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 September, 2013

Government Shut Down? Sequestration is Bad Enough

posted: September 29th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Here’s one of the spinoffs from sequestration: long waiting lines for bladders that are straining.  Now just image what will happen if there is a full blown government shutdown.

The setting is Logan Pass just a few days ago, and because of a lack of funds, restroom facilities throughout Glacier National Park have been curtailed.  What does that mean?  It means you meet with others behind a bush or you stand in a line that may stretch as much as a city block. Meanwhile your bladder suffers.  Can you wait?


GlacierFall-3

Bathroom lines resulting from sequestration. Now imagine a government shut down.

 


But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to a full blown shutdown, though it’s significant to me.

In national parks, sequestration means that campgrounds are shutting – or have already shut.  In Glacier, campgrounds at Two Medicine, and Many Glacier have already shut, and fall is typically a time Glacier National Park is at its very best. For me, a photographer, that’s not good news.  Just a few years ago, Janie and I parked our Airstream at Many Glacier in October and photographed fall color, interesting birds – and one of the hugest grizzly bears I have ever seen.


MG-grizzly

Many Glacier campground is now closed because of sequestration. Seeing such beautiful animals is not an option this year.

 

The bear was fattening up for its long winter sleep.  Photographing it was a rare opportunity and could only be done in fall.  The campground was an ideal location, but that’s an opportunity that won’t be available this year.  Many Glacier is closed!

Of course national parks are just a small part of the government, but if I understand correctly, it means all government employees (not postal workers) will be out a paycheck.  Presumable that means government custodians won’t receive pay checks, and that means more bathrooms will be close.

Expect long waiting lines if you go into any government facility that might somehow still be open. And forget about camping in some of Glacier National Parks most beautiful area.  Just won’t happen this year.


—————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Hopi Art at the Grand Canyon

 

BOOKS THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR MONTANA AND SHENANDOAH ADVENTURES:

 


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 »

Hanging Out As Storms Break

posted: September 22nd, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  For the past five days we’ve been hanging out in Glacier National Park reading books, listening to rain thumping on the roof of our Airstream, and then, when the spirit moved us, doing a bit of exploring by biking, hiking and driving.  As it turned out all the preplanning in the world could not have provided a better delegation of time.  For one thing, we managed to take in one of the most inspiring of times in Glacier National Park, and that’s when storms  lift over the park’s majestic mountains, easily seen at Glacier’s lofty Logan Pass.

GlacierFall-9

Airstream parked at Glacier's Apgar Campground providing ideal retreat for "hanging out."

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE POSTED HERE TO VIEW LARGER

 

We made the drive to Logan Pass excited by information one of our neighbors in the park’s Apgar Campground provided.  He said he had driven through a violent snow storm among the mountains on Logan Pass.  He said it “was the season’s first blizzard,” and that tomorrow, the pass should still be covered with snow.  He said we should expect fog and “brilliant cloud formations.”

Next day we followed the man’s advice and discovered that he was right. About midway up Going-to-the-Sun Road, fog enveloped us.  But we kept driving and in due time reached the 6,646 foot-high pass.  We did a storm dance, celebrating as the clouds opened and closed, exposing as they did a dozen craggy snow-covered peaks.

GlacierFall-4 GlacierFall-5 GlacierFall-2


L to R:  Signs along trail at Logan Pass; more signs at Logan Pass warn of bear danger (less we think than created by urban malcontents);
flags at half-mast, because of tragic shooting in Washington, D.C.

Logan Pass visitor center was still open, and as we walked up the stone steps to the fog-muted building we noticed that both the American and Canadian flags were flying at half-mast.  That prompted questions, which soon informed on the tragic shooting in Washington D.C.  Distant as the capitol city was, the overwhelming beauty of  fog and clouds swirling around Logan Pass helped mute the horror – and soon obscured it.

Departing the Visitor Center we hiked a short trail that warned us we were entering grizzly country. But we hiked on – for Janie and I are both inclined to believe we are safer among the bears than we are among the urban malcontents.


GlacierFall-7

Clouds breaking -- then reforming -- provided one of great moments of our day of "hanging out."

 

We hiked for an hour, and then returned to our truck.  Fog still drifted in and out, and it engulfed us.  Sometimes we slowed but before long we were back at our Airstream, building a fire, baking potatoes in aluminum wrap over a cozy fire.  Cooked in this manner they require about 45 minutes.  We then lighted a portable cooker and roasted a couple of steaks, which we synced for readiness with the potatoes.  We topped that off with a glass of wine, then retired to the trailer, where we continued reading our various books. My choice for the evening was Lawrence Sander’s Fourth Deadly Sin; and that, folks, has to do with Pride, the fourth cardinal sin.  It is good escape reading!

Tomorrow would be a different day, and we thought we’d hang around, simply to see what it might bring, perhaps more storms.  Whatever, the day would prove satisfying, and finding such glorious contentment represents our current mission in life.


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Grand Canyon


BOOKS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL IN MONTANA AND GNP


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 | 4 Comments »

Huckleberry 100 – Appropriate for All Age Categories

posted: September 15th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Saturday, September 14th, Fresh Life Church sponsored what is most certainly the Flathead Valley’s most successful bicycle ride.  The ride was an un-timed event, and officials said the winner would be “the person who had the most fun.”  The event attracted over 400 participants and they came from all over the country, to include Canada. Though religion was apparent, it was not shoved.   People tell me that Levi Lusko, head pastor at Fresh Life Church in Kalispell, is a cycling fanatic.

Called the Huckleberry 100, the event actually included four different rides to include a 100-, 50- and a 25-mile ride.  It also included a family-length ride, which suggested you go about half as far as you want to go, then turn around.

HuckleberryRide-3

Over 300 cyclists, including me, participated in the Huckleberry 100 or the Huckleberry 50.

 

The most popular ride may have been the 50-mile ride, and it is the one for which I had trained (actually it is a lifestyle I’ve developed. See: Fonts Point, Hermit’s Rest, Logan Pass, Cuyahoga.  For another classic thrill see Impossible Railroad.) All of the events started from Kalispell’s city center and both the 50 and the 100 began by coursing south toward Flathead Lake, then through Bigfork Village, then out toward Foothill Road overshadowed by the beautiful Swan Mountain Range.  Finally, to complete a loop, the route headed back to Kalispell.  Those in the 100-mile ride ate lunch and then proceeded to Whitefish where they completed another loop that ultimately directed them back to Kalispell, so completing the Huckleberry 100.

Participants paid an entry fee but got back far more than they invested.  Fresh Life had solicited volunteers and stationed them at each turn in the course to provide directions.  As well, riders were provided a free lunch and a goody bag that included cycling items, such as wafers to replenish electrolites.

Though not officially timed, you can be sure that everyone took note of the hours and minutes required to complete their particular event.  Time, of course, included stops and breaks at several strategically placed rest stops, one near the beautiful Swan River.


HuckleberryRide-9 HuckleberryRide-5 HuckleberryRide-10


And they’re off (me in yellow); son David and Chelynne, his significant other, ride bikes to sidelines where they join other
well wishers; friends Jan and Dar also in race.


Everyone in the 50 and 100 started about 8 a.m. and I completed the ride well before noon.  I like to say that in my age category I came in first, but concede that I was passed by a few kids in their 50s, and lots more in their 30s.

Math suggests I averaged about 15 miles per hour, something that would have been impossible for me had I not trained hard.  True youngsters in their 20s probably averaged about 22 miles per hour.

But again, no one was keeping score.  What was important for me is that I meet a wonderful group of people whose sole purpose was simply to avail themselves of the healthy and wholesome life style Fresh Life was dramatizing through cycling.  The event was introduced several years ago and has grown in popularity. Many are repeat participants, and  I hope  to be included next year.  It’s appropriate for all ages.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Unique Forces Create Hoodos (about Bryce Canyon)

BOOKS THAT MAY HELP WITH YOUR TRAVELS



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 | 2 Comments »

Memorable Adventures

posted: September 10th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  I’ve had extra time on my hands these past two months and have been using it to sort through old transparencies, deciding which ones to toss and which ones to save and scan.  Organizational efforts have helped recall many interesting events, and I’d like to share several images associated with two particularly memorable adventures.

One story results from a time in 1991 when Janie and I worked in Arctic Village, Alaska, as summer school teachers.  It was an adventure in part because of all the national attention focused on possible oil explorations; and it was dramatized one July day that summer when Max Baucus, our state senator, bush-planed in – wanting to learn more about the subsistence life style of the Gwich’in Indians who inhabited Arctic Village. At the time Baucus served on a committee that had questions about drilling in the Arctic Refuge.  The village was contiguous – immediately so – with the refuge and Baucus wanted to learn how drilling in the refuge would affect this most northern of all Indian tribes. (Eskimos live further north.)


MaxBaccus

Montana Senator Max Baucus with Johnathan Solomon and Chief Trimble Gilbert (center) in 1991.

 

I knew Baucus from a climb he and I had made in 1981 to the top of Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.  The mountain was famous because waters from the top flow in three directions: to the Atlantic, Pacific and Hudson Bay.  In those years I had worked the valley for several summers as a park ranger and because I had mapped out the route I was the logical guide.

Likewise as teachers in Arctic Village I knew village leaders and Janie and I were honored to make introductions (we still stay in touch with Trimble Gilbert).  Baucus departed enchanted with this remote way of life and has forever remained supportive of efforts to preserve the refuge (ANWR). Baucus is currently in the news as he has decided to retire.

The other event, which might make you wonder just how qualified I was to lead Baucus up Triple Divide  Peak occurred in 1988, 26 years ago now to the month.  The mishap resulted when four of us, to include my good friend David Bristol, with whom I later climbed Mount Rainer, and I got stranded on Chief Mountain, also in Glacier Park.


ChiefMountain

Chief Mountain

 

David and I had checked out several weather sources prior to departing, and as we reached the top, blue skies engulfed the peak.  Halleluiah, and  so we lingered, but as we started back down, a freak weather system began to emerge.  Harsh winds blew in accompanied by dark clouds.  Before long we were shrouded by so much fog that visibility was reduced to zero – certainly a dangerous situation.  Prudently we stopped and huddled that night around a small fire, trying to keep dry and warm as rain and snow beat down.

Next morning skies miraculously cleared and we descended.  When we were about 100 yards from our car we were surprised to encounter a rescue team.  Later, a park official reported to our local newspaper that the team had discovered us in a near hypothermic state – and that it had saved us.


Chief-Mt-Climb

Ascending Chief Mountain 27 years ago. Note storm moving in. It was unexpected.


Our pride was damaged and we wrote to several newspapers saying that we were not “disoriented,” and that the team had not “led us back to our car.” I concluded my remarks saying that we were grateful to the park for their efforts but that we modern day men of the mountains have our pride – then emphasized (as did my friends) that “We had not been saved.”

In addition to stumbling across old memories I’ve used the past two months to prepare for a bicycle riding event, called the Huckleberry 100.  The event offers riders three courses, a 25-mile route, a 50-mile route and a 100-mile route.  I’ve chosen the 50 mile route, and I must emphasize that this event is not a race.  For me it will be a victory simply to complete the course.  The event is this Saturday and Janie will be taking pictures.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Bryce and the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine

BOOKS TO ENHANCE YOUR ADVENTURES IN GLACIER, MONTANA AND SHENANDOAH NP.

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 »

Airstream Life – All About an Iconic Trailer

posted: September 2nd, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The current issue of Airstream Life, a magazine devoted to the life style (naturally) of those who love this iconic aluminum trailer, features a number of my images – used to illustrate my story on San Diego.

Condors (5 of 3)

California condor, one of the most beleaguered of birds

The magazine might be described as “slick,” for images are always reproduced with startling clarity.  The magazine is, of course, devoted to America’s most iconic of all trailers, something advertisers recognize.  (Anyone watched recent TV ads for Xarelto, a drug used to prevent the formation of blood clots following surgery?  If so, you’ll notice the ad is continuously back dropped with a happy couple traveling the southwest in their Airstream Travel Trailer.)

I’ve written for Airstream Life since its inception about seven years ago and am the only contributor whose work has appeared in every issue. Rich Luhr is the magazine’s editor and Janie and I have rendezvoused with him, his wife, and his daughter in states that vary from Maine and Florida west to California, Oregon and Montana.

But Janie and I have also used our Airstream as our home while working for other publications and on several books, shown below.  Obviously we love national parks and Rich lists me as a masthead contributor where I receive designation as his national park correspondent.

Appropriately, my story on San Diego mentions national parks, and “America’s Finest City” offers several.  But San Diego is also loaded with state parks, county parks and one of the world’s most successful zoos.

Night life is exciting prompting the title “The Wild Side of San Diego.”  Naturally the story is back dropped by “a couple” in their Airstream (a 30-foot Classic)!

My story, then, discusses Cabrillo National Monument, a whale watching adventure, and a visit to the historic Whaley House, where Airstream friend Bill works as a docent and is himself pictured in my story.  Not surprisingly, perhaps by virtue of the condor image, the story describes the San Diego Zoo, the latter of which has played of major role in restoring this much beleaguered bird.  In fact, when we visited the zoo this past spring, the zoo was celebrating a birthday (the 30th I think) of its efforts to preserve this largest of all world birds.

Because the condor is such a special creature I was delighted the magazine’s layout specialist assigned a full-page display for the image (It was not an easy image to make!). As well, my 20-second time exposure of San Diego at night dominated the facing page, retaining, of course, its horizontal dimensions. All together Airstream Life used seven of my images and with copy spread over six pages.


SanDiegoNight (10 of 1)

City lights of San Diego showing iconic Emerald Plaza

 

My next story for the magazine is on Canyon Country, and it features some of the same canyons used for the Xarelto ad.  It’s all great stuff so get yourself (Sutton RV) this iconic silver trailer and then learn about all the great places you can explore by reading all the exciting stories in Airstream Life. I understand 2012 was Airstream’s most successful year – ever!

———————

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Bryce Canyon National Park

 

BOOKS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL:


 

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 | 5 Comments »