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 'Outdoors' Category

EXPLORE — Enjoying America’s National Parks from your RV

posted: November 13th, 2018 | by:Bert

HERE ARE SOME IMAGES from a book that will soon be available in print form.  When published, in January, the work will represent the culmination of about 14 years of working with Rich Luhr (publisher of Airstream Life Magazine). It will cover the love the two of us have for what many say is “America’s greatest idea”.  As Rich wrote, “Bert has been contributing to Airstream Life magazine continuously since 2004.
“He is known for his romantic and inspirational articles about national parks and other American destinations, and for his incredible photography (especially wildlife photography). He also happens to be the only person to contribute to every issue since the magazine began in 2004, other than me.”

FRONT COVER/BACK COVER

RICH’S WORK in national parks is also in depth, and if you have followed his  blog you know that his family has visited lots of national parks over the years. Visiting the parks has been an obsession that started even before he had an Airstream, and over 20 years later the family is still actively seeking out more every time we get in the Airstream. (Flaming Gorge Nat’l Rec Area, in recent posts, is an example.)

Rich and I have talked about writing a book together, but it was only a couple of years ago that we got serious about the idea, and settled on a format.  Rich refers to my contributions as a “warm & fuzzy style of travel essays about a few selected national parks.  He says his style is more of a “here’s how you do it.” We both agreed that because we are very different writers the final presentation would provide a better understanding of our national parks than could be provided by any single writer.

The book is called EXPLORE: Enjoying America’s National Parks From Your RV.  We used the term “RV” instead of Airstream because the book can be useful to any RV traveler, but as Rich wrote, “just between you and me, you’ll find photos of Airstreams almost exclusively on the pages.”

This is book Rich and I have wanted to write for many years. We have both given slide shows about visiting America’s National Parks at rallies, and have found that each time the room was packed. Though the book is currently in layout it should be available by January 1.  In published form it will run about 170 pages and measure 10-3/4 by 10-3/4. It will include approximately 150 high quality, story-telling images.

————–

SOME MORE SAMPLES FROM OUR LATEST BOOK (From Rich’s Blog)


Discover the romance, fun and adventure of exploring the U.S. National Parks from the comfort of your Airstream.

Bert Gildart and Rich Luhr bring you their decades of RV travel experience in this spectacular collection of photos and first hand accounts. Their stories and images will inspire and prepare you to begin visiting the 400+ National Parks yourself.

Each chapter of the book alternates between Rich’s practical how-to tips and suggestions for planning a national park visit, and each chapter of the book alternates between Bert’s inspiring first-person accounts of some of his most memorable adventures. Lavishly illustrated with photos from national parks, this book is both a beautiful coffee-table book and a useful guide.

The book is scheduled for release in January 2019, but you can reserve a copy now at a discounted price. Normally $24.95, your advance purchase will be just $18.00 including shipping in the US & Canada. It will be shipped automatically when copies are in stock.

Reserve your copy at this discounted price by clicking here

184 pages, softcover, 10 3/4″ x 10 3/4″ Collectors book format

Bert Gildart has had a five-decade career as a nationally-recognized wildlife photographer and author whose stories have appeared in dozen of magazines to include Smithsonian, National Wildlife and Travel & Leisure. He has been a regular contributor to Airstream Life magazine since the magazine’s inception. Bert has also written fifteen books, seven of which were national park guide books coauthored with his wife Jane Gildart. The couple travel often in their Airstream and have visited hundreds of national parks.

Rich Luhr is Publisher of Airstream Life magazine, and author of The Newbies Guide to Airstreaming as well as The (Nearly) Complete Guide to Airstream Maintenance. With his family he has visited well over 140 national parks by Airstream.

Reserve your copy

 

——————–

A STORY ABOUT THE YEARS JANIE AND I HAVE SPENT TRAVELING IN OUR AIRSTREAM, OFTEN EXPLORING OUR NATIONAL PARKS. LOTS OF ADDITIONAL LINKS:

http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2009/10/11/airstream-and-our-100000-miles-on-the-road


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Ghost Forest

posted: August 6th, 2018 | by:Bert

GHOST FOREST: Two weeks ago (about the 20th of July, 2018) Janie and I camped in Glacier National Park at the Two Medicine Campground. During that time I made a hike to Scenic Point and that was memorable.

But even more memorable was the “ghost forest,” through which I passed. Wraithlike trees have been flanking the trail for decades and were most likely killed by blister rust, an exotic disease brought over from England.


LimberPine-6

Limber pine tree killed by white pine blister rust.  Age is dramatized by ravages of weather.


Significantly, my first job in Glacier (before I worked as a ranger) was on a park labor crew whose job description was to spray all five needle pines with a chemical thought to eradicate the spores that killed these trees. On the west side of the park’s Continental Divide these trees are called white pine, but on the east side, limber pine. Sadly our work was of little avail for blister rust has killed both species, hence the ghost forest.


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Lone limber pine ravaged by both disease and weather; forest of ravaged limber pine; Clark’s nutcracker.

THERE IS HOPE, however, that the tree has mutated and that the park is beginning to see a species that is immune from the disease. In other words, there has evolved a tree that is “genetically–free” from the death knell caused from the blister rust spores. Not many of these trees yet exist, but in the meantime, I think the “ghost forest” does have an otherworldly appeal.

Interesting as this story might be there is yet another aspect.  Cones from the two species make up an important component in the diet of grizzly bears, so the dispersal of cones is important not only for the resurrection of a healthy forest but also to a number of mammalian species such as the grizzly bear.

The “vector of dissemination” is the Clark Nutcracker, and a write up in an Audubon guide reports that the bird “harvests pine seeds in late summer and fall, carrying up to 90 at once in its throat pouch to bury them in soil on exposed slopes.” The report continues saying that a single bird may store 30,000 or more seeds in one season. The story is referring specifically, of course, to both of the five needle pines. Naturalists in Glacier tell me that bears can easily find these deposits.

I consider myself very lucky to have seen the Nutcracker perched on a limb near the porch of my house, and was able to record it using a tripod mounted 600mm lens.

———

 

TIME FIVE YEARS AGO:

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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Outdoor Writer Award

posted: May 13th, 2018 | by:Bert

OUTDOOR WRITER AWARD: Two weeks ago Janie and I attended an Outdoor Writer’s gathering held each year somewhere in the Northwest. The conference lasted almost a week and this year the NOWA (Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Associaton) conference was held in Choteau, Montana.  “The Front,” as the region is also called is renowned for its beauty, its immense deposits of dinosaurs bones, for its Native American history and because the Old North Trail parallels the small town.

But of particular significance (at least to me):  Each year awards are given at the conference and I was flattered beyond words (literally) to receive recognition for contributions made over the years as both a writer and photographer. It’s called a LEGACY AWARD, and others also received the award and that placed me into a group I’ve always admired.

 

Wiseman-24


Because Choteau is such a unique area, I took lots of pictures and suffice it to say that the small town  is placed in country that can stun the senses. But not to make it too appealing, you must be willing to endure winds that can blow like a Banshee.  But some enjoy the area and for reasons the following images suggest. In the Choteau area — if you are willing to hike — you can find teepee rings and piles of rocks arranged so an Indian brave could conceal himself in such a way that he could snatch an eagle lured to his bait. If successful in grabbing the legs, he would kill the bird for the spiritual value the feathers could impart.


AlWiseman-17 AlWiseman-16 AlWiseman-11

 

L. to R.:  Eagle Snatch built of rock; pasque flower, one of many
now in bloom along the Rocky Mountain Front; Peter Schroeder, Al Wiseman; David Shae.

But for the explorer there’s more: If you are really willing to hike, you can follow portions of the Old North Trail. The trail is thought to be over 10,000 years old and was used when migrants crossed Beringia, the proper name for that area created when a land bridge formed that would sometimes connect Alaska with what is now Russia. Beringia was just the beginning of the route, which is thought to pass by my old GNP ranger station, located along Cut Bank Creek.

Al Wiseman (https://crownofthecontinent.natgeotourism.com/…/cotd38ef3df…), a Metis Indian and much respected local historian and guide, explained to our group that the trail spanned from the Yukon Territory in Canada to New Mexico. At first travel was on foot, but later dogs assisted pulling cargo-laden travoises.


AlWiseman-8 AlWiseman-9 AlWiseman-15

L to R:  Simulating the development of a dinosaur, the embryo is genuine,
but the shell is taken from a local bird; Al Wiseman explaining his Metis background;
David Shea explaining significance of 10,000 year-old trail known as the Old North Trail, which runs near
Choteau.  Furthermore, the old trail ran by my old range station at Cut Bank in Glacier Park.

David Shea, a former ranger and friend for over 50 years who joined me in a talk about bears the two of us provided at the writer’s conference, also joined the tour, and, later, the two of us hiked the hills where he added more to the story. David has lived in Choteau for over 10 years and he, too, has become a local historian. In fact, David serves as a board member on the local history organization. Once, David found a spear point while hiking along the Old North Trail. University archeologists linked it to the atlatl – the predecessor to the bow and arrow.

Finally, for those interesting in learning more about the Old North Trail, here is a link to  Walter McClintock’s book about that subject. https://www.amazon.com/Old-North-Trail-Walter-…/…/B002E9HLW0. It’s been on my bookshelf for years, and portions read and reread.

——

THIS TIME 10 YEARS AGO:

By Their Beaks Shall You Know Them

 

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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Twenty Seventh Anniversary

posted: May 4th, 2018 | by:Bert

Twenty Seventh Anniversary:  Twenty-seven years ago – that’s May 4th, 1991 — Janie and I were married, and for the past few days we’re been recalling some of the highlights of our lives as a couple. At the time we were surrounded by family and friends and were married in New York by Methodist minister Tom Vancus, who had once hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

That afternoon we drove to New York City and spent the first night of marriage in the World Trade Center. We dined in a revolving restaurant that looked out over the city and then attended CATS, a Broadway musical. Tragically, we cannot repeat our stay at the World Trade Center.

We departed NY several days later, then drove to our permanent home in Montana, then on to Alaska. Back then I had a contract to teach in a summer school program at a remote Gwich’in Indian village known as Arctic Village. The superintendent, an old friend, was trying to bring in people with different backgrounds.


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My expertise was photojournalism, and for three more summers, Janie and I worked in several different Gwich’in Indian villages, to include Fort Yukon, Beaver, Rampart, Venetie and Arctic Village. At the end of our first summer we created a multimedia slide presentation, later made into a video and used by the Alaska Department of Education to acquaint prospective teachers with life in remote villages.

Originally, we’d planned to stay but one summer, but we became so enamored with their subsistence culture of caribou and fish, we continued to return, even doing so one winter. As well, we took up their cause to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, “birth place of the Porcupine Caribou herd,” writing stories for many major publications. We continue to support their various causes and remain friends with a number of the Gwich’in.

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Now, 27 years later, we’re still fulfilling assignments with various publications, most of which we cover from the comforts of our Airstream. The easiest way to summarize some of our experiences is simply to post pictures.

Accordingly I’ve included a small sampling of images from various spots in North America. Included are images of northern lights streaking over our cabin in the Arctic; an image of a four-month trip along the Yukon and Porcupine rivers; toasting one another near the Mojave National Preserve; and using a wheelbarrow to transport our camping gear to a site in the Dry Tortugas.  Finally, I’ve included images of the  Apostle Islands, and of an elk and our Airstream in Jasper, Alberta. You can see write-ups on some of the areas by following links to blogs which I’ve included below.

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It’s been a great life for Janie and me, and we hope to keep exploring North America for years to come, celebrating anniversaries where ever we might be.

—-


A FEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM ALMOST 1,000 BLOG POSTINGS


The Citadel, Preserving Quebec’s Peace

Return To The Everglades Anhinga Trail


Grand Pre, A Prime Contender For Designation as a World Heritage Park

Ghost Mountain

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Ulysses, As An Incentive to Travel

posted: April 3rd, 2018 | by:Bert


Ulysses:The words that follow here were penned by the famous poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and appeared in his classic poem Ulysses.  Academics viewed Ulysses as resolute and heroic, and they admired him in part for the thrill he derived from traveling.   Tennyson said that Ulysses… considered himself a symbol for everyone who wanders and roams the earth. His travels exposed him to many different types of people and ways of living. Ulysses declared that his travels and encounters have shaped who he is: “I am a part of all that I have met,” he asserts. And it is only when he is traveling that the “margin” of the globe that he has not yet traversed shrink and fade, and cease to goad him.

Much the same can be said for the modern day traveler and I have met several from the Airstream community who use the words that follow in Tennyson’s poem as an inspiration for their own travels, printing selections on the back of their cards.


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Traveling “Top of the World Highway” from Alaska to Dawson City, Yukon Territory


In an effort to embed these words in the minds of modern travelers I’m attempting to complement (actually an impossibility)  Tennyson’s words with a few of my images, hoping readers will find the combination relevant, for we’ve all had challenges to overcome, and if you are a steadfast traveler certainly you’ll remember days when the fates were unkind.   But memorize the poem and perhaps  some of your concerns will quickly fade.  That’s what several of my traveling friends believe and it’s certainly what my friend Burns Ellison believed, made clear one night as we were struggling to find our footing as we climbed over Alaska’s Brook’s Range, for that night as we sat around a campfire, Burns recited the words by heart.

But more pertinently, Ulysses is also a validation for the types of parks we’ve focused over the years, such as climbing  Mount Rainier or kayaking to the wreck of the Franciso Morazon.  We included these activities here as suggestions of what you may find following your own interests at a time when — just like Ulysses – you’ve gotten a little older and been “made weak by time and fate…” But like Ulysses — and mostly likely many of our friends — we hope we’ve all remained “strong in will.”  For that reason we are still doing that which we enjoy most  – and that is traveling — believing our adventures have “shaped” who we are, and have enabled us to “find a newer world.”

So “Come my friends, ‘Tis not too late…”


-—–



AirstreamBison _DSC7004 SonoranMuseum-1


Come my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite the surrounding furrows,
for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,


20089 N-lights2 31220


Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

30276 JanieLadder Bryce2

One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

OldRag-3 41351 Bruce10953


—————-

 

MOUNT RAINIER: By the Grace of God and a Damn Good Guide


Kayaking To the Wreck of the Francisco Morazan


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 »

Jerry DeSanto, Glacier Park Ranger Extraordinaire

posted: April 1st, 2018 | by:Bert

April 2018, and I thought I had published this shortly after his memorial service held September 2017.  Sorry!  Apparently I published it only on Facebook.  Again, sorry.  I prefer this format to the much more difficult to access one on Facebook.


DEDICATION: “To men such as Jerry DeSanto, who offer the hope of preserving outdoor skills still needed by contemporary rangers.” From my book “Montana’s Early-Day Rangers” published in 1985 by Montana Magazine.

This past Sunday (September 17, 2017) a group that must have numbered over 150 gathered at the home of Karen Feather to celebrate the remarkable life of Jerry DeSanto, Karen’s “significant other.”

Jerry was one of the most remarkable outdoorsmen I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  I first met him at a Wilderness Association meeting in Great Falls, Montana, and I was flattered when he invited me to join him on a cross-country ski trip.  And so, several months later, I found myself   x-country skiing from the East Glacier Ranger Station across Lower Two Medicine Lake to the snow-shrouded ranger station now remembered as Two Medicine Ranger Station.  Gathering wood from the stack of firewood outside we kindled a fire in the station’s old wood stove, and I knew I had made a friend when he pulled a flask of wine from his backpack also intended to “warm” us.


Jerry2


As the years went by we made a number of hikes into several other historic ranger stations, with him narrating the structure’s history.  As a man who’d withdrawn from a doctor’s degree program in history, his interests were obvious.  Of course most of Jerry’s hikes were solitary, but there were yet other events which recall his fun-loving nature.  Most memorable of all was the time my daughter got married along the banks of the North Fork River not far from Polebridge where Jerry was stationed for much of his career.

It was November14, 1997, and the wedding evolved into a wild night.  I had provided Angie and Will with a “Shot-gun Wedding,” and here’s where Jerry came in.  Right after the wedding we proceeded the short distance to Karen’s Northern Lights Restaurant/ Saloon.  Karen had prepared meals for the entire wedding party, but first, of course, we needed a bartender.  Jerry was there and he served as one of the best ever, making sure our glasses remained full.



JerryDeSanto-7 JerryDeSanto-2 TwoMedR-Station


Sadly, several months following Angie and Will’s wedding Jerry was patrolling the backcountry when he fell ill, later to be diagnosed with herpes zoster. Tragically, the disease progressively reduced this vigorous man until he had to be placed in a nursing home, but during the entire time Karen remained by his side on an almost daily basis.  And so it continued for almost 15 years, until this past August, when he finally passed away at age 88.  Appropriately, Karen announced a memorial which attracted people from all over the country.

In attendance was former Glacier superintendent Bob Haraden (now in his 90s). Of course there were many other former Glacier employees, most of whom I know and now call good friends.  Included here are a representative of a few of those individuals whom I was able to photograph.  They include, Bob Haradan, Chris McEwan, Dan O’Brian, Jack Potter, Bill Hutchinson, and Rich Thompson playing guitar with David Stanley.  I wish I had been able to find Fritz Royer and Karen when I had my camera ready.  Also included in this rather lengthy post is an image of old Two Medicine Ranger Station (torn down), and an image provided by David Shae of Jerry with a pack horse.


JerryDeSanto-6 JerryDeSanto-3 JerryDeSanto-12



This group was a remarkable one and as we sat around we remembered many events from Jerry’s life, but the one that got the most attention was the one recalling a mauling Jerry suffered by a sow grizzly while on patrol between Kintla and Upper Kintla lakes.

As the old newspaper report posted next to Jerry’s hat recalled, Jerry was the only ranger ever attacked and injured by a grizzly bear.  At the time (August of 1986) Jerry was 55 year old when the small grizzly pulled him from a tree. While the bear was on top of him, DeSanto tried to fend her off with his left arm.  He then cussed her and hit the bear in the face with his pack.  The grizzly ran away.

Though injured Jerry was back one month later where he continued with his life’s work.  As a devoted outdoorsman he helped preserve hundreds of acres in the North Fork as wilderness.  For all these reasons I maintain that Jerry DeSanto embodied the passion – and those many, many outdoor skills  — still needed by contemporary rangers.


——

Ten Years Ago At This Time:

http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2007/11/04/is-global-warming-real-look-at-the-photos

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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Biking to Logan Pass

posted: June 12th, 2017 | by:Bert

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road before it opens to vehicular traffic is an excellent way to see Glacier National Park.  But better make the ride just as soon as you can after the plows reach the pass (check the Internet), and that will be soon. A week or so after clearing the snow, the road will then be open for vehicular traffic transforming the area from a place of serenity to one that is so congested that impatient people will be blaring their horns — and parking at Logan Pass will quickly become a virtual impossibility.

Grand Canyon and Zion national parks have each made closures on a few roads, stipulating that during peak season only bikers and shuttle buses can enter.  Something like that may one day be necessary in Glacier to protect the resource.

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LtoR: Riding through a tunnel just before approaching the West Side Loop;
Access to Hermit’s Rest in the Grand Canyon is by shuttle and bike only; 
Logan Pass shortly after pass opened last year.


WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE:

Make the ride and then write your representative asking that the middle portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road be closed permanently to cars. Propose that Glacier follow the example of Zion and the Grand Canyon, which allow access to certain areas only by shuttle — and by bike. Last summer by 10 in the morning all parking had been taken at Logan Pass. Closure to vehicles might also eliminate visitors with shitty attitudes. The aged can still drive in these restricted areas, and so can the handicapped if they have a driver.

Here’s a repeat of a posting I made on Facebook serveral years ago that highlights the pleasure of BIKING TO LOGAN PASS. 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.

GNP-Bike-13

In June waters cascade down the most
appropriately named “Weeping Wall.”

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.

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 up to Weeping Falls, which at this time of year was absolutely gushing with snowmelt.

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.


GNP-Bike-2 Biking-GTS-8

Angie and Will Friedner pause en-route to Logan Pass, backdropped by
Bird Woman Falls;
Return form Logan Pass for a total of abut 32 miles,
which makes for a day of fun and health-filled activities

 

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.  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.

BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PARK:

Certainly that was a very unfortunate incident, but other than that our day was glorious, and later, WE AGREED THAT BIKING IS THE BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE PARK. By July, hordes of visitors have massed, and when that happens, numbers are so OVERWHELMING that in recent years parking spaces at Logan Pass are completely taken.  That’s when competition for parking gets mighty nasty.


———————————–


OTHER BIKING EXPERIENCES ON NATIONAL AND STATE LANDS:

Anza Borrego

Learning from Biking

 

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 »

Join Me

posted: April 5th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:   Consider this an invitation to some of my good friends (and their good friends) who are global warming holdouts. Join me this July on a hike from the Many Glacier campground in GNP to Grinnell Glacier; and though I promise I won’t suggest you are a retarded baboon (chuckle??) if you don’t believe global warming is real, I will point out that back in the early 1900s Grinnell Glacier extended from its current location in Grinnell Lake about six miles down and back almost to our trailhead.

GlobalWarming (1 of 4)


Trail to remnants of Upper Grinnell Glacier


Proof?  The B&W image shown here provides periodic comparison.  More proof?  If we’re lucky we’ll run into Dan Fagre (shown here in pointing toward his diagram).  He has a PhD in climatology, but, that doesn’t mean much to some.  Some will just say he’s educated beyond his intelligence.  Nevertheless, I must report that Mr. Fagre says that all park glaciers will be gone by 2030.


GlobalWarming (4 of 4) DanFagre11194 GlobalWarming (7 of 4)


Chart that chronicles demise of Grinnell Glacier; Dr. Dan Fagre points to Salamander Glacier, which once was part of Grinnell;
view from Grinnell Overlook of what was and what now is.


More proof?  This month’s (April issue) National Geographic magazine employees the following subheadings to support the meat of their article about “Climate Change.”:

1 THE WORLD IS WARMING.  2 IT’S BECAUSE OF US. 3. WE’RE SURE.

Yet More Proof?  Contact me mid-July and we’ll make the trek to Grinnell Glacier.  My objective will be to make a slight dent in the steel armor of any “Flat Earthers” who join me, and if I can’t do that I’ll admit that it is I, in fact, who is the ineffectual, dim-witted baboon.  But that said, we’ll have fun.


—————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Botanical Adaptations to Desert

 

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Sunrise Heralds Spectacular Day in Anza Borrego

posted: March 6th, 2017 | by:Bert

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


Sunrise

Saturday (3-6-17) morning sunrise

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


FLOWERS

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


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

 

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


BikeBorrego3-4-17 (3 of 4)

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

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


———————


Ajo Mountain Loop

Adventure Biking in Borrego Springs:

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


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | 1 Comment »

TOM ULRICH 1948 TO FEBRUARY 10, 2017

posted: February 12th, 2017 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Tragically, Tom Ulrich, a nationally renowned photographer, profoundly individualistic man, and genuinely good person, passed away early Friday morning. His demise has created a void for his many friends, and Janie and I know that includes us.

Tom and I have been buddies since the mid-70s when we shared the aspiration of becoming photographers, a difficult profession to break into.  Initially, Tom worked as a teacher, but he found the classroom too confining and decided to move to Montana where he lived out of his van until he built his own cabin several years down the road.  But in the 1970s he needed to balance his income, and to do so he tapped into unique situations.


TomU Buddy (2 of 2)

Tom Ulrich was a highly creative photographer.  His dog “Buddy” knew how to pose, at least for Tom.

 

At the time, thousands upon thousands of salmon would migrate each fall from Flathead Lake to the upper reaches of rivers and streams near Glacier National Park.  Their numbers would attract anglers interested in snagging the spawning fish, but in the course of doing so they would lose thousands of relatively expensive triple hooks. Here’s where Tom came in.

OLYMPIC TRY OUT: Once Tom had been an Olympic swimming tryout, and he took those skills to the river. Donning scuba diving tanks and appropriate garb, he would swim along river bottoms retrieving lost hooks. He’d then bundle them up and resell them at various outlets he had established. Pricing the lures at eight for a dollar, returns were significant, because of the high volume.

Before long Tom’s photo business began to boom but he never got so busy he couldn’t help friends, and often that included Janie and me.  To supplement our income Janie and I had rentals, and once, when we returned from a trip we found one in a complete mess.  Shortly thereafter Tom called and invited us for dinner but we declined because we felt we had to get the mess cleaned up.  Tom didn’t say a thing, but about an hour later he showed up and spent the rest of the day helping us clean the mess, and that included painting a wall. That night we dined.


From Mountain MonarchsBook (1 of 1)


MOST PHOTOGRAPHED  DOG?

As the years went by Tom was becoming well known, but I didn’t realize the extent until one day in Denali National Park.  Initially, other Alaska photographers informed us they’d seen Tom that winter in some far off place.  But here’s what blew my mind.  To visit Wonder Lake in Denali, visitors have to take the bus, and it was crowded, forcing Janie and me to sit apart. My seatmate was congenial and wanted to know where we were from.  When I said Montana, he said he had just been at a photographer’s log cabin near West Glacier.  “You can’t mean Tom Ulrich,” I almost shouted.  “Yes, he said, and he was taking care of a dog called Sinopah.”

Well that was our dog and then we started visiting about his dog Buddy, whom we’d care for when Tom was on the road.  It was a reciprocal thing but this anecdote is really about Buddy and Tom, and recalling all the prizes Tom won dressing Buddy (his beautiful golden retriever) up in so many various ways.  Sometimes Buddy was a skier adorned with goggles, other times an old man or woman, dressed with the proper hat… even a snorkeler. Janie and I also remember the birthday parties Tom had for Buddy.

To reduce the cost of travel Tom and I sometimes teamed up, and whether it was the competitive edge or simply the fact that Tom’s enthusiasm set the standard I don’t know.  But it is hard to beat the image Tom made of three bighorns in Jasper, which Northword Press used for the centerpiece of my book on Mountain Monarchs.  Why hadn’t I seen that drama unfolding? But at Bosque Del Apache, we pushed each other, and at the crack of dawn we both clicked as thousands of snow geese rose from the waters.  I’ll always associate my image with Tom, remembering his penchant for hard work, which drove him relentlessly.

 

Snow Geese

Tom’s enthusiasm for trying to capture the very best
image was contagious and had us both up at the crack of dawn at Bosque Del Apache.


And that may have been the key to his success, for he certainly achieved the objectives he and I had talked about so long ago.  He published in hundreds of different periodicals; created books; lectured widely; led photo tours around the world, but often focused on Africa and South America; and has made friends everywhere, as Linda Martin (Tom’s significant other) and her Facebook page so testifies. In the past few days, hundreds have posted comments about this highly motivated individual.

But more significantly, his photographs leave the world a better place.  You know the man loved nature, and because of the way he reveals it you are inspired to do so as well.



—————


A Few Blogs Which Included Tom:

Arctic Grayling

Tom Ulrich & Photography


4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy





Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Open those Stored Boxes. They Could Surprise!

posted: January 9th, 2017 | by:Bert

PearlHarbor©Bert Gildart:  It’s been many months since I’ve posted but there’ a reason.  During those months I’ve endured three surgeries to remove a precancerous polyp that was located between my stomach and the small intestine. The last surgery kept me in the hospital bed for 23 days.

That can all make a person a bit blue, so I’m trying to look at the positive side of things, and I really don’t have to look very hard.

First, is the uplift friends and family have created for me with their thoughts and prayers, expressed online as well as in cards and by telephone.

Though their support tops the list, there is yet another thought expressed by the photo to the right.  The time at home has enabled me to rummage through the dozens and dozens of boxes my parents left with me 15 years ago.  I was shocked by what I found, but most specifically by this ancient newspaper clip. It’s historic and could even be worth some cash, but I’ll never sell it.

It’s from the front page of the Honolulu Star published the afternoon of December 7, 1941.  It’s significant to me because I was there as a one-year-old toddler.  Obviously my parents were there and whenever army folks stationed on Oahu gather, well you know what they talked about.   I’ve posted on this event before but didn’t realize boxes in the attic contained such historic newspapers.  My dad was a history buff and I’ve got many more boxes to go.

Though I believe we’ll do a bit of traveling in March to see friends in Borrego Spring, by that time, if I can maintain my resolve, should you visit us you’ll see a very orderly house. That’s a bit of the good that will definitely come from this period of convalescence.

 

———————-

 

As an afterthought, and because I need to fill in more of this space, here are two images of birds struggling
YESTERDAY to find food.  Turkeys are drawn to an area immediately below our porch and bird feeders because the grain is often scattered
by the smaller birds.  But with all the cold and snow, they two are having a rough time exemplified by this dove.

 

Birds&Food (2 of 2) Birds&Food (3 of 2)

 

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE (Country was spectacular) :  http://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2016/01/16/challenging-mountain-biking-in-anza-borrego-desert-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 | 2 Comments »

Fire — The New Norm?

posted: August 24th, 2016 | by:Bert

JewelBasinSmoke-15

Jewel Basin hiking area August 22, 2016, about 9 A.M.

©Bert Gildart: On Monday morning about 9 a.m.,  August 22, 2016, this is the way the Jewel Basin Hiking area appeared from the porch of our house.

Smoke from a substantial fire in the Hamilton, Montana, area (about 100 miles to the south) had crept into the Flathead, muting the sun and obscuring Jewel Basin. At times like this conditions afford unusual photographic opportunities that can create stunning images.

On the flip side, my eyes are watering and my sinuses are partially blocked.

Scientists tell us global warning has increased the frequency of fires and the conditions you see here may become the new norm.  Oh my aching sinuses.

Of course the Jewel Basin Hiking Area doesn’t always look this way, though smoke muting the sun does presage future conditions.  But frequency could be reduced, offering a future more like what we saw last week while on a family hike to Mount Aeneas, one of the highest mountains in the Swan Range.

From our house the distance is  only about 10 miles to the Forest Service parking lot, known as Camp Misery, but that required about a 45 minutes because the last stretch of the drive is over a bumpy logging road. However, views along the way are spectacular.

HIKER’S PARADISE

The “Jewel” straddles the Swan Range within sight of Flathead Lake to the south, Hungry Horse Reservoir to the east and Glacier to the north.  It’s a hiker’s and backpacker’s dream and has more than fulfilled the promise which the Forest Service envisioned. The challenge, of course, is to maintain conditions so the area’s beauty and history prevail.

The area is characterized by glacier-carved peaks and cirques, which surround valleys dotted with 37 alpine lakes.  Fifty miles of hiking trails connect most of the lakes, and aside from getting from the valley floor to the basin rim, most of the hiking is not too strenuous. Several years ago Janie and I produced a guide to the Flathead and Glacier and we devoted a section to exploring hiking trails in this area.

From our guide book about Glacier and the Flathead Valley, the highest peak, Mount Aeneas, was named for an Iroquois Indian.  His name was Big Knife and he arrived in the Flathead valley sometime in the 1870’s and was adopted by the Kootenai people.  Somewhere along the way, his name was changed to Aeneas, a name borrowed from the Greek and Romans, meaning “Man Without a Country.”


FamilyPolga-9 FamilyPolga-8 FamilyPolga-10

 

L to R:  Family members Alun Polga and his son Griff test a flank that leads to Mount Aeneas;
Polga family pause at saddle en route to Aeneas; pausing at saddle where we recalled
famous John Muir quote:  Climb The Mountains and Get Their Good Tidings.


NATIVE USAGE: Also included in our book are quotes from one of the area’s noted hikers, who is a good friend.   Elaine Synder is a volunteer hike leader with the Montana Wilderness Association and she says that from the top of Aeneas you can see in all directions.  She says that your sweep includes vistas of early Indian settlements, some of which are thousands of years old.  “There are places,” says Synder, “that were used in the last century by Native Americans who camped, hunted, and gathered in the valley.” She says  there is evidence that the peak itself was an important perspective point for early day hunters, just as it often has been for us.


JewelBasin

Jewel Basin Hiking area, back dropped by the tan colored massive mountain, known as Great Northern positioned in this photo along horizon, far left. Many years ago, when my son David was 15, we climbed the peak.

 

On the day family members and I climbed and explored the Jewel Basin Hiking area the skies were perfectly clear.  In fact, though we were  surrounded by areas where fires were raging, the Flathead remained smoke free until two days ago.  Lighting, however, has torched off the vast forests in the Flathead Valley, now parched from weeks of hot temperatures and a lack of rain.  Not surprisingly, such conditions have produced forest fires — and now, of course,  smoke.

For those of us who believe the predictions of world scientists, I guess we’re getting a hint of what the future might bode.  Sad, because some of the deleterious aspects of our compromised environment  could have been forestalled.


——–

THIS TIME IN OCTOBER OF 2006

Graveyard Stroll in Nova Scotia


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 »

Ripe Mexican Marijuana Crop Now A Concern at Organ Pipe

posted: March 5th, 2016 | by:Bert


©Bert Gildart: Several days ago Janie and I attended a presentation in Organ Pipe provided by two U.S. Border Patrol agents.  It was an excellent talk, and we took away much information.   One thought, however, that sticks with us is that the marijuana crop is now ripe and drug dealers are now attempting to smuggle tons of it across the border that Organ Pipe shares with Mexico.

One of the agents said if we see people with huge backpacks most likely they’re smugglers and they may well be carrying guns.  “Leave the area immediately,” he urged, “and notify us.”  The agent went on to say smugglers don’t want to see visitors any more than we want to see them.  He said smugglers have scouts posted on hills with commanding views, and when they see Border Patrol agents they have signals that warn “the mules” to scurry back to Mexico.”  The two men also spoke about the skills members of their unit possess to track smugglers.



Dos Lomitas-5 BlackBottles SenitaLoop-6

Jane Gildart, who says that here she could jump across the border.  (The waist-high fence is for stopping cars.)
Dave Vedder with pair of black water bottles.  Black is used by most undocumented immigrants
because they don’t reflect sunlight; three hikers, which the landscape can easily swallow.

 

Securing the American border has a long history that can best be appreciated by hiking some of the park’s trails.  About a week ago friends from Tucson (Rich, Emma and Eleanor Luhr) joined us and we hiked to the Milton Mine.  The mine was named after Jefferson David Milton who was of the first people to patrol the area, doing so in 1887.  Davis rode horseback between Yuma and Tucson.

As we explored the area once patrolled by this now historic man, we found a few discarded water bottles and several worn out shoes.  We found carpet material, used by smugglers.  When placed over their boots fibers in the carpet obscure tracks.  One of the presenters noted, however, that some of their trackers have become so talented they can follow fibers through the brush.  Indeed, Janie and I were impressed by the described capabilities of men and women now attempting to protect the wonderful resources so unique to Organ Pipe.  For one month, now, Janie and I have been enjoying those resources.  Sadly, we may soon have to get on to other business.


HouseFinch CactusWren (1 of 1) GhostFlower


An infinitesimal representation of the plethora of life to be found in Organ Pipe, an International Biosphere Preserve. 
L to R: House finch helping to pollinate ocotillo, cactus wren, hibiscus.

 

While visiting this 330,688 acre preserve, we’ve ridden bikes and hiked trails.  We’ve enjoyed evening presentation and the clear night skies, and we have taken advantage of park shuttles, one of which took us to the Milton Mine trailhead.  Here, while hiking to the mine, sharp-eyed Emma (now 15) spotted a Cristata at the tip of an Organ Pipe.  Previously I thought the strange growth was confined to the saguaro.

As well, we’ve marveled at the various species of birds that have adapted to a life in thorns, most notably the cactus wren.


A-Mt-Bike2 EmaRichElanor AjoMtDrive-15


Organ Pipe provides magnificent biking opportunities; a day of hiking to both Milton and Baker Mine
where we observed artifacts discarded by illegal intruders;
Valentine Day celebrated with drive of the beautiful Ajo Mountain Drive.

Certainly the monument enjoys these natural resource features in part because over 90 percent of Organ Pipe has been designated wilderness.  Obviously that presents an immense management dilemma, especially now because the marijuana crop has matured necessitating an increase in surveillance.  Some of the patrol work is conducted on horse, but often, to insure visitor safety, they must respond urgently, and that means they must also use 4-wheelers.

“What do you prefer,” they ask pointedly, “thousands of illegals denuding the landscape, or us trying to ensure visitor safety and reduce environmental impact?”  The answer should be obvious for last year Organ Pipe was able to reopen the 60% of lands that had been closed.  But there is still work to be done.  Last year agents seized 100,000 pounds of pot, while in 2005, they seized but 17,000 pounds.  But hopefully these losses to smugglers will continue to benefit the successful program the Park Service has been implementing.


= == == ==

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

(Over the years I’ve written a number of magazine stories about OP and posted about a dozen blogs. 
Here are five examples.)

Organ Pipe1, Organ Pipe 2,
Star Light– Star Bright,

Natural History of Organ Pipe,

Airstream Camper Tips from Organ Pipe

OUR RECENT BOOKS

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 »

Allocating Water in Organ Pipe NM

posted: February 13th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: In the Sonoran desert, characterized in part by Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, everything seems to revolve around water, and generally, from the scarcity of it.

For the past few days as we’ve been hiking and biking the area, that fact has been driven home. Several days ago, we hiked to Red Tanks Tinaja, a formation that is configured to collect water, something it apparently does well, for the damp sands were stippled with the tracks of ungulates, perhaps peccaries or the endangered Sonoran antelope.

But more prominently it was impossible to escape the struggling beauty of saguaros embraced as they were by the limbs of the verdant palo verde. At the trailhead to the Red Tanks Tinaja, Park Service interpretive panels explained that saguaros have been here for almost 10,000 years. To survive, the panel explains that the seeds creating these trees thrive only when they chance to fall in the presence of a nurse plant such as the palo verde. In their embrace saguaros generally survive, for the thick-leaved plant can offer much-needed shade and sometimes, too, shelter from harsh rains. As well, the palo verde can hide its then-tiny charge from being seen and then eaten.”


compassionateTanks-3


Compassionate Water Tanks, to assist struggling life In Organ Pipe


Lastly, it has been impossible to forget my chance sighting last year of four compassionate water tanks located while biking one of the park’s more remote areas. As I’ve learned from reading the absolutely incredible book entitled The Devil’s Highway, many undocumented immigrants have perished while trying to steal through this park – hoping to find a better life in the States.

The tanks are still there, but this year it appeared as though they were seldom used. Nevertheless, in combination with the more natural features just described, they are all reminders that heat is a killer, resolved in part by the presence of water.


RedTanksTinaja-3 RedTanksTinaja-6


Red Tanks Tinaja helps collect water; palo verde shelters organ pipe seeds that have chanced to fall in its area of purview


Lesson? Carry lots when you explore, particularly now as the Sonoran winter gives way to an unexpectedly warm spring. Today, on this February the 13th, here at noon, it is according to our Airstream thermometer 97ºF – outside.

We have no hookups.


———————

 

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 »

Favorite Images From 2015

posted: January 5th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: As a photographer, the year 2015 has been a productive one, and I want to share 15 of my favorite photos in MY NEXT TWO posts. The selection was a difficult one, as it involved an editing progress that drew from over 10,000 exposures.


BurrowingOwls-20 BlackBear-5 DeerB-Meadow-20


L to R:  Burrowing owls must be resourceful to find nesting sites, even adjacent to the
Sonny Bono National WL Refuge; black bears
in Shenandoah may now boast highest N. American density; once deer in Shenandoah suffered near if not complete extinction, but not so any longer.


Essentially, selection was based on the story-telling quality of the image. In other cases the choice was simplified as it was the picture editor who chose the illustration to illustrate a story or section in one of my books, and that influence my choice.



AndreKeitt Boquillos (6 of 20) HairCut-1

L To R:  Talented actor Andre Keitt performs at Old Sturbridge Village, recalling ancestor’s heritage;
children in Boquillas respond to visitors who accessed the village from Big Bend NP; clipping wife’s hair, prompting many women
to believe Janie was perhaps the bravest of all travelers.


Use here on my blog and on Facebook  is more relaxed, and one of the images that made my favorite list was selected because so many readers responded. That’s the one of me shearing Janie’s locks, and, as you might guess, many respondents were “horrified” women.  When the two posting are complete you’ll see images of national parks, wildlife, night skies, and travel. You’ll note that often I try to include people interacting with the setting. (For additional images click on Shenandoah, Lake Meade, Sturbridge, Boquillas, and Big Bend.)


LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)


November 2015 Photo of Lake Meade dramatizing with a panoramic image the 100-plus feet of vertical depth the reservoir has lost. 
Who knows what the future holds, but this loss reflects the result of a 15 year drought — and perhaps an overuse by the nearby city of Las Vegas.


I hope these images stir you and create appreciation for our great land.  As well I hope they instill compassion for the critters that depend on this land and for a few of the inhabitants who have become special to Janie and me. Obviously there are are many more, but we couldn’t include  (or photograph) them all.

Happy New Year.

——

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

Adventures of Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane

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 »

Dark Skies and Chief Joseph

posted: November 3rd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Yesterday, for the month of November, the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association newsletter included my image of the Chief Joseph Battlefield.  In the past, the image has been used in a number of publications to include my book, MONTANA ICONS.

I think the image addresses several issues. With the North Star positioned at the top of the teepee poles (for other stars to circle around it), I hope the image suggests that after Chief Joseph’s desperate and near-successful struggle to escape the confinement of reservation life, the spirit of this famous Indian chief remains free.


Night-1

Tragically, this is the only place he might be free, for the U.S. government did not live up to any promises they made to him.

Joseph outmaneuvered the Army for several thousand miles, and though their numbers were few and the opposing forces many, Joseph proved himself to be a superior general.  Sadly, he was stopped just short of Canada, his destination, where he was hoping to join Chief Sitting Bull.  But the telegraph defeated him, bringing in General Miles at the Bear Paw Mountains. Sitting Bull, of course, had just defeated Custer, a man who graduated at the very bottom of his class at West Point.

The image also tells a story of Night Skies and asks a question, tacit though it may be.  How many places are left in the world where light pollution allows such clarity?

The answer is:  Few, very few!


—————–


LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME:

West Point, 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 »

HALLOWEEN HORRORS – ANTICIPATING THE MORROW

posted: October 30th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  HALLOWEEN HORRORS – ANTICIPATING THE MORROW

Children, children don’t be troubled,
We aren’t here to burst your bubble.
But listen first to the tale we make,
Before you eat your Halloween cake…

Picture now these words that follow during the walk you are just dying to make! We’ll be there to help make you merry throughout a night that you will forever take.

Listen now — and picture the images these words comport to make.


HolloweenHorrors-1


Hee, hee, hee.


In a cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog;
Wool of bat and tongue of dog.
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;

And now, hee, hee, hee… the refrain:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…

Gildart Ghouls, but FLESHED out with just a little help from William Shakespeare and his Macbeth.

We know what we are, but know not what we may be. Hee, hee, hee.


—————–


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Celebrating the Macabre


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 »

Rocky Mountain Airstream Rally

posted: September 13th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Several people have asked why no blog postings this past month, and the reason is twofold.  We have been extraordinarily busy, but I also assumed that  many who follow me on Facebook may also following me on my blog.  Apparently that’s not the case, so I’m going to try and make up for my neglect.

So what have we been doing?  We’ve been doing lots.  We’ve been tarring the driveway, and that took almost a week.  We’ve been completing work on updates for our Shenandoah reprint. We’ve been getting caught up with annual doctor appointments, seeing dentists for the much dreaded annual cleaning of our teeth — and we’ve coping with smoke from forest fires, writing stories for several magazines,  and putting together a slide show that proved challenging.

WALLY BYNUM RALLY

The challenge was not from content, but rather from the mechanics of using my chosen slide program.  Be that as it may, I’m glad I worked through the challenges because our audience proved to be a very attentive and enthusiastic group.  And now I understand the program.



AS-Rally-2

Airstream enthusiast gather at St. Mary, GNP, last destination of month-long tour of Rocky Mountains.

 


Our audience consisted entirely of men and women devoted to Airstream travel (us too! See: Our First 100,000 Miles), and indeed, this group proved to be an exceptionally well traveled one.  Several had towed Airstreams into South America.  Others had traveled throughout all of the Canadian provinces and throughout the Baja as well.  Independently, others had hiked the Appalachian Trail, climbed mountains and floated the Missouri.  This was an active group!

But back to the objective of this particular group.  This group was one assembled by virtue of the historic Wally Bynum Caravan Club, named after the man who conceived the notion that an aerodynamic trailer could best suit the needs of Americans seeking adventure on the road.  From the 1930s until his death in 1962, Bynum developed both a romance and an enthusiasm associated with recreational travel and adventure.  Today, his  philosophy still prevails among those who have purchased Airstreams.   Appropriately, the focus of this particular group trip was a broad swath of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, concluding, finally, in Glacier National Park.

And that’s where I came in.


GrizzlyBear KintlaLake


My Program concerned Airstream travel throughout N. America
concluding with a discussion of Bear Management in beautiful Glacier National Park.


Group leader Carlos Leech wanted a speaker familiar with the park and when someone introduced him to my book, Glacier Icons, Mr. Leech thought I qualified.  Accordingly, about a week ago I presented a digital slide show accompanied with a talk entitled: Thoughts about Glacier National Park, its Bear Management Program and our Airstream Travels.  In part, I assume, because of the program, Mr. Leech purchased a book for every Airstream couple.  And, of course, I received an honorarium.

So there it is, an encapsulation of our past month, and now,  because things are now slowing down, I can assure you I won’t go as long between blog postings.  In the meantime, I want to offer a most sincere thank you to readers for their interest in our activities — and for hanging in there.


———————

 

Airstream Travels This Time Last Year:

Has the NPS Fulfilled Its Mandate?

 

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 »

Can Birthdays Generate Wisdom?

posted: July 10th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Commemorating a landmark passage in age, I’ve been reviewing pictures forwarded by friends and family, using them to help me evaluate life altering choices I once made. Were they good ones?

First thoughts.  In most cases I shudder to think what might have happened if I’d followed other roads.    Why I might have become an accountant, an engineer — an officer and a gentlemen.

But that’s not what happened.  Instead, I heard other drummers, though it took much trial and error to reach my destiny, for I was attempting to veer from the military tradition created by generations of high-ranking and insistent forefathers, and sometimes rebellion got in the way.


MyBirthday-1 MyBirthday-2


L to R:  Confused and floundering young man; two, older and creatively searching


In high school and my first year of college, rather than seeking academic success, I boxed; and during those years I became the Alabama state runner up in the Golden Gloves.

INFLUENCES OF MUSIC

Music also influenced me, and there were times when all I could hear was Hank Williams crooning “Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow.”  And so I headed away from the sanitized environment in which I had been reared and headed west, the most significant move of my life.


BertBoxing-sharpened

Boxing took me to
many places in the South, and though I lost but one fight by a technicality, wisely I got out of the sport.


Nevertheless, I still floundered for awhile and suspect a good name for me during my early years in Montana might have been Bourbon Bert.  But simultaneously I also learned to ride a horse and even got to the point where I could stay on the back of a truly wild cayuse.  I learned to shoot well, and once I dispatched a charging bear with a .30-06.  The bear had killed a young girl.



gb-12814

Rogue bear was created by its
association with garbage dumps, and in1967 it killed a college girl. A ranger friend and I were assigned to find it and kill it.

 

I guess roving might also be called “getting your shit together,” and that’s what happened. As birthdays began to mount I returned to college in Montana.  Upon graduation I became a teacher and summer-time ranger, and then, a few birthdays later, I began working as an Outdoor Writer for a newspaper.  Simultaneously I freelanced and published in most magazines that used outdoor material to include Field & Stream, National Wildlife, and Smithsonian.  I even tried Playboy, but editors there replied that I simply had not covered the subject adequately.

DON’T WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES?

All this is not to say that everything was perfect, and that I didn’t make a few mistakes.  But then that’s what birthdays are for.  They’re intended to instill wisdom, and I finally concluded that Playboy was not for me.  As well, a very good part of my past caught up to me.  I found a girl I had dated in high school.


BertPhotographer3 Pyramids IMG_8917


L To R:  Photography and writing have become not only an avocation
but a vocation; two, photography has taken me all over the globe; three, peripatetic Janie, my kindred spirit.


In 1991 I married Janie and that inaugurated a genuinely adventurous period of time.  Together, we’ve shared 25 more birthdays — highlighted by months on the Yukon, hikes through the Arctic Refuge and a very meaningful association with the Gwich’in Indians. More recently it has inaugurated explorations of North America in an Airstream trailer resulting in literally dozens of travel stories.  It also marked a period during which I’ve produced some of my best works.  Significantly Janie and I have coauthored several hiking books and I authored several celebratory books on national parks and scores of magazine stories.

Because of the sterling life I’ve led I’m anticipating that I’ll add another quarter of a century to my current tally. If that proves to be the case, I plan to spend the years with my children — and of course with all family members – helping, I hope, when I can.  Perhaps, too, I’ll come out of retirement as a Golden Gloves boxer and return to a symbolic ring to help others fight for the things that have come to mean so much to Janie and me.  In a nutshell, that would be the diminishing quality of life I firmly believe we have lost because of our vanishing wildlands.

In another quarter of a century I’ll provide a tally detailing those birthday years.  I hope you will check in, for I expect to be wise beyond my years.  Some of you already are, I know, and I hope for no less.


——————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Raccoons At Our Feeder


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 | 7 Comments »

Books That Will Enhance Your Travels

posted: May 15th, 2015 | by:webdoc

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 »