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 November, 2013

Should We Pardon our Turkeys?

posted: November 27th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Here in our somewhat rural setting in Montana, it would be easy to enjoy a turkey dinner, and I doubt anyone would be the wiser.  It’s tempting; especially when several make their way onto the balcony of our porch, and then blop three feet down onto the floor of our deck.  Can these large and somewhat clumsy birds  fly off before I can bat one?

Silently, I inch open the sliding door that accesses our deck.

Despite the fact Ol’ Ben thought the species an intelligent one, our turkeys don’t have the smarts to flap their wings and rise above the level of the banister.  Instead, as I’ve discovered (and through no malice on my part!), they race back and forth across the small deck, crashing into the railing. They add to the growing pile of evidence that proclaims , “I Tom Turkey have shat upon your porch!”


Turkey2

They number in the dozens and damage our feeders and leave deposits on our porch. Should we pardon them?

 


Given this insult it is so tempting to charge out and whack one in the head, but instead I back off.  I close the door and then watch.  Are they smart enough to overcome their dilemma?

Settled now, they cluck among themselves and then every single one adds yet another rude deposit to our porch.  But there’s hope.  A minute or two later, one bird springs onto the banister, tests its wings and then it lumbers off.  Quickly, the others follow suit.

If turkeys contributed only madness to our small world, tomorrow, we’d be dining on a freshly harvested wild turkey.  But they contribute more.  Along with the other bird species, our 50 to 60 wild turkeys add pleasure to our lives.  They have a distinct social structure.  Below the deck they gather to feed on seeds other birds have dispersed from the feeder above.  Elite turkeys feed first and we’re fascinated by this nuanced social behavior.


Turkeys-1

Their social structure and various antics fascinate them, so we're inclined to forgive their transgressions.

 

Our wild turkeys also put on displays.  Fanning their tails they then elevate them so that the bird becomes an object of considerable beauty.  It’s a display usually associated with territoriality and mating, but beneath our deck it’s a display that defies seasonal propriety.

Apparently, our turkeys are just happy turkeys, and today they should be, for despite the fact they’ve pried off the top of our feeder and insulted  our deck, I am going to defer to presidential restraint.  Today, I’m going allow every single one of these huge avian visitors to continue on with its life.

Today, no matter what they do I’m going to pardon each and every one.


—————————



AIRSTREAM THANKSGIVING  TRAVELS

*Thanksgiving in the Great Smoky Mountains

*Thanksgiving 2008

*Thanksgiving Pardon of 2007




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 | 1 Comment »

Buckskin Clothier

posted: November 24th, 2013 | by:Bert

Buckskin purse©Bert Gildart:  Listen up holiday shoppers.  In just slightly over a month it’ll be Christmas, and if you want to make an impression on your significant other check out Buckskin Clothier and you’ll get lots of ideas.  (Contact info is also on the web.) The business is owned by Elaine Snyder who excels in making fashionable works from tanned hides.

Originally I thought the purse shown here would, in fact, be a Christmas gift, but then I reconsidered, concluding that because Janie has endured more than her fair share of health problems this year that I’d give her something a month early to add some extra cheer.

Something really special!

The gift accomplished what I wanted, and so I’m passing on this recommendation.  Believe me, creations from Buckskin Clothier are not fly-by-night productions.

The media has long known of Elaine’s skills — and Gail Jokerst, a local media talent — wrote about Elaine and her business for one of her regional columns, saying that Elaine has transformed hundreds of tanned deer, antelope, elk, moose, and buffalo hides into unique WEARABLE ART.  “Your tanned hides or mine?” queries Elaine. “SEW BE IT!”

AWARDS FOR HER ART

Jokerst’s story goes on to say that in January, 2009 Elaine was inducted into Montana’s Circle of American Masters as a Master Tailor in Buckskin. The Montana Arts Council also chose her in their first round of 11 inductees to the Montana Circle of American Masters in Visual Folk and Traditional Arts in 2009. Elaine was chosen as a buckskin tailor, “in recognition of artistic excellence for a body of work and contribution to the preservation of the state’s cultural heritage.”

Today, lots of her clients are baby boomers that know and appreciate leather craftsmanship, though she sometimes sells to younger rodeo riders. Elaine told me there have been times when she has noticed a gal on television wearing one of her “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” jackets or a guy wearing one of her buckskin vests. Wrote Jokerst, “Like a mother who intimately knows what her own child looks like, Elaine instantly recognizes one of her creations.”

And here I should add that I, too, wear one of her vests. With a string tie I wear it for  formal occasions, and no one ever looks at me askance.


BuckSkinClothier

Check out the antler rosette, beautiful fringe, and the exquisite stitching!


And now a brief note about the purse, which is made from the hide of a deer.  Check out the antler rosette, the beautiful fringe and look at all that  perfect stitching.

Janie says anyone who has a buckskin vest (as she does from a previous purchase) and a purse from Elaine’s Buckskin Clothier is indeed a lucky person.


—————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Indian Hill


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




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Gettysburg — 150 Years After Lincoln’s Speech

posted: November 20th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: One hundred and fifty years ago yesterday, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg address, and I regret not having posted something about it November 19th.  It was a memorable day in American history and was commemorated in part with a presidential visit to the battlefield.


CannonSun13509

Recalling Gettysburg, a much published image -- and story

 

The speech is one of my favorites and the subject of Gettysburg is one I have covered for magazines on at least four different occasions.  In high school I was required to learn the speech, and still remember it to this day.

WHO WAS EDWARD EVERETT?

I can’t add much to what newspapers recounted, but all sources say the speech was effective because Lincoln was able to get straight to the point.  In two minutes Lincoln said what Edward Everett had just tried to say in two hours.

Who was Everett?  At the time he was a Congressman and well known speaker who had preceded Lincoln on the day’s roster of speakers, but  most don’t remember his name.


G-burg7 G-burg10


Lincoln Pennies left by appreciative visitors to Gettysburg; General Longstreet, and note
the expression of calm on the general’s face contrasted with the look of terror in the eyes of the horse.  One of my favorite statues at Gettysburg. 

Essentially Lincoln said that if Democracy won’t work here, it won’t work anywhere.  But he said it choosing words that have lived down through the decades.  CNN summarized it this way:

“His words are some of the most memorable in American history, forever stamping our collective minds with “four score and seven years ago,” and “all men are created equal,” and of course a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

JUST 272 WORDS

All together Lincoln used 272 words and they are displayed at Gettysburg on a plaque.  Today, visitors deposit Lincoln pennies on that plaque, a combination I thought made for an exquisite image.

G-burg2 Airstream4 G-burg6


Images from the battlefield sandwich image of our Airstream as we search this Gettysburg campground
for a site on  a lovely fall day. After parking we toured battlefield to view some of the 1,328 statues now commemorating  the nation’s most intense battle.


Of course, Gettysburg National Battlefield tells more than just the story of Lincoln.  Hundreds of statues now piece together episodes from our nation’s bloodiest battle to include vignettes of Generals Mead and Longfellow and of my favorite general, General Robert E. Lee.  That’s not to say I wanted to see the nation split, but most historians agree that General Lee was the best tactician, though perhaps not at Gettysburg.  The Union won the battle and if Robert E. Lee had listened to General Longstreet, his “Warhorse,” it is likely the Confederacy would have prevailed on July 3, 1863.

But it’s hard to say that either side won as both sides lost thousands of men.  Together almost 8,000 soldiers were killed in the course of the three-day battle, but the tragedy doesn’t end there.  Records suggest that an additional 38,000 soldiers either went missing or were wounded. The overwhelming tragedy is that these were Americans killing Americans.

HIGH WATER MARK

Gettysburg tells all these stories, which generally conclude at the High Water Mark.  Here an open book represents the northern-most point to which the Confederacy advanced.

G-burg8

High Water Mark -- represented by an open book, which tallies casualties -- of the northern most point reached by Confederates.

 


Yesterday, November 19th, the Battlefield recalled the Gettysburg address – and it recalled Lincoln and what may be one of our nation’s most significant tragedies.  If John Wilkes Booth had not assassinated Lincoln, most likely conciliation of North and South would have been hastened – for Lincoln was a compassionate man.

If you’re interested in learning more, read Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer,  by James L. Swanson, or Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, by Bill O’Reilly, Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara, or The Killer Angels a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1975.

————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Fascinating Desert Adaptations

 

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




 

 

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Canyon Country

posted: November 19th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  For the past 10 years the Airstream life has been our life, so I’m always delighted to see the mail-person when she delivers the most recently released edition of the magazine — “Airstream Life.”

The magazine is a “slick” publication, and that’s because magazine publisher/editor Rich Luhr goes to great lengths to insure creation of the industry’s highest quality of reproduction.  Certainly that’s one reason I’m always delighted to see each new issue.


Airstream (1 of 1) HDRLowerAntelope-6_7_8_tonemapped AirstreamBryce


L to R:  Lake Powell Dump Site (Not bad, huh?); Janie ascending
Lower Antelope Canyon; Dixie National Forest Campground, contiguous with Bryce Canyon National Park.


Since the magazine’s inception about 10 years ago, Rich has featured my photographically illustrated travel stories in each issue.  That means I’ve published about 40 travel stories with Airstream Life.  Stories have covered North America, ranging in subject from the Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, California (Impossible Railroad), Montana (Virginia City Follies) and to dozens of points in between — OR AROUND, such as Mike Busby’s Chicken Gold Camp.  Now I can add Canyon Country to my portfolio listings, for this issue of Airstream Life includes my written and graphic interpretation of this enchanting area.  Of course, I’ve also published in dozens of other excellent periodicals to include Smithsonian, National Wildlife, New York Times, and Field & Stream, but I’m particularly proud of my work for Airstream, because of the sheer volume — and because travel in an Airstream celebrates the way we live much of the year.  (We tell folks we are not full-timers, just 9/12-ers.) Yet another but no less important fact, is that we meet so many other enthusiastic and delightful travelers.

Though we have traveled these absolutely amazing canyons before, all images for this issue were made 8 to 12 months ago.  During that period we visited Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon – and several slot canyons in Arizona known as Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.  All these areas set high standards for beauty.  Capturing this beauty with the best light is not easy, and Janie and I worked hard trying to do it justice.   We used early morning and late evening light, and in several cases I tried a new photographic technique known as HDR, or high dynamic resolution.

Rich featured 10 of my images and the combination of text and pictures covered six pages.  Several of the images ran edge to edge and I was absolutely delighted with the work of his graphic artist.


Desert View Antelope Canyon-19 Horseshoe Bend-1

L to R: Image made at Desert Center using an HDR method to maintain
visual acceptance of shadows and highlights; dust thrown into air dramatizes shafts of light; Horseshoe Canyon. 

 

When I submit images for a story I submit more than they need.   That’s standard for all magazine stories.  In this case I submitted about 40 images and the top three (above) are the ones his layout artist included.  Because most readers own an Airstream — or want to own an Airstream (Airstream Camper Tips)– they want to see images of this iconic trailer, so I obviously include images of our Airstream.  We’re proud to do so.  Other images tell the story of the areas natural history and its history.  Rich even used my image of a tarantula.

The next three images, (just above) were not included in the magazine but are posted here to illustrate the sheer variety of features contained in Canyon Country.  In other words, you can travel the area for weeks and never see it all. To use a thought from my story, “there was  beauty before and behind us.   There was beauty all around.”

That’s from an old Navajo chant, and it suggests that it is  hard to do justice to such country; the reason we keep returning – and that you should too.


—————–


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Indian Hill — A Journey Into the Past


BOOKS THAT WILL 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 | Post a Comment »

Veterans Day

posted: November 11th, 2013 | by:Bert

13570©Bert Gildart: Each year at this time I’ve posted a blog about Veterans Day, done so in part to acknowledge the incredible contributions made by U.S. veterans to our country.

My father was certainly part of that legacy for he was stationed at Schofield (Pearl Harbor) when it was bombed (December 7, 1941) and he later fought at Guadalcanal.  He was a 1937 West Point graduate and in 1942 — the time at which he fought in the Pacific –  he was a captain, entitled to a driver.  The driver was in a fox hole with Dad and the man lost his life when curiosity prompted him to stand and survey his surroundings.

Dad remained in the Army and eventually logged in 30 years of service, retiring as a brigadier general.

Certainly I’m proud of my dad’s military career and it seems appropriate to honor his service just as I’ve done in previous years, and that is to post my thoughts on West Point, his Alma mater.  Dad and I weren’t always on the same page, though my views have changed as I have aged.

NEW SUBJECT:  Several have asked why I have not posted in almost a month and to put it bluntly, I simply needed a rest.  For over six years I’ve posted virtually every week and sometimes seven times a week.  Also as many of you know, Janie has been recovering from very extensive surgery for cancer and that has limited our travels.

We have, however, put the time to good use.  We’ve fixed gutters, cleaned and organized the garage, cleaned out the Airstream and prepared it for upcoming traveling. We’ve  organized the house, and made literally dozens of trips to the dump – all with the intent of downsizing.  That may not sound like much, but it has become a round-the-clock obsession.


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Korean War Memorial; Changing of Guard at Arlington National Cemetery; World War II Memorial


Now after five months of reorganizing our lives, it appears as though we will soon be getting a green light from the oncologist and intend to resume our Airstream travels sometime in December, probably after Christmas.

Rested, I’ll have no trouble filling this site, for I’ve plotted out a series of blogs which I believe will interest those who love to travel.  Please start checking back in.

BEFORE CLOSING here are a few other links that pay homage to our veterans:  Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Memorial Day.


———-



AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Eyes Of A Tarantula


BOOKS THAT WILL 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 »