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

Annual Encampment of Death Valley 49ers Another Success

©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.


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.”


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.”


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.




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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