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 April, 2014

A Most Prestigous Outdoor Writer’s Award

posted: April 29th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: When Milt Keiser, a longtime member of the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA), announced the year’s winner of the organization’s prestigious Enos Bradner award, Chuck Robbins was genuinely astounded.  But he shouldn’t have been.

For the past year, Chuck has struggled to make the organization’s newsletter the very best it can be.  Over the years, he has written several books and been published in many of the nation’s most prestigious outdoor magazines; and though he was an obvious candidate to many, still this calm and deliberate man was caught off guard.

Setting for the award was the Kwataqnuk Resort which overlooks the beautiful Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana, and the time was this past Saturday night at the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association’s Awards banquet.  It was the culmination of a four-day conference, consisting of seminars, alerts by “news makers,” and finally, awards for various journalistic achievements.

BigholeBrookTrout-4

Too beautiful to keep

 

But the top award was the Enos Bradner award, and for yet more reasons, it would be hard to imagine a more deserving candidate.

Chuck’s understanding of the outdoors is more than just academic.  He brings years of knowledge about the outdoors to the NOWA organization having worked first as a guide in Pennsylvania where clients included Jimmy Carter and Dick Cheney.

About 15 years ago, Chuck and his wife Gale moved to Dillon, Montana, where the man continued his work, guiding on Montana’s fabled Big Hole River. Today, Chuck has clients from countries such as Japan and from most every state in the union. In other words, Chuck Robbins must know about the outdoors in a way that satisfies a broad-based clientele.  Little wonder, Milt Keiser, himself a recipient, passed the baton on to Robbins.

The Enos Bradner award recipient is chosen by the three most recent, past chairmen of the NOWA Board of Directors. Criteria for selection includes long time outstanding support of NOWA and upholding the high professional standards of outdoor journalism practiced by Enos Bradner. Bradner was outdoor editor of the Seattle Times for 26 years serving between 1943 and 1969. He was also a founding father of NOWA.  He died in January of 1984, leaving a legacy that demands high standards, such as those personified by Chuck Robbins.

BigHoleChuckRobbin BigHoleChuckRobbins-2 BigholeBrookTrout-4


L to R:  Chuck positioning himself in Big Hole to optimize fishing success; “biggest brookie I’ve ever
caught in Montana; too beautiful to keep.

For a number of years I’ve had the good fortune to tag along with Chuck and remember an anecdote that summarizes Chuck’s attitude about the sport he loves so much.  Several years ago I was with Chuck when he caught what he believed was one of the river’s largest Brook trout.  For a few moments we admired the fish, noting the beautiful patterns of white dots all back dropped by a light greenish coloration.

I thought Chuck might have the fish mounted, but he said it was too beautiful to keep, and so he released it. We watched as the fish reestablished itself, and then suddenly, with a vicious flick of its tail, reentered the swift waters of the Big Hole.

With a look of satisfaction that was almost akin to that of an evangelist, he smiled.  “Someday,” he said, “we might just catch that ole Brookie again.”


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Seals or People, Which Should it Be?

 

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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Making a Prize Winning Photo

posted: April 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

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Making A Prize Winning Photo requires much work

©Bert Gildart: Several years ago I won the first place award in the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA) photo contest.  As I mentioned in my last posting, NOWA is an organization of writers, photographers and editors who want to sell – or buy — stories and photographs.

The contest includes several categories and a contestant must win in several of the categories to place first for the contest, which I did.

Categories are varied and one included “outdoor activities,” in this case kayaking.  The attached photo may look as though it was easy to make, but it wasn’t.  In other words, it was much more than a simple “snap.”

I was lucky to have Janie, a first-rate kayak paddler/model who worked for over an hour to help me get all the “elements” artistically aligned.

Composition wise, the kayaks had to be angled properly and then pointed in the right direction – the mountains in Glacier National Park.  There had to be some separation as well between the two kayaks. Then Janie had to dip her paddle at just the right moment, and the outside blade had to be angled just right but still held high.   There had to be the right balance between my kayak and her kayak.  And Janie’s kayak had to be in focus, not mine.

At any rate, it all conspired to work well creating a picture that not only won first place but an image that has sold to a number of different publications.

The NOWA convention is an annual affair and will be held this week from Wednesday to Sunday, and I will be one of the judges in the photo contest, so obviously won’t be participating in the “shoot out.”  The city of Polson is hosting our convention and they have planned an interesting agenda for us.  There’s lots to see and Janie, who is also a member, and I are both looking forward to a week of seminars, tours and, of course, seeing folks from all over the Northwest.  In the past, attending NOWA conventions has taken us to several Canadian provinces and to all the states in the Northwest.  We’ve been doing this a long time.

And, now, least I forget, happy Earth Day.  It was established in 1970 by the Nixon administration, an administration which also passed the Clean Water Act.  Politics are a bit different today, for today environmental concerns are not so popular among many Republicans.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

*California Condor

 

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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Springtime on Wildhorse Island Means Blanket of Flowers

posted: April 18th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here’s the cover image for the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association program directory, a conference which will be held this year in Polson, Montana.

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Arrowleaf Balsam Root on Wildhorse Island

NOWA is an affiliate of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America, and both organizations boast members who write and take pictures for some of the nation’s leading outdoor, conservation, and travel publications.

I took this image several years ago and it has been used for other publications — as well as for my book Montana Icons.

Our conference is a five day meeting and it starts next Thursday and runs through the weekend.  Attendance is slated to include members from all over the Northwest.

ARROWLEAF WILL BE AT ITS PEAK

My image is particularly appropriate for this meeting.  Out on Wildhorse Island, site of this image, Arrowleaf Balsam Root will be as its peak.  Beautiful at all times of the year, Wildhorse is particularly spectacular in the spring when flowers run from hill to hill.

Wildhorse is a remote island in the Flathead Lake and hosts not only the beautiful displays of flowers shown here, but also healthy populations of bighorn sheep and deer.  The island is most easily reached by private boat or by kayak.  The image was made with a 4×5 view camera and a Schneider wide angle lens.

For depth of field I set the lens to f-64 and then tilted the front swing slightly down to increase depth of field.  F-64 demands a very slow shutter speed, which was probably about one full second.  That means everything had to be perfectly still, as it typically is in the early morning hours out on Wildhorse.

Parts of the Arrowleaf are edible and Native Americans once sought out the species.  Wildhorse gets its name because of the wild horses natives once swam to the islands shore, thinking to safe guard their wild horses from enemies.

Note: I don’t use the 4×5 much anymore, but maintain that digital can not yet do what some of the large format film cameras do.


——————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO


*In Beauty We Walked


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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Travels Inspire More Travel

posted: April 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Heading home now to Bigfork, Montana, but we left much undone from this trip into the Southwest and expect we’ll soon return.  We have to!

Lake Meade is experiencing low water levels, and that could make for some fascinating excursions.   When Hoover Dam was constructed water levels rose and covered a vast area to include the abandoned St. Thomas settlement.  But the severe drought of the past couple years has reduced water levels on Lake Meade leaving many areas exposed for the first time in years.   Once the town was flooded higher than 60 feet above the tallest structure.  We’ve been told it’s eerie now — a visit to a real life ghost town.


ValleyOfFire-1

Lone figure helps inspire inspiration from The Wave

 

Of course, we’ll want to see more of Valley of Fire, one of the most remarkable parks we’ve recently visited.  Though the park is not huge, we didn’t get a chance to see all we wanted, primarily because we spent so much time at the geologically fascinating area called The Wave.  I think the lone hiker in my associated photo peering down onto the chasm supports our thinking.  He’s shown here spreading his arms attempting through a body gesture to understand all that spreads before him.  His expression remains motivational, but so was that of a very elderly gentleman whom we met later.  He was stumbling along with a pair of walking sticks and told us he’d been coming here every year for decades.

“It’s inspiring you know.  And I learn so much.”

Same holds true for us.


—————–

 

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*San Diego Wildlife

 

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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The Atlatl and the good Karma of Petroglyphs

posted: April 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Though there are thousands of petroglyphs in Valley of Fire State Park, when trying to date these amazing drawings, anthropologists turn to a single group of drawings, one of which contains an atlatl.  Look at the top of the image included here and you’ll see the drawing of a sheep.  But just below that you’ll see a shaft which is used as lever to increase the power imparted to spear pictured as the third item down.

ValleyOfFire-16

Image of atlatl shown at top, meaning these glyphs are ancient

 

The atlatl is intended to act as an extra arm  — a fulcrum that adds momentum to a spear which is attached to a cup on the fulcrum.  It was used prior to the invention of the bow and arrow, enabling scientists to state that most of the park drawings were made 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.  That means the drawings represent ancient tribes, collectively known as the Anasazi.  Perhaps the artists who made this image were hoping their drawing would create an appropriate karma, and that their day of hunting would be a successful one.

Though no one can say for sure what the images meant to each of the artists, with help from various tribes and by studying the artifacts of past cultures, anthropologists believe they can provide educated guesses.  Some of the objects, of course, seem  obvious.  For instance, circles with radiating lines are thought to represent the sun.  Squiggly lines may represent serpents. Other objects, however, require much  theorizing.


ValleyOfFire-9 ValleyOfFire-10 ValleyOfFire-7

L TO R: Image of four figures together holding hands is thought to represent power; image of sheep may be intended to project good hunting karma.  Third image, which shows a hand, circle and various other figures, may be intended to show death, the presence of a spring, another atlatl, and clan figures.

 

Images of figures standing side by side and holding hands are thought to be expressions of power.  Images of actual hands may signify death.

A single horizontal line from which four or five vertical lines extend downward but then sway slightly toward the bottom are thought to represent rain.

Probably the most prevalent drawing is one of sheep, and ancient artists may have drawn them hoping they could create a form of magic that would lure their principle source of food back, following, perhaps, a prolonged drought.

You can see most of these symbols in my first image. Others concepts are represented in some of the other images here included.


ValleyOfFire-14

Atlatl Campground, where we are surrounded by petroglyphs, to include the atlatl

 

Because the atlatl was such a significant drawing, the campground at which we’ve been staying has been called Atlatl Campground.  We’ve got a beautiful site and are grateful to have stumbled across such a lovely setting. Sadly, our three month adventure is closing down and we’ll soon be heading back to home.   I make it sound like a bad thing, and that’s certainly not the case.  It’s just that we enjoy our road trips so much we hate to see them end.  But particularly this trip as it represents a return of good health.  Perhaps there is good karma associated with the preservation of these glyphs and we have been immersed among literally thousands.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

*Photo Ecstasy

 

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 »

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still

posted: April 1st, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  It’s early morning in Nevada’s Valley of the Fire, and I’m standing on a sun-kissed formation near a bed of rocks known as “The Wave.”  Here, geological stories spanning millions of years seem to be compressed into a single moment.  It seems that time has been brought to a halt allowing a moment to try and understand.

Seas depositing various types of sandstone provided the working materials, to be followed by various types of orogeny.  But what I was seeing was the final chapter, the product of erosion which has also been carried on through the ages.  And, now, here, on this the first day of April, it has all been dramatized by the rising sun, making each granule of sand, each round of rock, leap out.


ValleyOfFire-28

The Wave, where time stood still

 

I felt like Ansel Adams, one of my heroes, who said, “I get to some places just when God is ready to have someone click the shutter.”

I’ll never know what Ansel Adams would have thought of this setting, but I do know that it was one of those places that seemed almost spiritual, though I am one of the least qualified to comment on that.  Nevertheless, it seemed to be a place where time did stand still – ephemeral though it was – for as the minutes ticked away and the sun arched higher in the sky, the intensity of the drama quickly faded.

Still, for whatever it is worth, the moment of clarity had been a gift; I’m sure it was.

 

——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Black Crowned Night Heron

 

 

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 »