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

Whimsical Travels — to Optmize Photography

©Bert Gildart:  Seldom have our travels ever been planned travels, and that is certainly true of the past few days.  We had no plans to stay another few days in Borrego Springs, and we certainly had no real plans to wind up where we are now – in Organ Pipe National Monument.  Travels such as these are made on the spur of the moment, and usually they’re made, changed — whatever — because we hear that interesting natural history things are starting to happen.


Fan palms as seen during moon rise from our Airstream at Borrego State Park


Some of our friends make travel plans over a year in advance. But we seldom know for sure what tomorrow will bring, much less any of the tomorrows contained in 365 days.  We call such travels “Whimsical Travels.”  And that’s the category into which most of our travels must be grouped. For one thing, we think it optimizes photographic opportunities.

We spent several days in Anza Borrego State Park and did so initially because Springs of Borrego was booked solid.  But then when we saw how beautiful each sunrise was turning out to be, and then how beautiful the evening moonrise – in all of its full-moon glory – was turning out to be, we extended by two days.

FanPalms-9 FanPalms-5 FanPalms-2


L to R:  Moonrise as seen from our campsite at Borrego Desert State Park.  Airstream at overflow campsite in Springs of Borrego.  Stand of palms reached after several mile hike up Palm Canyon.  Trail is immediately adjacent to state campground.

During that time we got a note from Chuck (one of our Peg Leg friends who had proceeded us by about a week) saying some of the cacti in Organ Pipe, Arizona, were starting to bloom, so now we are now camped next to the Mexican border. And, yes, some of the cacti are blooming, not the masses we’ve seen in previous years, but enough to make the trip worthwhile.

Organ Pipe-7 Ocotillo Organ Pipe-2

L to R: We think the flowers on the left and far right are both staghorn cholla.  If not, then one may be a buckhorn cholla.  The two species are known to hybridize confusing I.D.  The center picture is an ocotillo, and note that it is blooming and that THERE ARE NO LEAVES.  Leaves may accompany flowers but only when an adequate amount of rain has fallen.  Flowers, however, bloom independent of rain and are timed to bloom in April, synchronizing with the return of the hummingbirds, their pollinators.

We’ll be here for a few more days, then, we’ll do as I said we’d do in a previous posting: we’ll follow the Swenson’s Hawk, and like it, we’ll look for “staging areas,” areas where we can regroup and fuel back up. In a way, its travels are a bit whimsical, though we probably set the record.




*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nest Needed to Survive


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 “Whimsical Travels — to Optmize Photography”

  1. Leigh Says:

    “Some of our friends make travel plans over a year in advance.” – I wonder who they are?!!

    If I knew all it took was the promise of cactus flowers – we’ve got the hot pink ones going over here in Lake Mead right now!

  2. Bert Says:

    That could be enough to lure us your way, and we’ll give you at least a 12 hour notice. Ha!
    At any rate, would love to see you all, and maybe we can make it work.