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, 2014

Retracing Route of Death Valley’s 1849 Gold Seekers

posted: November 25th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Several days ago  Janie and I made a trip in Death Valley National Park that we’ve wanted to make for years. We rented a jeep, then made a 200 mile, 14-hour loop drive from our campsite here at Furnace Creek. About 120 miles of the trip was on a blacktop road, and that portion took us to Stove Pipe Wells, up over Towne Pass and then to Ballarat Ghost Town.  There’s where the four-wheel drive jeep tour started.


JeepTripDVNP-11

Approaching Mangle Pass

 


After leaving Ballarat, this section (probably about 80 miles) took us about 30 miles through a narrow canyon where it then reenters Death Valley. At the point there’s a sign pointing to Barker Ranch, the ranch where the FBI captured Charles Manson.

Not much is left there today, as the ranch burned several years ago, but Barker Ranch is in the news because on the weekend of the November the 15th, Charles Manson, who is now 80, got  married. The man is still in jail for murder, so I’m not sure how nuptials will play out, but, locally, the site is generating some interest.


JeepTripDVNP-9 jeepTrip-12 JeepTripDVNP-10


L to R:  Ascending Gower Gulch out of Ballarat; four-wheeling through boulder field; approaching Mangle Pass with monument to Mangle.

DEATH VALLEY GOLD SEEKERS

Essentially we made the trip to recall the rugged country Manly and Rogers traversed in their efforts to rescue the Bennett and Arcane families back in 1849. This country is rugged beyond belief and to successfully navigate it in a jeep requires a spotter (Janie) and patience in selecting an appropriate route through the maze of rocks. Hopefully images reflect the challenges and show the country going up and going down as well as the rugged Mangle Pass. Hopefully, too, they project the excitement Janie and I shared as we traveled through this park’s seldom seen back country splendor.


JeepTripDVNP-13

Passing Stripped Butte, a significant landmark for Rogers and Manly, the men who subsequently saved the Bennette Arcane families in 1850.

 


NOTE: Janie has always said she’d like a Rubicon jeep, but I think last week’s trip cured her of that notion.


DVNP WEATHER: Weather the past few days has been brutally cold, with day-time temperatures never rising about 72.

 

—————–

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

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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Is Death Valley Beautiful or Beastly? It’s All Point of View

posted: November 13th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re still in Death Valley, camped at Texas Spring, and obsessed with the hardships endured by a group of emigrants collectively referred to as the 49ers. There is no other year that contributed so much to the names and legends that were eventually to become part of this park’s story as the year 1849.

The year also contributed much to a significant chapter in American history, the journey to find riches in the California gold fields at a time when the American economy was floundering.


SaltFlats-1

Mountain Ranges through which the 49ers had to pass in order to reach Travertine Springs, site today of the Death Valley Hotel

 


Perhaps the story of the ‘49ers and its significance to us today can be highlighted by the working title of Beauty or the Beast, for the features that we marvel at today, they looked at with abject horror.

Though the 49ers had endured hardships on their travels from states in the Midwest, nowhere were the hardships as intense as when they reached Death Valley and its immediate surrounds. Entries from the writing of Mrs. Brier, one of the 49ers, summarize some of the hardship.

“Poor little Kirk, my eldest boy… would stumble on over the salty marsh for a time and then again sink down crying. ‘I cannot go any further…’ “


SaltFlats-3 Airstream-1 SaltFlats-9


Images here are taken from along the route Mrs. Brier and her family travels in December of 1849. Though she viewed the landscape as one replete with challenges, we look at it as a place of absolute beauty, stark though it may be. But the endless mountain ranges were heights they had to conquer. And the streams were as rich in salt as the oceans. Sunsets, however, meant an end to the day’s heat, so perhaps we are united in appreciation of a Death Valley desert sunset.

WEATHER IN DEATH VALLEY:

And now today’s DV weather, which will include an afternoon high of 81 and more light breezes. No wonder we’re viewing the area as a place that is one of beauty rather than one that is beastly.


———————


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Aftermath of Gettysburg Address

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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Annual Encampment of Death Valley 49ers Another Success

posted: November 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Though I try to be laid back and unobtrusive as a photographer it’s hard to completely avoid scrutiny during Death Valley’s annual ‘49ers celebration where most everyone who congregates is hoping to hold the past together.  The period of time they’ve been celebrating for 65 years in this huge desert park is exciting, and part of that history includes the recollections of a gallant struggle for life.  It was a struggle that today forms the foundation for Death Valley’s exciting history, and the celebratory atmosphere of the thousands assembled this past week commemorates that idea.


Encampment-42

Today's celebrants follow same route used by gold seekers in1849

 

So it was not a big surprise when one of those celebrants hurried over to me and motioned for me to follow.  “There’s a man right over here you’ll want to meet,” said the celebrant  with a wave.  “He’s the great, great grandson of one of the original Jayhawkers. Meet,” he said moment later, “Don Christiansen.”

CAPTAIN DOTY:

Don is in fact a third generation descendent of Captain Edward Doty, and significantly from my point of view, Mr. Christiansen seems to have learned all he can about his historic ancestor.

Briefly, for the purposes of this short entry, Doty is remembered as the man who became captain of the Jayhawkers when Asa Haynes became too weak to lead. Doty assumed leadership near Death Valley, where heat, lack of water, and endless expanses of salt created hardships from which several never recovered.

The group that history now refers to as the Jayhawkers originated in Galesburg, Illinois.  There, a nucleus group of young men departed for the recently discovered California gold fields.  As they traveled, others joined, and because of the number of jaybirds and hawks they saw along the Platte River, the group soon took the name “Jayhawkers.”

PLACES OF BEAUTY?

Life was not easy as they traveled and along the way many in the group had to divest themselves of treasured items because of weight.  Then, just north of Death Valley, they had to burn wagons and kill oxen for food.  Bad enough, but when they reached what we today call Death Valley, hardships multiplies.  Many of the places that we look upon today as places of beauty and intrigue proved life threatening to the Jayhawkers.  Some of those places include Zabriskie Point, Furnace Creek Wash, the Devil’s Golf Course, Salt Creek…, and, finally, Emigrant Pass.



42500 Encampment-44 Don&LucyeChristiansen-1


L to R:  Image one (Zabriskie Point) and two show terrain those traveling to California gold fields had to endure.  Image three is of Don and Lucye Christiansen.  Don is great, great grandson of Capt.  Edward Doty, one of a group of 49ers that traveled to the California gold fields.


Today, the 49ers celebrate those places and areas of hardships endured by the 49ers, and in the case of Don Christiansen – by his great, great grandfather.  I’ll be learning some of the specifics when Mr. Christiansen and I visit for further dialog.  In the meantime, it is significant to remember that the celebratory atmosphere exhibited by several thousand these past five days is intended to hold together an exciting part of our American history.


———

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Indian Hills

 

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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Texas Spring, No Generators

posted: November 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Made it to Death Valley and got a campsite at Texas Springs.  Because of the thousands camped half a mile below for the annual 49ers celebration that was a surprise. Virtually all have generator and they do run them when the are allowed.  That’s between the hours of 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Image the racket.

But the key to quiet camping is solar panels, and we have four on top of our Airstream and two that are free to move for precise orientation with respect to the sun.   At Texas Springs, generators are prohibited.

Death Valley-12 Death Valley-14 Death Valley-13


 

Two images show us visiting Rhyolite Ghost Town located near entry to Death Valley; middle image, moon rise over Texas spring.

Images posted here include two of our Airstream creeping through the long ago abandoned mining town of Rhyolite located near the entrance to Death Valley.  The third represents a relaxed evening watching the moon rise about our campsite.  Picture us with a glass of wine, sitting back in easy chairs with the temperature about 75.  We’re in heaven, with many 49er activities waiting our pleasure.


————————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Canyon Country

 

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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Rear View/Front View…

posted: November 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: OK, so my hands are off the wheel for two of these pictures, but Janie is steering, we’ve slowed to about 25mph and there’s no traffic in sight. The intent with these three images is to show the starkness of this part of Nevada and the paucity of people. It’s great!

RearView-3 RearView-6


Front View/Rear View. Note Traffic –That’s the way we like it.

As well I wanted to show the sweep of the prairie, the beauty of the mountains – and the descending snow line. Here, the elevation is right around 6,000, sometimes a little below, sometime a little above.

In the side view you can see that duct tape (see previous posting) is covering the front side window, so it’s working to help hold the shattered window together.

RearView-5

Side View, showing snow line descending. Also note duct tape holding our small front window in place, reported on in last post and also Facebook



At the moment we’re “Kamped” in a KOA in Ely, Nevada. We stayed here eight years ago gathering material for a story on “The Loneliest Highway in America.” That’s Hwy 50. For the story I climbed Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park, and Janie and I BOTH interviewed Portia, a working madam here in Ely. She was sophisticated and not what I had expected at all.

Click on the link provided and you’ll see more of Nevada’s beautiful open spaces. This is truly a beautiful and interesting state and should be revered for more than just Las Vegas.

 

——————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Photographing Tarantulas

 

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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Broken Airstream Window

posted: November 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Again, we are on the road, but starting off with a little bit of bad luck.  Last night when we pushed back the curtain in our Airstream we discovered that a small window toward the trailer’s front but on the side was shattered.

How did it happen?

We have no completely satisfying answer, but we suspect Halloween vandalism, and here’s why.  We have never in all the years I’ve been driving had a window on the side damaged by flying rocks or other debris.  True, we were on the road yesterday driving from Dillon, Montana, to Twin Falls, Idaho, but we don’t think driving created the dent on the window.  When we look closely (and you can too in my photo), it appears as all the fracture lines radiate from a point made by either a rock or by something like a ballpein hammer.  Certainly, it is possible the rock could have come from highway travel, but, again, it just doesn’t seem probable.


AS-WindowDamage-2 AS-WindowDamage-1


Views of broken Airstream Window from inside and outside

At any rate, though the window is covered with shatter marks, we’re hoping the specialized glass of our Airstream will hold together for several weeks.  In an attempt to bolster the strength of the weakened glass we’ve cut cardboard to size and then applied Ducktape to the interface created by the window frame.  We think that will hold while we complete several timely story projects.

First, we are going to Death Valley (remember my post about Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane?) to cover the annual 49er celebration.  After that we’re heading toward Las Vegas.  There’s an Airstream dealer there, but also we want to visit Valley of Fire and the contiguous Lake Meade National Recreation area.  With water levels so low it is now possible to hike to some of the settlements covered by the creation of the Lake Meade Reservoir.

That’s our schedule, and we’re stickin’ to it.  I think we can, despite the inconvenience of a weakened window.

———–


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Canyon Country


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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