©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.
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…’ “
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:
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.
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