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 the 'Glacier National Park' Category

Tragic Results After Biker Collides with Bear

posted: July 5th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: On June 29 two men riding mountain bikes just south of West Glacier, Montana, rounded a bend and surprised what officials now believe was a grizzly bear.  To make matters worse, Brad Treat, actually collided with the bear, and the alarmed bruin knocked Treat from his bike and then attacked. According to one report, Treat was going so fast he couldn’t stop. Tragically, the bear killed the 38-year-old man who was employed as a law enforcement officer by the Flathead National Forest. Treat was a former Glacier Park ranger. The other man, escaped attack and scurried for help.


GNP7038 GNP7026


L to R:  Search for the bear that mauled Treat has not been successful, and officials have called off the search. 
Glacier has about 500 grizzly bears and though we probably hike by many, we generally don’t know they’re watching us.


Immediately after the mauling, authorities initiated a search for the bear, but, now, after a week, the search has ended. Again, cautionary bear statements abound and some are recalling that the event had been predicted, most notably by Dr. Stephen Herrero, a professor at the University of Alberta. Herrero, who is recognized as one of the world’s most renowned bear experts cautioned years ago that mountain bikes could be dangerous.

BIKES CAN BE DANGEROUS

“Mountain bikes,” said Dr. Herrero, “are potentially very dangerous. They approach quietly and fast, and bears don’t like surprises.” Herrero, who is also a mountain bike rider, emphasized that riders should carry bear spray and make noise.”

Bear6 41189G-Bear StupidPhotographers


L to R:  Invariably, the old cliche holds:  A fed bear is a dead bear.  If a grizzly bear exhibits signs of aggression, back away slowly. 
These photographers intentionally intercepted the chosen route of this grizzly, forcing it onto the trail to Iceberg Lake in Glacier.  The situation could have become dangerous.


That message strikes home and in the future I’ll do just that. When rounding a bend I’ll shout. As well, I’ll focus more on the trail rather than on the beauty which generally surrounds me. And I’ll slow down, realizing now that I might collide with a family as well as a bear. Yes, in the past I’ve been guilty.

FATAL MAULINGS DATE TO 1967

I’m not certain whether Treat’s death will be included in the tally of Glacier Park bear maulings, but to date the park says there have been 10 fatal maulings within its boundaries. The first of these occurred in 1967 when two different bears killed two people in different parts of the park in the course of a single night. Those attacks became the subject of a 1969 book by Jack Olsen titled “Night of the Grizzlies,” and later a documentary by the same name. Those attacks can be linked directly to garbage, as I emphasized in a story I later wrote for Smithsonian magazine.

In addition, I have written many other bear stories and am providing links to postings about bear behavior — and about some of the tragedies.

(Note: all these bear images were made with an 800mm lens. I don’t search for bears, but am prepared to photograph bears using a tripod-mounted camera setup.)


———————-

More  Bear Postings:

Night of the Grizzlies

Bears Now Ready to Hibernate

Is It a Black Bear or a Grizzly Bear?


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 »

Biking To Logan Pass

posted: June 7th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  There could not have been a more perfect day for my daughter and son-in-law to make the 32-mile round-trip bike ride from the parking lot at Avalanche Campground to Logan Pass, an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. At this time of year, the road is open for bicycle riders and emergency vehicles only.

Though it was cool when we departed we quickly shed our windbreakers, then progressed along McDonald Creek. Almost immediately the Going-to-the-Sun Road began to climb, passing first through a tunnel, then to the West Side Loop where we took a few photos back dropped by majestic Heaven’s Peak, which I once climbed.


2016 06 06_2524 Tunnel GNP-Bike-1


L to R:  Departing from near Avalanche Campground the Going-to-the-Sun Road soon begins to climb; tunnel just above
Packer’s Roost and just below West Side Loop; West Side Loop back dropped by Heaven’s Peak.


From the Loop our ride passed dozens of water falls and the climb was demanding. We stopped at Bird Woman Overlook where we had lunch, then rested, we continued our ascent to Weeping Falls, which at this time of year was absolutely gushing with snowmelt. From there the grade only seemed to increase, and unfortunately both Angie and Will were experiencing great pain on their “undercarriages.”  To reduce further injury both decided it would be prudent to turn around, agreeing that we’d reunite at the West Side Loop; unfortunate as they were so near the top.  But anyone who has ridden the thin saddles associated with road bikes knows that it takes months of steady riding to generate the proper “callouses.”

Meanwhile, I continued the climb to Logan Pass.


GNP-Bike-13

Weeping Wall, and early June is perhaps the ideal time to bike past this rush of snow melt.

 

An hour later I rode into the snow-cleared parking lot at Logan Pass. Leaning my bike against a towering snow bank I spent an hour or more photographing the incredible fields of snow still remaining. The Logan Pass Visitor Center was literally covered with snow and was certainly not yet ready to greet the summer hordes.

Though it took me several hours to ascend to Logan Pass, from there it was all downhill, which I enjoyed — coasting along at about 30 mph. That seemed like a sane speed, but apparently not everyone agreed. On the way up we’d almost collided with some downhill riders who must have been cruising at dangerous speeds, perhaps 45mph.

AND THAT MAY ACCOUNT FOR THE DAY’S SAD EXPERIENCE.

As Will and Angie approached the West Side Loop they encountered a small group gathered around a lady who had either crashed or been hit by as an out-of-control rider. Blood covered the road where she was laying and she was immobile.


GNP-Bike-2 GNP-Bike-6 GNP-Bike-7


L to R:  Angie AND  Will break for lunch back dropped by Bird Woman Falls. 
Logan Pass Visitor Center engulfed by snow, and certainly not ready for hordes of visitors that will soon
so completely inundate the area
that parking will be impossible for any who don’t arrive at the crack of dawn.


Park ranger responded quickly. An emergency helicopter soon flew in and took her to the hospital. We have no idea what the outcome might have been.

Certainly that was a very unfortunate incident, but other than that our day was glorious, and we later agreed that this is the best way to experience the park. By July, hordes of visitors have massed, and when that happens, numbers are so many that in recent years there has been no parking at Logan Pass.


———————————-


THIS TIME THREE  YEARS AGO:

Biking Going-to-the-Sun


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 »

Bear Spray Works!

posted: October 3rd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Four days ago (September 29, 2015) a 65-year-old man hiking alone in the Many Glacier Valley of Glacier National Park surprised a sow grizzly, which attacked him. The sow had two cubs and shee responded to instinct, which had conditioned her to protect her offspring by charging.

The grizzly bear grabbed the man apparently by the lower part of his leg and shook him. Struggling for his can of bear spray the man successfully deployed the spray causing the bear to release the hiker and leave the area.

Though the man had puncture wounds on both his hand and his leg he managed to walk about a mile to his car and then drive himself 30 miles to an emergency center in Cut Bank, Montana. Doctors treated the man then released him where he continued on with his itinerary.


gb-12818 BearSpray5 StupidPhotographers

 

Hikers frequently encounter grizzly bears in the Many Glacier Valley, and should always be prepared to respond with bear spray. 
Some hikers invite trouble, as these two hikers who cut me off from the safety afforded by traveling further down the Ice Berg Lake Trail.


Though bears in the Many Glacier area often encounter hikers, still most bears try to avoid contact with humans, in part because of good bear management in Glacier National Park. People who ignore the rules are generally ticketed, and had a ranger been in proximity to the people who cut me off several years ago as they tried to get the “perfect” bear picture, they would have been ticketed. As it was this image appeared on the front page of the Daily Interlake where I had hoped for an embarrassment factor.

But the events of just two day ago were different. The man was doing nothing wrong although the park strongly suggests that visitors not hike alone. It’s assumed that several people hiking together have less risk of surprising a bear. Simply put: more people make more noise.

Nevertheless, the man was alone — but did exactly what he should have done. He was carrying bear spray and he managed to keep his head and deploy the spray, a gaseous substance laced with oleoresin capsicum, a very harsh form of red pepper.

Conclusion? Bear Spray works!


————-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

West Point’s Historic Cemetery — Where our Parents now Rest


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 »

Duck Lake Grizzly Bears

posted: July 24th, 2014 | by:Bert

THIS IS MY FIRST BLOG POSTING IN OVER SIX WEEKS, ESSENTIALLY BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN HAVING TROUBLE WITH FLICKR.  I HAVE, HOWEVER, BEEN POSTING ON FACEBOOK.  BECAUSE BLOG POSTINGS REACH A DIFFERENT GROUP AND BECAUSE I USE MY BLOGS FOR REFERENCE, I’LL SUBSEQUENTLY BE POSTING HERE SOME OF MY FACEBOOK ENTRIES FROM THIS PAST MONTH.  THE POSTING BELOW COMES FROM ADVENTURES OF THIS PAST WEEKEND AT DUCK LAKE LOCATED  JUST EAST OF MONTANA’S GLACIER NATIONAL PARK.


©Bert Gildart:  Highlight for me this past weekend was seeing a sow grizzly and her two very-near-adult cubs on an open expanse of prairie near Duck Lake, which is located just east of Montana’s Glacier National Park.


Cattle At Base of Chief Mountain


Fritz and Ami had invited Janie and me to spend the weekend with them in their guest cabin, adjacent to their log home.  I’ve known Fritz since reporting for my first job in Glacier shortly after graduating from high school.

While at the cabin Fritz asked me if I wanted to patrol some of his pasture land and check the integrity of the fence line.  The offer was hard to pass up as the prairie was near the height of its flowering beauty, and it was all backed by the east slope of the Rocky Mountains to include Chief Mountain, which I’ve climbed several times.  As we topped a hill on Fritz’s four-wheeler we saw our three grizzlies ambling toward a grove of aspens.  They were about 100 yards away.



DuckLake-6 DuckLake-5 DuckLake-7

 

L to R:  Chief Mountain backdrops blanket flower and sticky geranium; Chief Mountain backdrops a variety of prairie
flowers; Fritz and Amy and their prairie log home.

The wind was blowing hard from them to us and Fritz stopped the four-wheeler.  We climbed off and marveled at their size and power, watching until they finally sauntered off and disappeared into the woods.  Bears have poor eye sight and we questioned whether they even saw us.

Our sighting topped a weekend of admiring flowers, photographing Chief Mountain, hiking and playing cribbage in the evening.  It is hard to envision a more perfect weekend.

———–

 

Books That May add to your travel pleasures


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 »

Glacier and the Absolute Joy of Early Season Biking

posted: May 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Winter is slowly releasing its hold on Glacier National Park, as prevailing conditions reveal.  Park plows have cleared a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road; bears are beginning to emerge from hibernation, and with warming temperatures creeks are beginning to rise.

For those of us who enjoy cycling, it means that during the week we can now bike about 10 miles (20 miles round trip) along the famous road.  However, on the weekend, when snowplows are not running, you can bike as far as road conditions allow; and right now that’s about another ten miles.  In another week or two, the road may be open for cyclists all the way to Logan Pass.

Biking-GTS-8

Cycling through an avalanche slide in GNP

 

Yesterday, the decision whether to wait for the weekend or ride Thursday, was an easy one. This weekend it is again supposed to turn wintery, but yesterday, skies were blue and temperature soared into the high 60s. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the features we saw were interesting enough.

This past winter huge avalanches had roared down the sides of Mount Cannon, Mount Brown and Mount Vaught and the devastation had been dramatic.  Trees had been snapped just as though they were matchsticks, and boulders had careened down mountain slopes.  Bill Hutchinson (a former Glacier ranger) and I could see the results shortly after we passed the turn off to the park’s Avalanche Campground.

Biking-GTS-4 Biking-GTS-5 Biking-GTS-6


ALL IMAGES IMAGES CREATED THURSDAY MAY 1ST.

L to R:  Early morning reflections on Lake McDonald; Bill Hutchinson  stops to examine small avalanche; visiting with patrol ranger,who along with a few road crew trucks is all that will be allowed on Going-to-the-Sun Road.  This creates ideal conditions for cyclists.

Because the road is closed to the vehicular traffic, essentially bikers have the road to themselves, and that further helped to create a particularly enjoyable day.  And that is  just the way it will remain until park managers are satisfied there will be no more snow slides, which could create a logistical nightmare  for motorists. If a slide suddenly barred a motorists from his return route, it could result in a very uncomfortable situation.

Last year Going to the Sun Road remained closed until mid-June, but this year, because of the immensity of the snowpack it could remain closed even longer, and for many of us shout “Hurrah.”

For those of us who enjoy seeing Glacier when it is unfettered by the several million summer cars that now pass over the road after it is opened, early season cycling is the way to go.


—————


ABOUT THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Mountains of Snow Mantle GNP


HERE ARE SOME BOOKS THAT MAY ENHANCE YOUR TRAVELS:


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 »

Is Glacier as Beautiful As It Was 4-years Ago? Who Knows

posted: October 14th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Images posted here show the way Glacier National Park appeared four years ago to the week.   Presumably the glory is there this year, but we don’t know for sure as the park is still closed.  However, we do have memories, and because of our images Glacier certainly remains alive for us.

For Janie and me not only do our images recall a beautiful time in the park but they also recall a wonderful week of camping in Many Glacier and then hiking into the lovely mountain that surrounded us there.


GNP6993 StMaryFall GNP7445


L to R:  Bohemian waxwing with snow berry, St. Mary Valley, rainbow in Many Glacier Valley.

 

In four short days Janie and I amassed a series of photographs that included bears, moose, several species of birds and absolutely stunning scenics that took in fall color and a rainbow.

The bear I photographed was huge and most of the girth was fat, which nature intends to be used during the long months of hibernation.  Images of the bear were used in our book entitled Glacier Icons.  The book not only contains first class images but essays that help bring the park alive.  Some of the essays are distillations of stories previously published in Smithsonian, Travel/Holiday and many RV magazines such as Airstream Life and Trailer Life.  There is also a story from Highlights for Children about the Ptarmigan, a Bird of the Snow.

Though snow is moving down the mountains here in western Montana we’re keeping our fingers crossed Glacier – and certainly all the other parts of the government currently closed – will reopen.  If that’s the case we may yet have the opportunity to enjoy autumn in Glacier National Park, something we’ve never before been denied!


——————-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

Dramatizing Heat of the Desert Sun

 

BOOKS TO ENHANCE YOUR NATIONAL PARK TRAVELS:


 

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 »

Government Shut Down? Sequestration is Bad Enough

posted: September 29th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Here’s one of the spinoffs from sequestration: long waiting lines for bladders that are straining.  Now just image what will happen if there is a full blown government shutdown.

The setting is Logan Pass just a few days ago, and because of a lack of funds, restroom facilities throughout Glacier National Park have been curtailed.  What does that mean?  It means you meet with others behind a bush or you stand in a line that may stretch as much as a city block. Meanwhile your bladder suffers.  Can you wait?


GlacierFall-3

Bathroom lines resulting from sequestration. Now imagine a government shut down.

 


But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to a full blown shutdown, though it’s significant to me.

In national parks, sequestration means that campgrounds are shutting – or have already shut.  In Glacier, campgrounds at Two Medicine, and Many Glacier have already shut, and fall is typically a time Glacier National Park is at its very best. For me, a photographer, that’s not good news.  Just a few years ago, Janie and I parked our Airstream at Many Glacier in October and photographed fall color, interesting birds – and one of the hugest grizzly bears I have ever seen.


MG-grizzly

Many Glacier campground is now closed because of sequestration. Seeing such beautiful animals is not an option this year.

 

The bear was fattening up for its long winter sleep.  Photographing it was a rare opportunity and could only be done in fall.  The campground was an ideal location, but that’s an opportunity that won’t be available this year.  Many Glacier is closed!

Of course national parks are just a small part of the government, but if I understand correctly, it means all government employees (not postal workers) will be out a paycheck.  Presumable that means government custodians won’t receive pay checks, and that means more bathrooms will be close.

Expect long waiting lines if you go into any government facility that might somehow still be open. And forget about camping in some of Glacier National Parks most beautiful area.  Just won’t happen this year.


—————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Hopi Art at the Grand Canyon

 

BOOKS THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR MONTANA AND SHENANDOAH ADVENTURES:

 


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 »

Hanging Out As Storms Break

posted: September 22nd, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  For the past five days we’ve been hanging out in Glacier National Park reading books, listening to rain thumping on the roof of our Airstream, and then, when the spirit moved us, doing a bit of exploring by biking, hiking and driving.  As it turned out all the preplanning in the world could not have provided a better delegation of time.  For one thing, we managed to take in one of the most inspiring of times in Glacier National Park, and that’s when storms  lift over the park’s majestic mountains, easily seen at Glacier’s lofty Logan Pass.

GlacierFall-9

Airstream parked at Glacier's Apgar Campground providing ideal retreat for "hanging out."

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE POSTED HERE TO VIEW LARGER

 

We made the drive to Logan Pass excited by information one of our neighbors in the park’s Apgar Campground provided.  He said he had driven through a violent snow storm among the mountains on Logan Pass.  He said it “was the season’s first blizzard,” and that tomorrow, the pass should still be covered with snow.  He said we should expect fog and “brilliant cloud formations.”

Next day we followed the man’s advice and discovered that he was right. About midway up Going-to-the-Sun Road, fog enveloped us.  But we kept driving and in due time reached the 6,646 foot-high pass.  We did a storm dance, celebrating as the clouds opened and closed, exposing as they did a dozen craggy snow-covered peaks.

GlacierFall-4 GlacierFall-5 GlacierFall-2


L to R:  Signs along trail at Logan Pass; more signs at Logan Pass warn of bear danger (less we think than created by urban malcontents);
flags at half-mast, because of tragic shooting in Washington, D.C.

Logan Pass visitor center was still open, and as we walked up the stone steps to the fog-muted building we noticed that both the American and Canadian flags were flying at half-mast.  That prompted questions, which soon informed on the tragic shooting in Washington D.C.  Distant as the capitol city was, the overwhelming beauty of  fog and clouds swirling around Logan Pass helped mute the horror – and soon obscured it.

Departing the Visitor Center we hiked a short trail that warned us we were entering grizzly country. But we hiked on – for Janie and I are both inclined to believe we are safer among the bears than we are among the urban malcontents.


GlacierFall-7

Clouds breaking -- then reforming -- provided one of great moments of our day of "hanging out."

 

We hiked for an hour, and then returned to our truck.  Fog still drifted in and out, and it engulfed us.  Sometimes we slowed but before long we were back at our Airstream, building a fire, baking potatoes in aluminum wrap over a cozy fire.  Cooked in this manner they require about 45 minutes.  We then lighted a portable cooker and roasted a couple of steaks, which we synced for readiness with the potatoes.  We topped that off with a glass of wine, then retired to the trailer, where we continued reading our various books. My choice for the evening was Lawrence Sander’s Fourth Deadly Sin; and that, folks, has to do with Pride, the fourth cardinal sin.  It is good escape reading!

Tomorrow would be a different day, and we thought we’d hang around, simply to see what it might bring, perhaps more storms.  Whatever, the day would prove satisfying, and finding such glorious contentment represents our current mission in life.


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Grand Canyon


BOOKS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL IN MONTANA AND GNP


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 | 4 Comments »

Memorable Adventures

posted: September 10th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  I’ve had extra time on my hands these past two months and have been using it to sort through old transparencies, deciding which ones to toss and which ones to save and scan.  Organizational efforts have helped recall many interesting events, and I’d like to share several images associated with two particularly memorable adventures.

One story results from a time in 1991 when Janie and I worked in Arctic Village, Alaska, as summer school teachers.  It was an adventure in part because of all the national attention focused on possible oil explorations; and it was dramatized one July day that summer when Max Baucus, our state senator, bush-planed in – wanting to learn more about the subsistence life style of the Gwich’in Indians who inhabited Arctic Village. At the time Baucus served on a committee that had questions about drilling in the Arctic Refuge.  The village was contiguous – immediately so – with the refuge and Baucus wanted to learn how drilling in the refuge would affect this most northern of all Indian tribes. (Eskimos live further north.)


MaxBaccus

Montana Senator Max Baucus with Johnathan Solomon and Chief Trimble Gilbert (center) in 1991.

 

I knew Baucus from a climb he and I had made in 1981 to the top of Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.  The mountain was famous because waters from the top flow in three directions: to the Atlantic, Pacific and Hudson Bay.  In those years I had worked the valley for several summers as a park ranger and because I had mapped out the route I was the logical guide.

Likewise as teachers in Arctic Village I knew village leaders and Janie and I were honored to make introductions (we still stay in touch with Trimble Gilbert).  Baucus departed enchanted with this remote way of life and has forever remained supportive of efforts to preserve the refuge (ANWR). Baucus is currently in the news as he has decided to retire.

The other event, which might make you wonder just how qualified I was to lead Baucus up Triple Divide  Peak occurred in 1988, 26 years ago now to the month.  The mishap resulted when four of us, to include my good friend David Bristol, with whom I later climbed Mount Rainer, and I got stranded on Chief Mountain, also in Glacier Park.


ChiefMountain

Chief Mountain

 

David and I had checked out several weather sources prior to departing, and as we reached the top, blue skies engulfed the peak.  Halleluiah, and  so we lingered, but as we started back down, a freak weather system began to emerge.  Harsh winds blew in accompanied by dark clouds.  Before long we were shrouded by so much fog that visibility was reduced to zero – certainly a dangerous situation.  Prudently we stopped and huddled that night around a small fire, trying to keep dry and warm as rain and snow beat down.

Next morning skies miraculously cleared and we descended.  When we were about 100 yards from our car we were surprised to encounter a rescue team.  Later, a park official reported to our local newspaper that the team had discovered us in a near hypothermic state – and that it had saved us.


Chief-Mt-Climb

Ascending Chief Mountain 27 years ago. Note storm moving in. It was unexpected.


Our pride was damaged and we wrote to several newspapers saying that we were not “disoriented,” and that the team had not “led us back to our car.” I concluded my remarks saying that we were grateful to the park for their efforts but that we modern day men of the mountains have our pride – then emphasized (as did my friends) that “We had not been saved.”

In addition to stumbling across old memories I’ve used the past two months to prepare for a bicycle riding event, called the Huckleberry 100.  The event offers riders three courses, a 25-mile route, a 50-mile route and a 100-mile route.  I’ve chosen the 50 mile route, and I must emphasize that this event is not a race.  For me it will be a victory simply to complete the course.  The event is this Saturday and Janie will be taking pictures.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Bryce and the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine

BOOKS TO ENHANCE YOUR ADVENTURES IN GLACIER, MONTANA AND SHENANDOAH NP.

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 »

Oil Development on The Chief? Almost!

posted: August 16th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The spectacular and regionally-recognized monolith known as Chief Mountain has the distinction of straddling the border between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.  Just recently The Chief has been in the news, but for all the wrong reasons.  Though the Blackfeet say the mountain is a spiritual mountain, Nations Energy LLC convinced some members of the tribe’s Business Council that it should be allowed to plow up the land around the chief and drill for oil.  According to some, authorization enraged so many members of the tribe at large that duly elected members of the council cancelled the lease.  Cancellation occurred three days ago and that is significant as devotees of The Chief had scheduled an anti-drilling protest for this Saturday, August 17.

The gathering was to be held at the base of this historic and scenic mountain, and its purpose was not to stop nation-wide oil exploration, rather it was to stop explorations that would have undermined lands most tribal members consider to be spiritual.  The gathering intended to call attention to the area’s immense beauty and to its history.  It intended to point out that the lofty escarpments contained by The Chief are administered by Glacier National Park, and explorations would have compromised this spectacular Montana national park.


11148

Despite spiritual significance to the majority of Blackfeet Indians and its proximity to Glacier, Nations Energy LLC wanted to plow up the land and drill here for oil. Until just a few days ago that was the intent. (File photo)

 


Because the mountain assumes such classic proportions, it attracts climbers who respectfully approach The Chief from the park side rather than from across the tribe’s spiritual lands.  Over the years I have climbed the Chief on four separate occasions and reported on my climbs for the Parade Section of the Great Falls Tribune.  As well, my relatively new book Glacier Icons, contains an essay on The Chief.

Though the lease has been cancelled for now, greed always looms large, and down the road you can be assured oil companies will attempt to wheedle their way back to the tribal council.  I hope my book entry will encourage you to follow the ways of the Chief and help the tribe’s majority who serve as watchdogs for The Chief.  I hope it will acquaint you with area history.  And now an excerpt from that essay.

xxx

©Bert Gildart: It is weather patterns that help make Chief Mountain—that giant monolith located along the park’s northeastern flanks—appear to be such an imposing and intriguing structure.  On some days the mountain is back-dropped by robin-blue skies while on others it is shrouded in clouds and then swirled by winds that screech like a predatory bird.

Despite its challenging appearance, many have climbed the mountain, but the first was an Indian who was lured to the mountain for his vision quest.  Though he knew others before him had not returned, the warrior dragged himself and a bison skull to the Chief’s summit and began fasting.


11206

Lands surrounding The Chief are of spiritual significance to most Blackfeet. Up until a few days ago, the plan was to tear up the land and drill here for oil. (File photo)

 

He remained for four nights, using the skull for his pillow, pacing the rocky pinnacle, chanting warrior songs while attempting to make peace with the gods who were to decide his destiny.

The Spirit of the Mountain attempted to drive him off the peak but, at last, on the fourth night, it yielded.  The Mountain Spirit assured the brave that no peril of battle or of the hunt could overcome him.  He died of old age, the greatest of Flathead warriors.  But just before his death he told the young men of the tribe the source of his powerful medicine.

No white man climbed the peak until 1891, when Henry L. Stimpson (Secretary of State under President Hoover and Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt) and two friends, one a full-blooded Blackfeet Indian, made the second documented ascent.  Stimpson found the weathered remains of an old bison skull, which he left on the very summit where his party found it, wedged among the rocks.

Today, many have come to realize that there remain reasons other than the chance discovery of an aged skull to make the very long-day’s climb to the mountain’s peak. There are the incredible views and the immensity of geological time. But there is also a sense of accomplishments, knowing you have followed in the path of a great chief.


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO YEARS AGO:

Fall Beauty Means Glacier is Still Packing Them In


BOOKS THAT WILL HELP YOU ENJOY YOUR TRAVELS

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 »

Majestic Mountains Prompt Memories — One Mysterious

posted: June 7th, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here are a few more images made June 1 during a 33-mile-ride (16.5 miles each way) along Glacier National Park’s famed Going-to-the-Sun Highway to Logan Pass. These images complement my last posting and all continue to generate memories, one which remains a mystery.


LoganPass (12 of 14)

Going to the Sun Mountain backdrops cyclist at Logan Pass -- a mountain still revered by Native Americans. In 1962 David Wilson climbed this mountain, then he disappeared.

 


My adventures in Glacier began in 1961 when I spent my first summer in this northwestern Montana national park.  Next summer I returned and climbed Heaven’s Peak with David Wilson, a college student and fellow seasonal employee who left a legacy that has subsequently been shrouded in mystery.

One week after climbing Heaven’s Peak, Wilson, probably about 20, made a solo ascent of Going-to-the-Sun, signed the log – and then he disappeared, and has never been heard from since. (Images of the significant mountains are here included.) The park organized a massive search party, but no luck.  Bob Frauson, district ranger at the time in St. Mary and former member of the elite 10th Mountain Division, led the search and later said that he liked to think Wilson had used the climb as a ruse to cover his flight to South America.  (Of course there are other scenarios.) If Frauson were alive today he might liken the disappearance to that of Christopher McCandless, the disenchanted young man featured in book and movie entitled Into the Wild.  Frauson always thought Wilson had family issues which he was trying to evade.


LoganPass (11 of 14) LoganPass (2 of 73) LoganPass (2 of 14)


Majestic mountains prompt memories and include: Mount Clements; Bird Woman Falls nested between Mount Oberlin and Mount Cannon;  and last, Heaven’s Peak, which
backdrops me and which I climbed in 1962 with co-worker David Wilson.  One week later, Wilson climbed Going-to-the-Sun (top image)  and then disappeared. 

 

My image of Going-to-the-Sun Mountain  is also germane to understanding the inherent problems in clearing Going-to-the-Sun-Road of snow, for it approximates the location of the Big Drift, the huge snow bank that is still covering this famous road.  Winds off the Continental Divide blow vast quantities of snow down and onto the road, and, invariably, this is the final challenge for crews working the snow plows.  Most likely Going-to-the-Sun huge banks of snow will continue to plug the road in and around the Big Drift area for another few weeks.

Cycling Going-to-the Sun Road also promotes many other recollections and includes: hikes along the Highline, lilies, Goats at Logan Pass, Global Warming – and Night of the Grizzlies – to mention a few.

And now I’ve got yet another memory, which is cycling to Logan Pass.  In the future, this memory will trigger vast quantities of snow and recall the chance to bask in what may be the most beautiful place in all of creation.  That, of course, is subjective and impressions can’t help but be associated with all the allied memories that crop up each time I return to Glacier. Some of those memories are further included (and professionalized) in Glacier Icons (see below), which contains appealing photographs and much-touted essays based to some extent on the dozens of magazine stories I have written about Glacier.  If you’re visiting this magnificent park and want to understand its features, you need this book!

 

————————————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Avian Actors

 

BOOKS YOU SHOULD HAVE:

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 »

Mountains of Snow Mantle Glacier’s Logan Pass

posted: June 2nd, 2013 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  As I approached Montana’s Logan Pass this past Saturday, June 1, I was surprised when another cyclist — peddling back down from the summit — suddenly asked my age.   “I’m 74,” he laughed.  The he began committing on our magnificent surroundings, reflecting on our luck for still being  part of it.

Though I never did provide a precise response regarding age, I did remark that, yes,  we were lucky we could still bike to this 6,680 foot high pass. It not an easy ride, but it is the only way  to reach this pass in early June, for although the road is plowed to the summit, it is not yet open to vehicular traffic, and from the pictures included here, you’d be correct in concluding that it won’t be open for yet a few more weeks. You’d also be correct in assuming that for me, at any rate, seeing this spectacular pass before the hordes of humanity mar the uncluttered winter snows was worth every ounce of energy that I expended.  So it must have been for my new friend.


LoganPass (17 of 2)

Lone biker dwarfed on June 1, 2013 by vast amounts of snow.

 


In short  this is good news for cyclist. It means that on the weekends you can enjoy this magical part of the world without having to contend with vehicular traffic.  During the week snow plows are clearing the road of snow and rocks – and even a few trees that have careened downhill, uprooted by the power of  an avalanche.  Maintenance crews are now  preparing the road for the two million summer visitors that will soon start driving this same road, once it is safe and when visitors can access the restrooms, something they can’t do now (see below).

To bike this segment you must park your car at the Avalanche Lake Parking lot, mount your bike and then peddle along this 16 mile-long section of the Going to the Sun Road that climbs almost 4,000 feet.  Saturday, lots did it and though cyclists were mostly “young kids” in their 30s and 40s, a few were more mature.


LoganPass (14 of 14) LoganPass (13 of 14) LoganPass (7 of 14)

CLICK TO SEE LARGER VERSION


L to R:  Set up for self portrait near Logan Pass; snows releasing their vast quantities of water near Haystack Butte; sorry, folks,
but toilets (building in foreground) not yet open.  Visitor Center shown in rear.

 

What I’m saying with these thoughts is that Logan Pass (The Polga family — and grandchildren — will remember this great goat outing) seems to represent a challenge on whatever level you strike out, and perhaps that’s because we know it is a challenge just to open the pass.  Road crews work closely with avalanche specialists who monitor the 34 avalanche paths along the road below Logan Pass. To assist with safety the park hires an avalanche technician who usually hikes above the road to watch snow conditions and warn the crew below if an avalanche is imminent. Tragically, two people died in 1958 when an avalanche hit the plows they were operating.


LoganPass (9 of 14)

Narrow path courses through deep snow at Logan Pass with riders leaving and arriving.

 

It is these very conditions that factor into the opening and closing dates, which usually occurs about the 2nd week of June and then remains open through October.  It is these very difficulties that have also created one of the nation’s most exciting (and yes, challenging) all-day bike rides.  Along the way I saw a black bear and some of the world’s most incredible scenery. I also remember — and vividly so — that as I approached the top my thighs were really starting to burn!

Because I am a “mature” rider I took about four hours riding to the top.  At the summit I then poked around on the pass taking pictures for about an hour.  Riding back was, of course, a piece of cake though again I dawdled, simply enjoying the beauty of June 1, 2013 in Glacier National Park.  It is something we’ll be able to do for yet a few more weeks before the park officially opens, and if my “new friend” and I can do it, then most anyone can. Believe me, it is worth the scorching sensation in leg muscles, for there is also a real sense of accomplishment that only comes when you have experienced  something that is  grand.


 

———————————


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Protecting Our New Airstream — Are We Going to Extremes?


BOOKS THAT WILL HELP YOU ENJOY MONTANA AND GLACIER NATIONAL PARK:

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 »

Glacier Icons – A beautiful book of essays and photography

posted: November 15th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: In 1903 writer, editor, and naturalist George Bird Grinnell expressed his thoughts in Century Magazine about this land he had come to love, calling the area the “Crown of the Continent.” From the mountain goats who linger by the visitor’s center on Logan Pass to the crystal-clear glacier-fed lakes, from the magnificent views from the Many Glacier Hotel to the old-growth forest landscape, visitors will find much to ponder and enjoy within the pages of Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent.

 

Bird Woman Falls Glacier National Park

Bird Woman Falls, Glacier National Park


His image of and descriptive story about the magnificent glacier-carved landscape in the far reaches of Montana brought about the creation of Glacier National Park in 1910.  Grinnell’s description is apt, but it is just one of the collective descriptions that evokes iconic images of Glacier, also called the “Land of Shining Mountains: and known by millions of visitors for their own personal stories and connections to its magnificent vistas and small wonders.

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent contains fifty essays in a book measuring 7×7. It contains 102 pages all filled with thousands of facts and almost 100 color photographs of iconic people, places, events, foods, animals, traditions, and more from all part of this great national park.



SAMPLE ICON:Hard, wind blown snow comes early to the park’s high peaks. It drives the elk down into the low country, it covers the boulder-strewn home of the mouse like pika, and it sends the powerful grizzly bear scurrying to its den for a long winter’s nap. In fact, the rugged alpine country forces just about every type of creature to leave or hide. But there always remains a beautiful little one-pound animal, a bird called the ptarmigan.


ptarmigan photo Avalanche Creek Waterfall Black Bear Cub Grizzly Bear Photo Bull Elk Bugling


I met this strange bird while cross-country skiing with a ranger friend in Glacier National Park. At the time it was five below zero, and the wind was howling through the trees. Both of us were bundled in heavy down coats, warm leather mittens, and thick woolly long johns. Around us, the snowy world through which we plodded seemed a mighty deserted place. But suddenly, not more than a half dozen paces away, sat six balls of puffed-up feathers. They were pure white, as white as the snow over which we traveled, and it seemed strange that they had not taken wing. Confident in their ability to blend with the landscape, apparently fear was not part of their nature…


WHAT READERS ARE NOW STARTING TO SAY:

*We were privileged to get an advance copy of this book (because Emma is in one of the photos), and I have to say it’s really beautiful. Anyone who is a fan of Bert’s photography in Airstream Life will love this book. It certainly has inspired us to start thinking about a trip to Montana, to see the incredible beauty of Glacier again. In the meantime, Bert’s book is a wonderful peek “inside” this great national park. Rich Luhr, Editor, Airstream Life

*What a wonderful addition “Glacier Icons” is to the vast inventory of great books written about that world renowned park.  The way you put it together makes for easy reading.  I like it.  Bob Haraden, Superintendent Glacier National Park 1980 to 1986

*As a book author I’m envious; as a photographer I’m downright jealous… Hundreds of facts not many of us know about Glacier National Park, what really is the best of the Last Best Places in Big Sky Country. Trust me folks…Ol’ Bert knows. And he knows how to show it and tell it big time…If you have any idea of ever visiting or just wanting to tour Glacier seat of pants style…YOU NEED THIS BOOK…over and out…Chuck


You can buy Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent right here, from the authors. We’ll send it to you by USPS, and we’ll even autograph it for you with your choice of inscription. We use PayPal to allow us to take credit card orders. You don’t need to have a PayPal account, you can use any credit card, and the merchant (Bert and Janie) never sees your card number. And PayPal is very secure.

  • 102 pages ~ 100 photographs ~ 50 iconic locations
  • Get an autographed copy of Glacier Icons
  • $16.95 plus $2.50 shipping








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Sexton Glacier, One of the Park’s Last

posted: August 12th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: This past Friday Matt Rigg, one of my best hiking buddies, and I hiked to Siyeh Pass along a trail that is essentially a 10-mile loop.  The trail is a challenging one and ascends several thousand feet; but as it courses it winds through one of the park’s most incredible alpine areas.  In June glacier lilies carpet the landscape and they in turn attract grizzly bears, who bulldoze their way to the species’ delicious bulbs.


SextonGlacoer (13 of 13)

Sexton Glacier



In August, the landscape is still lush with wildflowers, and as we hiked we saw the crimson-colored monkey flower, the lavishly fringed silky phacelia – and the trumpet-shaped gentian with its deep shades of blue.

ONE OF THE LAST

Beautiful as the immediate landscape was for me the hike was climaxed by the sprawl of one of the park’s last remaining sheets of ice, Sexton Glacier.


SextonGlacoer (4 of 13) SextonGlacoer (3 of 13) SextonGlacoer (2 of 13)


Matt Rigg dramatizing a successful climb; cairn at summit of climb; blue gentian


The glacier is a beautiful one, but it has vastly diminished in size since I first saw it back in the ‘60s. And it’s not alone!  In the past 100-plus years Glacier Park has chronicled not just the recession of many of its glaciers, but their actual disappearance.  In 1910 the embryonic park hosted 150 glaciers.  But since that time world temperatures have risen dramatically, and, today, glaciers in this park number but 26.

EIGHT YEARS REMAINING

Park scientists say glaciers are much like a canary in a mine and their disappearance portend much changes. They serve as water reservoirs, and tell us as well that we should expect to see major changes in the makeup of the park’s flora and fauna.  Park climatologist Dr. Dan Fagre believes all glaciers in the park will disappear in just eight more years, and over the years I’ve reported on some of the expectation for a variety of publications.

Though the massive ice sheets that once graced Glacier are retreating, Matt and I agreed that because so many of the park’s major features were created by the power of moving ice (moraines, arêtes, hanging gardens, etc.) that there should never be a park name-change.  In other words, it will always be appropriate to call the million-plus acres comprising this area: Glacier National Park.


SextonGlacier (11 of 1)

Hikers beginning descent from Siyeh Pass

 


And so we hiked on, complacent in the knowledge that decisions that will affect the world lie with the next generation. About all we could do is enjoy the here and the now and the overwhelming beauty of the few glaciers that still exist in the year 2012.

Vast fields of flowers and Sexton Glacier made it easy to do just that.


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Airstream Travels Last Summer

*Floating Montana’s Wild & Scenic Missouri River

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(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon or you can order them directly from the Gildarts.  Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25.  The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT  59911.)



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Goats of Glacier’s Hidden Lake

posted: July 22nd, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  The view from the Hidden Lake Overlook is one of Glacier National Park’s most spectacular, but goats and the chance to show family the spectacles all combined to add another dimension.


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One of the many goats which make the Hidden Lake Overlook area its summer home.

 

That said we almost didn’t make it.  We had planned to drive from the park’s West Entrance to Logan Pass, but when we arrived at the entrance station rangers informed us that a mudslide had closed the west side of Going-to-the-Sun-Road.  (A link here to a video of the mudslide.)

Logan Pass, however, was still open, but to visit this high point along the Going-to-the-Sun Road we would have to drive an additional 2-½ hours to the park’s east side, and access the pass from St. Mary.  Of course I said I was unsure (which means no mendacity) about the extra driving time, believing that no one should leave Montana without a visit to the famed pass, so my motives were pure.

We started the 1.5 mile hike from the pass at about 2 p.m. and reached the overlook an hour or so later.  Our group consisted of Janie’s daughter Karen, husband Alun, and the three grandchildren, Cassie, Griff, and Piper.  And, of course, it included Janie and me.


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L to R: Karen, Griff, Cassie, Piper and Alun, searching for goats, grizzly bears, Columbian ground squirrels, ptarmigan and hoary marmots, and having some luck. (CLICK ANY IMAGE TO SEE IT ENLARGED.)


The upper portion of the trail was covered with snow which added to the challenge of the hike, but that’s where we saw goats.  Alun and Piper (the youngest) may have seen the first goat, which approached them from a nearby boulder field.  Moments later we saw a nanny and a kid, then an entire group of about seven.

Karen encountered one just as she departed from a grove of trees, and I’m not sure which of the two was the most startled. Except for the small kid, all the other goats were in the process of shedding their fur, and much had accumulated on branches in nearby trees.  At this time of year, adult goats appear to have the mange, but all fur grows back by early fall as the animals  prepare for the onslaught of winter’s snow and cold.


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L to R:  Billy goat overlooking Hidden Lake, Nanny with kid, protective nanny.


Without a question, our most spectacular sighting was that of a lone billy (male) sanding on a rock prominence overlooking Hidden Lake.  Surrounding us were mountains with names such as Heavy Runner, Bear Hat, Clements and Reynolds.  And in the middle, tucked into a glacial cirque, glimmered turquois-colored Hidden Lake, much of which was still covered with winter ice.  Flanking the lake were also thousands of glacial lilies, a flower associated with early spring, and that is precisely what it was in this park of grand and lofty mountains.


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Goat approaching Hidden Lake Overlook, GNP

 


More than anything Cassie had wanted to see a hoary marmot and on the way back down, she got her wish. Griff had wanted to see a grizzly bear (in the distance!), and often that happens, just not on our trip.  Though there was a bit of wind, the day really seemed perfect, and I’ll be anxious to see just how this group feels about this long day’s trip, say a month or so down the line.


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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS ONE YEAR AGO:

Montana Sleazy Saloon Tour

 

GILDART BOOKS FOR SALE: 

(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon or you can order them directly from the Gildarts.  Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25.  The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT  59911.)



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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Glacier Icons

posted: July 12th, 2012 | by:Bert

© Glacier Icons: In an effort to promote my new Glacier book, now in bookstores, I been providing newspapers with a “news release.”  The release has promoted several interviews, which will hopefully translate into sales.  Because I have absolutely no shame, I’m including it here with the thought that anyone planning a trip to Glacier will benefit from a purchase, which can also be made from us, as noted below.


BW-Falls

Bird Woman Falls

 


HERE’S THE RELEASE: For over 50 years Bert Gildart has been active as an outdoor journalist logging in time with newspapers and magazines.  As well Bert has published 17 books (several with his wife Janie) and this year Globe Pequot (Falcon Press is an imprint) is releasing three in that tally.  (The synchronicity of publications results from the Gildarts’ staggered workload.)

One of the books concerns Shenandoah National Park and was coauthored with his wife, and there will be more about that one later. The other two concern Glacier, out now, and Montana, to be released in September.

Glacier Icons consists of 50 essays and 50 large images complemented with smaller images embedded in the text.  To some extent the work is a distillation of hundreds of magazines stories free-lanced over the years to various periodicals such as Field & Stream, Smithsonian, Airstream Life,  and Montana Magazine.  Materials for essays were also derived from his many years of newspaper work and cover everything from the park’s disappearing glaciers and its management of grizzly bears to the beauty of a ptarmigan hunkered down in the snow.

w-t-ptarmigan GNP-11908 G-bear 52167


Glacier Icons contains over 100 images, some of which have appeared in major magazine and book publications. L to R: Ptarmigan, hoary marmot, grizzly along slopes of Many Glacier just prior to hibernation, bull elk bugling. Other images are equally as dramatic.


Gildart’s interest in outdoor journalism initially resulted from summer work in Glacier National Park.  In the 1960s Bert was a floundering college student (on the Dean’s List for both social and academic probation) with absolutely no goals.  Following a whim, he boarded a Greyhound bus in Washington D.C. and headed west for a summer job in Glacier.  Subsequently he enrolled at Montana State College and, there, he buckled down, again (as he tells his children) making the Dean’s List.

The years mounted and what started as a single summer in Glacier snowballed to 13, subsequently as a ranger with much (and it’s no exaggeration to say “nationally acclaimed”) involvement with grizzly bears.  The northwestern Montana park continues to work its magic and Gildart believes Glacier Icons is infused with some of the grandeur that helped to alter a floundering way of life. The book is often anecdotal and contains the information visitors need to understand this northwestern Montana park.

You can order the book from Amazon or you can order it directly from the Gildarts.  Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25.  The grand total then is $18.20. Please send check to: 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT  59911


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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS ONE YEAR AGO:

*Virginia City’s Brewer Follies — It May Not Be For Everyone


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Exploring Anza Borrego With Life Long Friends

posted: March 10th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: About a week ago life-long friends Dave and V.V. Shea flew down from Montana and have been exploring parts of Anza Borrego Desert State Park with us. I think they are beginning to understand why we’ve become desert rats, and why we’ve been making winter visits each year to this part of the Sonoran.



Dave&VV-5

Trail through Indian morteros and pictographs concludes at incredible overlook of Smugglers Canyon.


 

I met David in Glacier National Park (This link is about my new Glacier book, mentioned below. Lots of pictures.) back in 1966, where we both served as rangers.  We both were involved in the park’s first fatal grizzly bear maulings.  David was at Granite Park Chalet where I was at Trout Lake, and each of us shot the grizzly bears that were thought to have killed the two girls that one night in August of 1967.  David married V.V. 30 years ago and then he and his bride packed into Belly River Ranger Station.  The historic station is the park’s most remote station, which is according to David and me, another word for “the best.”


Dave&VV-4 Dave&VV Dave&VV-12

 

L to R:  Trail to Smugglers Canyon Overlook provides opportunities to study ancient Kumeyaay Indian pictographs and morteros.  Another outing took us through Split Mountain to a trailhead that lea to caves sculptured  by wind, called therefore, “Wind Cave.”


Both David and I say that it was in part because of our experiences in Glacier that our interest in natural history mushroomed, and appropriately, David eventually worked as a permanent botanist for the Forest Service.  He is also a first-class writer and editor and has published a book on Glacier’s Chief Mountain.  As well, he reviewed the manuscript on my new book Glacier Icons, so for a host of reasons we were delighted they wanted us to share Anza Borrego with us.

David and V.V. both enjoyed our camp at Pegleg in part because the nights are so clear and the stars so vivid.  One evening we saw five planets: Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn.  Seems as though David knew every single one of the 88 constellations, and he says his interest in astronomy began when he was in high school.

During the day the four of us made a number of hikes several to old Indian ruins, the others to see desert vegetation and the park’s incredible geology.  While here, the four of us hiked to an overlook that peered down onto Smuggler’s Cave, to several Indian morteros, to a panel of Indian rock art, and to an area known as Wind Caves.  We also made the drive to Sonny Bono to see owls, the subject of my last posting.

So far our only disappointment is that we have not found bighorn sheep, but that’s OK, for people should always leave a place wanting more.


AND NOW A NOTE: David, you should be here now as huge flocks of Swainson’s Hawks are flying north from Argentina. We saw them last night flying over our campsite.


AND YET ANOTHER NOTE TO OUR READERS: Finally our book Glacier Icons has hit the Amazon books shelves, and is described as follows:


From the mountain goats who linger by the visitor’s center on Logan Pass to the crystal-clear glacier-fed lakes, from the magnificent views from the Many Glacier Hotel to the old-growth forest landscapes, visitors will find much to ponder and enjoy within these pages. In 1903 writer, editor, and naturalist George Bird Grinnell expressed his thoughts in Century Magazine about this land he had come to love, calling the area the “Crown of the Continent.” His image of and descriptive story about the magnificent glacier-carved landscape in the far reaches of Montana brought about the creation of Glacier National Park in 1910. Grinnell’s description is apt, but it is just one of the collective descriptions that evokes iconic images of Glacier, also called the “Land of Shining Mountains” and known by many millions of visitors for their own personal stories and connections to its magnificent vistas and small wonders.

Glacier Icons contains fifty chapters filled with thousands of facts and hundreds of full-color photographs of iconic people, places, events, foods, animals, traditions, and more from all parts of this great national park.


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THIS TIME FOUR YEARS AGO:

*Exploring Glacier’s Highline

 

 

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Glacier Icons — Guaranteed to be A Winner

posted: January 9th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here at Pegleg the New Year was ushered in with barely a peep, but shortly thereafter all sorts of good news begin filtering in.  Based on news from the first week of 2012 this could be a pretty good year for Janie and me.


BW-Falls


First, I’ve just received an advanced copy of my new book, Glacier Icons, and I think (obviously)  it represents high-quality  work.  Though the book consists of about a hundred  images, essentially the book takes 50 large photographs (such as the one above and four  below) and complements them with an essay.  Smaller images round out the stories.

EXCERPTS:

Typically essays are relatively short, but each packs in much information. Here are a few introductory excerpts:


*Throughout North America, many species of wildlife engage in ritualistic contests to determine male order of dominance.  In the animal world, few contests are more vigorous or the ritual more complex than among mountain sheep…

*When one compares the various traits of the grizzly with those of the black, there is one distinct feature that immediately separates the two species. That, of course, is temperament…   There is reason for this behavior which is linked with environmental features that existed long ago…



GNP-11908 w-t-ptarmigan G-bear 52167



* Hard, wind-blown snow comes early to the park’s high peaks.  It drives the elk down into the low country; it covers the boulder-strewn home of the mouse-like pika; and it sends the powerful grizzly bear scurrying to its den for a long winter’s nap.  In fact, the rugged alpine country forces just about every type of creature to leave or hide.  But there always remains a beautiful little one-pound animal, a bird called the ptarmigan…

SHIPMENT ON WAY

In several weeks we’ll have a shipment here at Pegleg of Glacier Icons.  The book will sell for $16.85, and certainly we’re hoping that anyone going to Glacier might  purchase a copy. Of course, you’ll be able to get it in Glacier or from Globe Pequot, but get it from us, and I’ll autograph and provide a personalized note.


There is yet more news.  I am flattered that Bill, a fellow blog writer, singled out some of my photography and made it the focus of one of his postings.  One day I’ll have to reciprocate, as I believe Bill is not only an excellent writer, but a top-notch photographer as well.


OldRag-3

Ascending Old Rag

 


The other good news is that Globe Pequot has just shared with me the cover of a book about Shenandoah that Janie and I spent last summer updating.  This, our fourth edition of Hiking Shenandoah, is much expanded and includes more on natural history.  Additionally, all images are in color. The cover depicts Adam Maffei standing near Dark Hollow Falls.  But the book’s interior  also includes one of him climbing Old Rag, shown here.

There’s more yet to report, but I’ll save that for another posting.  In this posting, more than anything else, I hope you’ll  think, Glacier Icons.


NOTE: From Chris (Where The Bear Walks), I have just learned of the sad passing of Roy Ducat, companion of Julie Helgeson’s in Night of the Grizzly.


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Airstream Travels Three Years Ago:

*The Compulsion of Borrego Badlands


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Fall Beauty Means Glacier is Still Packing ‘Em In

posted: September 15th, 2011 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Amazingly, Glacier National Park’s Two Medicine campground was almost full, leaving us with the challenge of parking our 30 foot Airstream in one of the less desirable sites.

But the challenge of parking was worth the effort.  Fall is already exhibiting its first sign and it is gorgeous, particularly in the Two Medicine Valley.

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Two Medicine campground and Airstream, squeezed into one of few remaining campsites. Orange from mountain ash berries means it is fall.

 

Over the years I’ve spent much time in this northwestern extreme of the park, and posted on it often, particularly as a Many Storied Valley.”

Most notably I worked here for a month following the devastating flood of 1964.  At the time I was working on a park labor crew, and our assignment was to clean up all the debris created by the exceptionally high waters of Upper Two Med Lake. The flood cost many people their lives.

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Mountain ash, fall harbinger

Our crew lived in a tiny “Trail Crew Cabin”, and we stayed here from mid September through the end of October, when snows shut us down.  During that time we saw moose, goats, bears and all the various species of vegetation, such as mountain ash, which is one of the most conspicuous and one of the first harbingers of autumn.

But now, many years later, Two Med for Janie and me is simply a stop over, as we are now back on track after many interruptions. We’re working on a book about Montana and on several magazine assignments, all of which will take us into the eastern part of this diverse and fascinating state.

Interestingly for the technocrats, the addition of two extra batteries (total of four) has enabled us to operate well out of a campground that has no hookups.  Last night the temperature dropped to 39, so we kept warm running our furnace, which gobbles up the power.

But we still had plenty of umph to run the water pump, and yet plenty more to operate my computer and an external hard drive, all needed to create this blog.

However, there is no internet connectivity, so this post has actually been made from Havre, Montana, which boasts an underground Chinese section and a buffalo jump, which we are anxious to see.


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THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Shenandoah Monarch Butterfly

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“Perfection” in Glacier National Park May Also Presage Disaster

posted: May 12th, 2011 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Considering all the years I have spent in and around Glacier, I’m sure there have been other days I’ve enjoyed  in this magnificent northwestern Montana national park just as much as the one I enjoyed yesterday,  but I honestly can’t remember when.


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Angel Wing reflects in Swiftcurrent Lake

 

Yesterday I teamed up with Jim Andler, an old friend, and we departed Bigfork about 5 am, then made the two and a half hour drive to Babb, Montana. From there we drove along the Many Glacier Road to a barricade,  meaning we had seven miles to cycle into the Many Glacier Hotel.  Though the road has been plowed motorist are excluded while further spring maintenance continues. When weather is like it was yesterday that makes it one of the very best times to visit the park, particularly for the cyclist.

DAY OF PERFECTION

The day was perfectly clear and there was absolutely no wind.  We began cycling about 7:30 and as the day warmed we could feel the coolness from the four- and five-foot-high snow banks that still lingered.  The air was so pure that we could smell sap from trees that had been recently sawed and then removed by spring clean up crews. As we rode, we saw three moose and lots of elk and sheep tracks.  Skies were dark blue and helped dramatize the snow-capped mountains.


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CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.  L TO R: Grinnell Point reflecting in Swift Current Lake; Many Glacier Hotel.

Because  we stopped often to take pictures, it took Jim and me about two hours to reach the hotel. For much of the way, Sherburne Lake flanked our left and it was still iced over. Soon we passed Grinnell Falls and then we arrived at Swift Current Lake, and though it was mostly frozen portions had opened near the shore. Because there was absolutely no wind, the reflections were near perfect and my bank account was happy that I was shooting digital rather than film.

RECORD SNOWS

The historic hotel flanks the  Grinnell shore and much snow still remained piled along its sides. Newspaper tells us that current snow depth is 59 inches or –  put in other words — Many Glacier is 500 percent above the 30 year average. That means melt waters could well flood the first floor of this historic hotel. As is, about one third of the hotel will be closed this summer for restoration. Flood waters may necessitate yet  further closure.

Yesterday temperatures around Glacier approached the 70° and if the unusually warm weather continues,  flooding in and around the park could be intense. The next few weeks will be crucial.


Moose-1 Many Glacier-15 Many Glacier-4


CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.  L TO R: Moose along road into Many Glacier Hotel; Jim Andler cycling beneath mountains still shrouded with winter  and spring snows; Grinnell Falls.

But yesterday, disaster was something that was difficult to envision. Jim and I ate lunch in the shadow of mountains with names such as Apikuni, Grinnell, and Angle Wing.  As we sat, periodically we could hear booming sounds, and we watched as the melting snow released it heavy loads and then cascaded along the slopes of Grinnell Point.  We departed about 2 pm and an hour later were back at the truck, assisted a bit by mountain breezes – making the day about as perfect as it can ever be.


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THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:


*Arrow Leaf Balsam Root — Another of the Flathead’s Spring Spectacles

 

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