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 March, 2017

Ghost Flower

posted: March 8th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Yesterday (3-8-17),  photographer friend/Airstream owner Bill D and I hiked Moonlight Canyon Trail searching in part for the elusive Ghost Flower, a species that derives its name from the ghostly translucency of its flowers. Certainly, that’s appropriate, but Bill and I concluded the plant could also be named because it is so ephemeral.  “Here today, gone tomorrow,” is the way Bill expressed the condition, adding, “like a ghost.”  And that seems apt, for over the years Janie and I have visited Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we’ve only seen but one example of this beautiful white flower.

But Bill and I lucked out, and during our hike we found a number of small clumps, and then, later, as we researched the species, discovered it has some characteristics that make Mohavea confertiflora unique.


GhostFlower (1 of 4)

Bill and I return to Moonlight Canyon, near Aqua Caliente. 
An excellent area in which to see bighorn sheep and to find the elusive Ghost Flower.


NO NECTAR

Mohavea confertiflora flowers March to April, and what is unique to the species is that it does not produce nectar.  Instead, the internet tells us [the species] “has adapted a morphology resembling the flower Mentzelia involucrata, which often grows in the same habitat. Mentzelia involucrata produces nectar to attract female bees of the genus Xeralictus.”

The explanation further says that our ghost flower attracts the same pollinators to its flowers through floral mimicry (an evolved act in which a species derives a benefit by mimicking some feature found in another species):  In this case the Mohavea flowers contain marks that resemble female Xeralictus; these marks operate as a sign stimulus to the male bee, which enters the flower and in doing so pollinates the Mohavea.”

These facts piqued our interest and we worked hard to capture the blood-red marks (located deep in the “bowl”) of the plant.


GhostFlower (4 of 4) GhostFlower (5 of 1) GhostFlower (2 of 4)


Note the blood-red splotch in the bowl
of these ghost flowers, another feature that makes them unique.


FIGWORT FAMILY

Because the species has some unique features that it shares with snapdragons and penstemons, the ghost flower is placed with them in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). But its appearance is decidedly different and can be recognized by the long, hairy, light-green leaves that are elliptical to lanceolate.  Plants we saw stood about 4 inches long.

We saw a number of plants on our hike through this beautiful canyon accessed from Agua Caliente, but had spent so much time photographing Ghost Flowers we figured we could dally no further, for Larry and my wife Janie were waiting for us so we could all to sit down beside Bill and Larry’s Airstream and enjoy the scrumptious mid-day dinner Larry had prepared.

 

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OTHER FLOWER POSTS:

Photographing Cacti — In Macro Mode

Strobes, Great for Photographing Flowers in Windy Weather


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Organ Pipe Water Issues


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 »

Sunrise Heralds Spectacular Day in Anza Borrego

posted: March 6th, 2017 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: The day started here in Borrego Springs with a beautiful sunrise, which Janie captured with her cell phone camera. For me the day continued with a bike ride accompanied by Paul and Gareth Pritchard, a man I’ve teamed up with several times over the past few years. Gareth and I met while mountain biking the Ajo Mountain Loop in Organ Pipe National Monument. Subsequently we have made many other rides to include a challenging trip from Montezuma Pass to Tamarisk Campground.


Sunrise

Saturday (3-6-17) morning sunrise

Because those rides pass through such stunning country I’ve provide links to several blogs as well as a link to the data my Garmin collects about the ride I made yesterday, Saturday the 4th. Click and allow a moment or two for the map to load. Then, if you are ever in this area you’ll have directions for a route that passes through some very magnificent terrain.


FLOWERS

BorregoFlowers (15 of 6) BorregoFlowers (10 of 6) BorregoFlowers (14 of 6)


Because of massive amounts of rain at the perfect time, flowers are beginning
to bloom in profusion to include primrose, desert lily and sand verbena.

 

GARMIN DATA: The Garmin data also records length and time required to complete yesterday’s 18-mile journey.  Information says it took almost three hours to complete our trip… and that’s because my companions were kind and allowed for my pace, which was slower.  But the slow pace also allowed us to appreciate a spring flower bloom that promises to be magnificent.  Clumps are rearing their variegated heads.


BikeBorrego3-4-17 (3 of 4)

Bike Ride takes us to Indian Head where flowers are blooming in profusion.

Garmin information also show temperature which pivoted around the 80º mark. Because snow storms are still raging in Montana Janie and I want to repeat that we are so happy we made 1400 mile trip from Montana to Borrego, where we acquired a rental using the VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) website, and we’re already thinking about next year. We have lots of good friends in Borrego and we like the opportunities provided in this the largest of state parks in America. Here we can hike and bike – and enjoy the vistas created when the sun sets – and when it rises.


———————


Ajo Mountain Loop

Adventure Biking in Borrego Springs:

Garmin Info:  (This takes about 30 seconds for all information — to include map to load. )


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 »

Renewed Person?

posted: March 3rd, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Well, we made it, from Montana to Borrego Springs and to a house we’ve rented for a month. This is the first time in 20 years we’ve traveled without our Airstream, and it was a wise choice. Blizzards followed us from Bigfork and then on into Idaho. But we missed them all, and then had the good luck to run into a short stretch of Route 66, something for the future, when I’m ready to hoist hitches.


Route66 (1 of 1)


I didn’t realize how much strength I’d lost from over 35 days in the hospital where I was mostly bedridden. But I sure found out yesterday when I biked about 10 miles and had to push to complete the trip in less than two hours. Lots of stiff muscles this morning.

Rental (2 of 2)


But I accomplished goal number one and that was to climb back on my bike after a four month hiatus and though I was challenged, I did it — and today hopefully I will do better.

The warmth of the weather is an inducement to get out, and the coziness of our rental makes it a delightful place to recoup. From our rental we look out over Coyote Peak, and just three years ago I had the strength to make the day-long climb, up and down, with good friends Don and Nancy Dennis.


Rental (1 of 2)

We’re going to try and do a little socializing while here, but mostly we’re here so that when we leave, I’ll be a “renewed” person.


—————-

 

Adventures in Anza Borrego, before I had to be renewed:

Climbing Coyote Peak

Challenging Mountain Bike Trip in Borrego Springs


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 | 2 Comments »