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

No Access Now to Battling and Bugling Bull Elk — A Crime Against the American People!

©Bert Gildart: Because of the irresponsible closing of the Federal government last night, as of today (October 1), all national parks, to include our very first national park, are closed.  That means you cannot see one of the world’s most spectacular of all wildlife dramas, the story of the bull elk.  Other than to dictate that we no longer can believe in the sanctity of motherhood, apple pie, the American flag – or the beauty of Old Faithful – little could be worse.  Congress has just committed a crime against the American people!


With murder in its eyes, a bull elk protects his territory


Images shown here were made about three years ago. We had parked our Airstream at Madison Campground and then ranged out from there, seeing bison, Old Faithful, eagles, wolves, ravens, paint pots — and elk.

The stage, of course, for these elk photos is Yellowstone National Park and an annual ritual intensifies the end of September/first of October. Each evening dozens of bull elk materialize from huge stands of pines, and then edge closer and closer until viewers have front-row seats.

But before you can see the elk, you can hear them and their famous “bugling.” Bull elk create the music and do so by tilting back their heads and emitting a sound that begins on a low note then progresses up the scale.  Finally, the bugling ends with a guttural “Ugh, ugh.”   Hearing them is one thing, but when dozens of bulls create the sound simultaneously, it blows your mind. Again, all this is taking place right now, (today!) in Yellowstone.  But you can’t see them, because our leaders have shut down the government.

ElkYNP1 41351 Elk7836

Yellowstone with all of various dramas is now closed — a crime against the American People
created by those who are supposed to protect and preserve us.

The purpose of the bugling – followed by aggressive gestures in which they use their antlers to plow up the dirt, “murder” small trees, or actually engage other bulls in battle – is intended to help each bull establish a territory.  In this space each bull protects his developing harem, and woe be to any interloper, particularly to “the welterweights,” or to one whose spread of antlers is inferior – that enters this space. Presumably the genetically superior bull emerges victorious and it is he that passes on his genes.

Sights and sounds associated with this drama are incredible, but again, to state the obvious, we can’t enjoy them because Congress has shut down the government.  The effects are devastating to so many in so many walks of life – but all I can dramatize are those aspects with which I have an intimate knowledge, and that is our national parks.

Parks are repositories of our national heritage, places people congregate to retain their sanity when pressures of everyday  life seem overwhelming.  Quite likely the calming influences of these preserves have prevented a number of deranged citizens from climbing the stairs of a Texas tower and becoming another Charles Whitman.  Everyone should have the opportunity to get absorbed in the drama of elk, on stage right now.

Yellowstone was our very first national parks, and Congress has just committed a crime against the American people!



No One at Pegleg


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 “No Access Now to Battling and Bugling Bull Elk — A Crime Against the American People!”

  1. Diane and Katie Says:

    Your posts brought tears to my eyes. Such a shame. Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you in Borrego this winter.

  2. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    We the peops take vacations to come see the animals and the beauty in which they live. Now, the animals get a vacation from us and you know what, I bet they soon realize, “that’s not so bad!”

    Ya know, the critters might think this budget negociating thing is a sign of an early and long winter ahead for them. Just like what we say about squirrels early storing of nuts. They probably have it right …. it is going to be a long and hard winter in so many ways and for so many reasons!