mat. Ain't it a beaut!

 


Naturally I photographed it, but it was not easy, for it was constantly in motion.  For those interested I used a Nikon 105mm macro lens creeping as close as I could.  These guys are only about an inch long (3 inches if tail is extended) so if your screen shows this image at four inches as does mine, you’re seeing it four times life size.

“Don’t get bit,” said Don, as I extend the lens within inches of its side.

Janie and Don, one of my Airstream friends with whom we’ve done such much hiking these past few weeks, held my two strobes and I stopped the lens down as far as it would go to increase depth of field.  I had set the camera to manual which allowed me to set the shutter speed to 1/250 of a second.  All that enabled me to hand hold the camera so that I could follow the rapid movements of the scorpion and hopefully focus on the eye, necessary to make the creature have that fresh and much alive look, which it certainly did.

“You’re about to lose your strobe holder,” muttered Janie.  “It’s coming toward me; right now!”

Improbably as it may seem, I don’t think Janie was enjoying herself.

These past two days (explained in my recent postings: Kris Eggle, Ilegal aliens) have been exciting ones! But weren’t we lucky  to find such an amazing little creature just as we’re packing for Big Bend!  Unlike the Giant Hairy Scorpion, the only other scorpion photographed this trip, Mr. Bark Scorpion was in the wild. However, these are not the only two scorpions I’ve photographed, and three years ago photographed on at Pegleg with good friend Tom Palesch, a first-class writer whose work often appears in Airstream Life.


————————————————————————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FIVE YEARS AGO


*Return to the Everglade’s Anhinga Trail


——————————————————————————-




 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 4 Comments »

Illegal Aliens? Our Encounter was Unnerving

posted: December 8th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  With a look of great concern, Janie suddenly stopped, turned and tried to make hidden pointing gestures.   “There’s a man,” she whispered.    “A Mexican and he’s carrying a backpack.  I think I hear more.  I think we’re in trouble.”

Searching for a parallel experience I don’t believe I’ve seen my wife quite so upset since running into two grizzly bears in Glacier National Park.


AlamoCanyon (1 of 6)

Written in English, Spanish and a local Native American tongue, this is one of many signs alerting visitors to the presence of illegal aliens.

 


At the moment Janie and I were hiking Alamo Canyon in Organ Pipe National Monument and I had stopped to take a few photographs.  We had completed the goal of our hike which was to follow a one mile long trail to an old homestead used by rancher Birdie Del Miller before creation of the park in 1937.  The old brick structure was about eight miles from the Mexican border and before striking out we had seen a sign near the trailhead (also the Alamo primitive campground) explaining that if we need help we should “push the red button.”  Continuing the sign exclaimed:

“Rescue personnel will arrive shortly to help you. 
Do not leave the area.”

And now I must confess that I too was unnerved, and quickly gathered up my camera gear, joined Janie and began marching out.  Simultaneously we watched the brush along the south side of the wash and again, about 30 yards away we saw the man, as well as the movement of others..  Apparently he didn’t want us to see any more of him, for he began sneaking through the brush.  But we continued to see him, and we saw the constant movement of the brush.  Suddenly, I remembered I’d left my $75 trekking pole, and explained that I needed to run back, quickly  and get it.

“If you do,” said Janie trying to be serious, “I’ll shoot you!”


AlamoCanyon (6 of 6) AlamoCanyon (3 of 6) AlamoCanyon (2 of 6)

 


L to R:  Three miles on a dirt road to the trailhead into Alamo Canyon; unusual growth of organ pipe along trail; one trail mile to the  old brick home of
Birdie Del Miller, where Janie spotted an illegal Mexican.


An hour later we reported our experience to headquarters, something park officials ask everyone to do when they encounter illegals.  But as we talked with the ranger we began to get the feeling that we were filing a wildlife report, similar, let’s say, to seeing a wolverine in Glacier, which is just a little more than routine.  I also explained that I had left my trekking pole at the rock shelter and said I was going back to get it.

“Your call,” said the ranger – and that set into motion yet another experience about illegals that now has me thinking.

Yes, I retrieved my pole, and when returning to the trailhead I encountered a camper from Nebraska who said that only yesterday he had encountered an illegal Mexican immigrant who was about 20 years old.  Mr. Nebraska said the young man was starving, out of water and needed help.  “That,” said the farmer from Nebraska, “is when we sat him down and fed him.  Then, following his insistence, we pushed the red button, which quickly brought in the Border Patrol.”

And now I’ve got to wonder:  Are we making too much of the danger imposed by these “undocumented immigrants?”  No visitor has ever been hurt.

Most of the illegals must  come from desperate financial situations and are simply looking for a better way of life.  To stop such traffic (and it must be stopped because the park is suffering!)  the solution may be to impose heavy fines on the farmers, ranchers – business people – who hire these illegals – or consider legalizing marijuana, the other reason that illegals risk the hardships of crossing our border.


——————————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FIVE YEARS AGO:

*The Dry Tortugas


——————————–

 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

More Organ Pipe Photography

posted: December 6th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here are a few images that I have not had time to work into a more informational blog, but which stand alone and tell a bit more about the diversity of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

One of the images shows black water bottles, and a park brochure says to report the location and presence of such bottles.  These were  near Victoria Mine, just uphill from the mine, and were used by illegal immigrants.


WaterBottles (1 of 1) OrganPipe (32 of 13) OrganPipe (34 of 23)


L TO R:  Black bottles usually indicate the passage of illegal immigrants; Janie inside cabin at Victoria Mine (requiring
a several mile hike); Don and Nancy approaching
Bull Pasture, following hike accessed from Ajo Mountain Drive.


In one of the images Janie is framed by the window of an old cabin once a center for sporadic gold and silver excavations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.   Other paths continue from this structure and lead to nearby Senita Basin, which has been closed for several years because of problems with illegal immigration (see my last several blog postings: one, two, three). Victoria Mine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as one of the oldest prospecting sites in southwest Arizona.


BullPasture

Cactus forest near Bull Pasture, just off the Ajo Mountain Drive

 


Other images are from the hike Don, Nancy and I made to Bull Pasture, accessed from along the Ajo Mountain Drive.  Flowers were still out and the hike was literally a stroll through a cactus forest.

Sadly our trip is coming to a close and we must leave this lovely place, bound for Big Bend and the celebration of a friends very significant birthday.  We’re not sure which day we’ll be leaving, and most likely won’t know until we wake up one morning and say, Yep, guess it’s time to go.”


———————————————————————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS SIX YEARS AGO:

*Stalking the Mangroves of Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge



———————————————————————–





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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

What Would Organ Pipe Ranger Kris Eggle Think Now?

posted: December 5th, 2012 | by:Bert

Chris Eggle Visitor Center



©Bert Gildart:  When you park your vehicle at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the first thing you see is a gravestone (a boulder) adorned with a plaque.  Just above it two hawk feathers have been affixed to the stem of an organ pipe cactus, and when the wind blows, the feathers flutter gently suggesting a moment of great peace.

The marker, the plaque and the feathers are all back dropped by bold letters near the roof of a substantial building and they read Kris Eggle Visitor Center.  The combination of features reminds visitors that not too long ago a man was killed by a drug runner in this National Park Service administered national monument.

On that fate full day Kris Eggle was on the trail of a man who had illegally crossed the U.S./Mexican border less than five miles to the south with the intent of selling drugs.  A radio message from an overhead helicopter had alerted Kris that the man was hiding behind a huge Saguaro, and when Chris turned the man shot and fatally wounded him.


ChrisEggle (3 of 6) KrisEggle (4 of 6) ChrisEggle (2 of 6)

 

L to R:  Hawk feathers drape from organ pipe branch and often flutter in desert winds; image of Kris Eggle near grave marker; hat, plaque and flowers back dropped by organ pipes.

 

Today the park recalls the service of the 28 year old ranger not only with a namesake visitor center but with a plaque positioned in front of that Visitor Center.  The plaque reads:

On August 9, 2002
While protecting visitors from harm
United State Park Ranger
Kris Eggle 
Was slain in the line of duty.
His service and sacrifice

To the National Park Service
And the people of this country
Will never be forgotten.

Tragically, the conditions that resulted in Eggle’s death still exist.  Thousands of illegal immigrants still cross the borders bringing drugs, and I know this is true as I overheard a conversation the other day in which a park volunteer described an incident that occurred at Victoria Mine just a few miles from the Twin Peaks Campground.  Five days ago,  Janie and I had hiked to that area so the narration was of particular interest.

The volunteer had been looking down from a ridge when he saw four Mexicans.  Shortly thereafter they picked up huge packs, which later (after being apprehended by park rangers) proved to be filled with drugs.  With a street market for these drugs in the thousands, these men were dangerous.


BullPasture3

Looking towards Mexico from Bull Pasture, an area that remains open.

 


Sadly the incident is not isolated, and certainly I don’t know the solution.  Nor do I know what Kris Eggle would think.  The only thought I have is to create a penalty that would be so severe for such transgressions that illegal immigrants of all kind will give more serious thought to stealing across the border here in Organ Pipe.

This park contains natural history features found nowhere else in North America and they are so unique that Organ Pipe has been designed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Park.  Right now over 60 percent of the park is closed to Americans, and that is a travesty.

 

—————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS SIX YEARS AGO:

*Ranger Overboard

 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Organ Pipe’s World-Class Cactus Forest

posted: December 4th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Though an estimate 60 percent of Organ Pipe National Cactus National Monument is closed (see previous post) several absolutely gorgeous areas remain open.  One such area is the 21-mile long Ajo Mountain loop Drive, which in turn offers access to several world-class hiking trails.


BullPasture1

Arch created by forest of chain cholla

 


Yesterday, Don and Nancy Dennis and I made the drive and then, at about the halfway point, embarked on a somewhat arduous climb into Bull Pasture.  Before Organ Pipe was declared a national monument in 1937, the area was used by local ranchers as a summer pasture for cattle.  Because the pasture is enclosed on several sides by towering mountains, ranchers could control cattle egress.

The trail climbed steeply and though it is fall, a number of wildflowers were in bloom to include the brittlebush.  But it was the cactus that generated the most comment, and one of the most conspicuous seemed to be the chain cholla.  In places it was so thick that it created an arch over our trail.


BullPasture2

Closeup Chain Cholla


Back dropped by the Ajo Mountains the setting was stunning and I’ve enclosed an image here of Don walking through this forest of Oregon Pipe,  Saguaro and chain cholla.

The point is that although much of this park is closed, those areas that are open contain some of the most beautiful examples of the Sonora Desert. More people should experience them!



AIRSTREAM TRAVELS SIX YEARS AGO:


*Kayaking Tampa Bay



——————————–

 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

Organ Pipe’s Humane Borders — But Are they Too Humane?

posted: December 2nd, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Shortly after Don and Nancy Dennis and I turned our bicycles onto the Puerto Blanco road in Organ Pipe National Monument, a patrol car passed us to be followed a few moments later by a surveillance helicopter. Quickly they assessed our presence, and satisfied that we were not undocumented immigrants or drug runners, they accelerated on.


PuertoBlanco (9 of 5)

Only five miles of the 50-mile-long Puerto Blanco road are open now to legal American residents. Unfortunately the rest is closed.



For a while, we watched the helicopter, for it seemed focused on a low pass in the surrounding mountains.  Back and forth the helicopter flew, and my companions and I discussed the difficulty of their work as we rode.  If  immigrants — or drug runners — were camouflaged, it seemed they could evade rangers and the border patrol, and apparently many do, for the internet suggests that hundreds stream through the park on an annual basis.  On a national basis, along our entire border, the internet reports that over a million Mexicans attempt to enter the United States — illegally. (Note: I know my opinion on this seems to shift, but conditions here are persuasive and in your face. Other thoughts may be needed now for balance.)

CLOSED TO LEGAL AMERICANS

America has its problems and this beautiful park epitomizes the complexities, for it has experienced some tragic moments.  In 2002 a drug runner killed a much admired ranger and, then, over the years undocumented immigrants  have perished from lack of water.  That, too, is tragic, but of course, they should not have been here in the first place.  Because of their activities vast portions of this once accessible park have been closed, and that doesn’t seem right, for Organ Pipe is such a unique portion of America that it has, in fact, been declared a world heritage center, meaning that there is no place else in the world like it.  (Night Photography in Organ Pipe.) But as unique as this park may be, sections are considered dangerous and you can no longer  visit these  beautiful sections of this the Sonoran Desert.


PuertoBlanco (11 of 5) PuertoBlanco (24 of 5) PuertoBlanco (22 of 5)


L To R:  Compassionate water tanks help create “humane borders.”  Sign at water tanks about man who perished.  Yet another sign at water tanks noting that Americans create humane border crossing, essentially for illegal Mexicans who depart Mexico because of impoverished working conditions.  That’s tragic, but the population of America has now increased by several million, and in many cases, their problems now become ours.


The bike ride that Don, Nancy and were making illustrates one of the restrictions – and some of the accommodations we’ve had to make.  Fifteen years ago Janie and I drove this rode and at the time the entire 50-mile-long length of the Puerto Blanco road was open, but today, except for the first five miles, the road is closed.  Percentage wise, that means that 69 percent of this park is closed, including beautiful Quitobaquito springs, which Janie and I toured several years ago, but only with an armed escort.

HUMANE BORDERS

After about an hour’s ride, Don, Nancy and I came to a gate closed sign and to adjacent accommodations offered by small shelters roofed with ocotillo.  While we ate our lunch, the helicopter continued its surveillance.  We then retraced our route, stopping this time at a series of “compassionate water tanks” located about 100 yards off the road. A huge blue flag pinpointed their presence, and we tested the fullness of the tanks by attempting to inch them up, but they wouldn’t budge, so they were obviously full of water.

Water tanks were here several years ago when I visited the area, so one of the fundamentals of  human needs has been met, and for this reason it is appropriate to say that our borders – as the associated signs declare – are “Humane Borders.” And that is an American virtue.


PuertoBlanco (20 of 5)

Don and Nancy beneath roof of ocotillo shelter, representing the end of the road for us. Over half of the park lies beyond, but it is closed to Americans because of the danger posed by illegal immigrants.



But beyond that I believe the U.S. needs to protect its own resources.  The population of America is increasing exponentially, and more and more pressure is being placed on our limited resources, national parks being among those resources.  Superintendent Lee Baiza (whom I interviewed several years ago for a story about Organ Pipe) is doing a wonderful job, but he has his challenges.  Everyone should wish him the best.  I hope I can do so again, but in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy as much of this beautiful park as is possible, and hope to show images of Organ Pipe over the next few days. Legal residents are being prohibited from seeing so much of this park and that is a tragedy.


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS FIVE YEARS AGO:

*Tampa Florida



————————————————————————————————–

 

 


 

 

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. Sometimes 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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »