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

Seals or People? Which Should it Be?

©Bert Gildart: One of our coolest excursions during our stay in San Diego was a trip to upscale La Jolla to see the seals. During our weekday visit, parking was not a problem, after which we followed our ears to an overlook where the intensity of barking and roaring increased dramatically and became distinct — and recognizable.

Before us, on a horseshoe prominence overlooking the Pacific Ocean, herds of sea lions had gathered, all onto a piece of real estate that spanned but a few hundred yards.

LaJolla (5 of 7)

Seals and cormorants occupy a small section of real estate along a beach in La Jolla


Some of the seals were lounging, and were doing so by simply plopping on a neighbor.  But there was other activity as well.  Apparently mating season was winding down for several males were lunging at one another, attempting to claim an area for themselves.  Nearby females slept, occasionally peering up, trying to observe the grappling of the foolish males.  Sometimes females would open both eyes, but generally it seemed an effort for them to simply open just one eye.


Surrounding the seals were hundreds of cormorants and dozens of brown pelicans.  Further mixed into the group were a few harbor seals, and when we could see their heads in entirety, we could differentiate.  Seal lions have external ear flaps while harbor seals have an external orifice where you would expect there to be an ear.

Seals (21 of 35) Seals (2 of 35) Seals (5 of 35)


L TO R:  Bull sea lion warns intruders to stay off his turf;  not all interaction consists of sea lion battles (last two).

We could also differentiate between the two species when they moved on land.  Sea lions can rotate their flippers backward and forward and they often use them in this manner to accelerate over a beach or over a pile of rocks.  Harbor seals simply flop themselves in what appears to be a simple undulation of their bodies.


We were drawn to this area in La Jolla specifically to observe the seals, and so were hundreds of other animal lovers.  Because of its geographical configuration the area has always served as a natural sanctuary for seals, bur recently a group in this upscale neighborhood say the odor created by all these animals undermines their quality of living.  Some miscreants have even parlayed words into animal cruelty.  A surveillance camera installed to monitor the beach – day and night – shows two women sitting on the seals and kicking them.

Seals (33 of 35)

Male sea lions seem to battle for every piece of land that might be available.


Mitt Romney lives in the area and his residence typifies other area homes.  To facilitate parking of his several vehicles the former presidential candidate has installed elevators so he can park his vehicles one over the other.  Residents of La Jolla are loaded.


Nevertheless, in the recent battle over seal smells, a local court ruled in favor of the seals, but in the long run big money always seems to win, so if you want a bird’s eye view of seals, a view that can acquaint you with seal behavior, better take advantage of the opportunity while you can.  You might also consider writing city fathers, but only, of course, if you agree people should go before the seals.

Remember, this small horse-shoe shaped section of beach has been a sanctuary for seals through the ages, and that should count for something.



*Does V-Bar-V Ranch Preserve A Solar Marker





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

2 Responses to “Seals or People? Which Should it Be?”

  1. Bill D. Says:

    This beach is a favorite for seals, especially during pupping season.

    It is also known as Children’s Pool and the site of an ongoing clash between animal rights activists and beach-access advocates, as noted in this recent KPBS article:


  2. History Safari Express » Blog Archive » Ocean safari fiesta, part two Says:

    [...] increased odoriferous excrement that is having an impact on upscale seaside tourist spots such as La Jolla, California.  [...]