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

Scorpion Beneath Our Mat

©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.




*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

4 Responses to “Scorpion Beneath Our Mat”

  1. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Thanks Bert for you favorable comment, but I’m still in Janie’s corner on this one.

    If that Bark Bugger from California three years ago was as active as your new Arizona friend, you would have found me decorating your head gear as you were trying to focus your camera.

    I love ya man, but I don’t understand your photographic fascination with naughty devils like these?

  2. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Hey Bert:

    I just noticed that your new photo of the bark scorpion doesn’t have its’ tail raised like “our” California bug did. How come? Didn’t you have you assistants agitate the little devil so it would get its’ stinger up read to fire like you had me do for you? Huh huh?

    You didn’t thin I would notice, did you?

  3. Halle Says:

    After seeing the picture of the scorpion, Halle said “Crazy Grandpa really IS crazy!”

  4. webdoc Says:

    I caught a scorpion in the Prior Mtns once, kept it for a pet for quite a while. I fed her the tiniest feeder crickets I could get at the pet store. She was very deliberate in the way she used her stinger. First she grabbed a cricket with her pincers and then the tail would come over the back and start probing the cricket for a good place to stick it. Then, stick it she did, and then got down to eating dinner. How do I know it was a ’she?’ She had babies, that’s how. They were teeny tiny copies of her, no more than an eighth of an inch long. She herself was quite small, perhaps a little longer than an inch.

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