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 December, 2013

Recalling Maggie Roberts, a Much Revered Gwich’in Indian Elder

posted: December 29th, 2013 | by:Bert


Hooves-B&W1

Caribou hooves

©Bert Gildart:  Yesterday’s news from Gwich’in Indian friends in  Alaska informed on the passing of Maggie Roberts, December 26.  She was much revered and once served as a “traditional” village chief. She lived most of her life in Venetie, Alaska, one of the several villages in the Yukon Flats School district where Janie and I once taught school.

We met her in 1991 and over a period of years Maggie became one of our favorite people. Janie got to know her well, and visited  her on many occasions, accompanied at times by one of her “grandchildren,” Kenneth Frank, who has remained one of our very best friends.

Maggie’s stories and words were poignant, and were particularly moving because they dated back to a time when groups were still nomadic.

Those were tough times, but she survived them all, and at times even made light of them.


MAGGIE RECALLS


“…Mostly those were really good times, “said Maggie.  “But they weren’t always that way.  Sometimes our dad would only come back with one squirrel.  Sarah Frank would divide the meat and we’d drink the juice from the squirrel.

“And we’d look to the caribou hooves [provide sustenance when boiled.]…”

Our purpose in recording the stories and making the pictures was to draw attention to their rugged way of life, and to the importance to them of preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We did so by later returning to the area as journalists and working on magazine and newspaper assignments.  We count the decade as one of our most intellectually rewarding, for we learned about the mettle of a people.


MaggieRaw 12349 13241

L to R:  Maggie Roberts prepares hide for tanning, in the old way; Kenneth Frank, a relative, continues the family’s subsistence way
of life at Old John Lake; Maggie Roberts hanging fish to be dried for later consumption.

 

Maggie was always willing to help.  Her stories could take up much of an afternoon or evening, so for us, her narrations live on.

We’re saddened by the passing of this wise elderly lady, and wish her family and friends the very best during this very difficult time.


———————


RECALLING THE LIVES AND ACTIVITIES OF OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GWICH’IN INDIAN COMMUNITY :

*Hamel Frank

*Trimble Gilbert

*Athabascan Fiddle Festival

*World Eskimo Indian Olympics

*Lincoln Tritt

*More about Maggie Roberts


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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Christmas Greetings

posted: December 24th, 2013 | by:Bert

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOME NEAR BIGFORK, MONTANA.

 

Bigfork

 

Bert & Jane Gildart

 

——————————————–


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Finally, A Pair of Pileated Woodpeckers Graces our Feeder

posted: December 13th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  It’s very rare that we can attract a single Pileated Woodpecker to our feeder much less two, but this morning a pair arrived and then it stuck around for about an hour.  Most likely we owe the pair’s  presence to the December cold.

Though the pair seldom ever shows up together at our feeder we know the two comprise a couple as we hear them in the summer from branches in the cottonwood that tower above all else in our lawn.  What we hear is their “laugh,” which has earned the species the name “jungle bird.” By keying in on their call, we can locate them with binoculars.


Pileated-12

A rare opportunity


When you first see a Pileated it makes quite an impression because of its size.  As you can see from the top image they appear to stand at near equal heights, or about 21 inches.   That makes them North America’s largest woodpecker, an undisputed stature as its closest rival for size was the  Ivory-billed woodpecker of the Southeast, but the Ivory-billed is now thought to be extinct.

Our seeds and suet cages attract four other species of woodpeckers and all but one frequent our feeders on a consistent basis.  These include the Red-shafted Woodpecker as well as the Hairy and the Downy.  We believe the other species that visited our feeder was the Lewis Woodpecker, but its appearance was so brief we were unable to make a positive ID. What’s more the Lewis is rare  to this area of Montana.


Pileated-10 woodpeckers-13 woodpeckers-11


L to R:  Squirrel, Red-shafted Flicker; Hairy and red-shafted flicker — all on feeder.

Our feeders also attract squirrels — and last night, a raccoon, which woke Janie, who verified its presence.  That means we’ll have to  start taking our feeders  in at night.  It’s easy as the last time racoons showed up I removed the screws securing it to the wooden platform, meaning that now I simply lift it up and into our kitchen.  In the morning I’ll return it to the balcony and hope to make a few more images of our Pileated couple.

It’s  not easy getting images of the Pileated pair as they seem to resent one another’s presence, squabbling for proprietary rights.  There’s plenty of food, but they use their long beaks to drive one another away, meaning there are times when neither gets to feed.  Here, it would be easy to draw some political analogies, but I’ve done that before so will simply provide a link.

Incidentally, you can distinguish the male from the female by the red mustache located at the base of its lower mandible.  Females have a black stripe in exactly the same area.

So which is the more attractive of the two?  Well, they’re both striking specimens from the huge biological class of aves, but, really now, doesn’t the male have just a  slight edge?

———————–


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR

*More Oregon-Pipe NM Photography


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 »

Intense Cold Keeps Our Bird Feeders Busy

posted: December 11th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  We’ve had real winter this past week, meaning our bird feeders have seen more than the usual amount of attention.  Several nights ago we had a low of -14ºF and the cold was accompanied by about a foot of snow.  At times like this our feeders seem to be particularly active and we’ve counted dozens of different species.


Chickadee

Temperatures as low as -14 have kept our bird feeders busy. Image made with super-wide version of the GoPro Camera.

 

Typically, each day we see chickadees, finches, doves and four different species of woodpeckers, but one of the woodpeckers has become almost as regular as clockwork, and that’s our pileated.  It’s a male, and we can tell by the prominent red moustache that extends about three or four inches back from the base of its lower mandible. He arrives each morning about 9.  He also has an afternoon run, and that’s about an hour before the sun begins to set over the nearby Mission Mountains.

Turkeys-10 Raven-1 BirdFeeders-12


L to R: Turkeys flock to a spot beneath our feeders expecting to chow down on seed scattered by birds overhead; raven here most likely because of damaged wing; turkey tracks in our yard number in the thousands.


We’ve also had a raven at our feeder and this week marks the first time one has ever accepted food from our feeders.  Certainly we see lots around our yard, just never at our feeder, and so we’ve concluded that it’s here because of a wing that seems injured.

BirdFeeders-11

Each day about 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon a male pileated graces our cage of suet.



Of course the wild turkeys make their appearance, and their numbers just seem to get bigger with the continuance of our cold snap.  Turkeys congregate in our yard leaving thousands of tracks which make for interesting patterns.  They congregate here because they know they might find seed at the base of our feeders, which number three.  We have two cages full of suet and one feeder full of traditions seed.

How much longer we’ll see birds in such number we can’t say.  The weather man tells us this cold snap is about to break so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.  I suspect we’ll continue to attract the same number of species bur probably not in the same concentrations.  Sadly our raven appears to have moved on but how knows. Maybe its injury was just temporary.


————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*From Boquillas to Big Bend. Should Crossing be Legalized?


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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