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 'RV Travel' Category

One Thousand Different Species

posted: March 19th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Between wind-swept Dante’s View and the torrid salt flats dramatized by the Devil’s Golf course – located thousands of feet below — Death Valley supports over 1000 species of plants. Realizing that the area in between consists of materials such as iron, aluminum, titanium, hematite and some green chlorite, the tally really should be impressive.


 

Dante'sView


Badwater, as seen from Dante’s View. 
In between these two extreme landscapes, the terrain hosts about 1,000 different species of plants.


What’s more, weather is not always conducive to plant growth, a condition that can overlap, for several days ago we struggled for balance as I created the two panoramic images included here. Wind was howling at the Devil’s Golf Course, and a storm was already blowing hard. Off in the distance, Janie and I could see huge clouds of sand swirling about 30 miles in the distance near Stove Pipe Wells. It did not seem like a good day for flowers, nevertheless, right now you cannot travel far in this desert park without seeing huge fields of flowers, and their radiance and breadth draws gasps!


 

DevilsGolfCourse2

That’s not snow, it’s salt…  And it represents the harsh conditions in which Death Valley plants have evolved. 
Look closely and you’ll see our truck, here a blue dot.  Panoramas create much altered perspectives as in this case. 
Actually, I’m about 50 feet away from the truck, but then this is a 180 degree sweep.


Because my two panoramas  cover a 180 degree expanse, our truck may be overlooked, but examine the image closely and you’ll see a blue speck. Actually the truck was only 30 feet from the point at which I’m standing. I was trying to PAN with the camera in my cell phone while balanced atop a chuck of salt. Meanwhile, the winds huffed and they puffed requiring that I make several attempts to satisfactorily cover the entire sweep of salt. Though plants don’t grow in this, the Badwater area, they do survive along the edges. Amazing!


Booth'sPrimRose2 DesertChicory ArtistPalette-60


L to R:  Booth’s Primrose; Desert Chicory; Artist’s Palette.

Over the next few days we’re hoping to find a few plants with interesting histories, such as the Desert-Lavender. According to one of our flower books, data from fossilized pack rat middens provides evidence this species advance into what is now Death Valley during a warming trend. And that trend is ancient, dating back 10,000, which is recognized by geologists as the Holocene.

As you can see we’ve had  having fun learning about adaptations some of Death Valley’s one-thousand plants have made.


== == == ==

 

NOTE: I’m posting this blog three days after departing Death Valley.  To create the few entries I made back in Death Valley, it was necessary to get up at 2 a.m. when pressure on the internet was not so great.  However, all that I’ve written above is still applicable.  Flowers are still blooming, and it is expected they will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks.  Essentially, seeds from flowers higher up and a bit further north are the ones now producing flowers.  If you have time, it’s worth the effort, and the bonus is that visitation should be slacking off.

 

===

THIS TIME ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO:

The Park That Made A President

 

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 »

What Happens to the Amargosa?

posted: March 18th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:   Included here are several images, and two of them show a river flowing near Shoshone, Nevada, just outside of Death Valley. Before reading any further, try and imagine what happens — eventually — to this, the Amargosa River?

I think the fate of the river is amazing, and have tried on numerous occasions to photograph it, but it has either been traveling below ground or there simply hasn’t been enough water to reveal it as a river. But two days ago, such was not the case.


AmaragosaDrive-4 AmaragosaDrive-3


The Amargosa River flows
almost 200 miles then enters Death Valley National Park.  What Happens to it Then?


In short the Amargosa begins northwest of Las Vegas, where it flows generally south for about 185 miles sometimes above ground sometimes below. It passes through Beatty, and Tecopa California, continues flowing in a near parallel course adjacent to Route 127. It flows by the Dumont Dunes then shortly thereafter turns west and enters Death Valley where it turns northwest and flows to Badwater which is 282 feet below level. Here, some of the river disappears into the ground, feeding an aquifer that is the remnant of prehistoric Lake Manly.

But not all: much of the Amargosa River simply evaporates, leaving behind the huge mineralized body of white.

Wonder what all those crystals consist of? Kneel down, touch the white stuff and then give it the taste test. It’s salt, and virtually all came from the Amargosa River, a river that can at times flood and create chaos in small settlements.


43728 43722


In Death Valley, at Badwater,
which is 282 feet below sea level, the river disappears.  Just another of the bizarre aspect of this incredible national park.


The phenomena of the Amargosa has always intrigued me and when I first learned these facts, I was blown away. What do you think?

I think the Amargosa is another of the crazy features that makes the valley just as interesting as the amazing flower bloom Death Valley has recently enjoyed.

 

=  === ====


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

El Pinacate — The Place Of All Creation


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 »

Barking Dogs Not Compatible with Organ Pipe’s Sounds of Silence

posted: March 11th, 2016 | by:Bert

organ pipe cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus frame the Moon

©Bert Gildart: Despite the wonderful time Janie and I had in Organ Pipe, we departed following an ugly event that was accompanied by several F bombs being levied at me.

The event was precipitated by a confrontation I had with two sets of campers parked adjacent to us who had barking dogs. Barking was not confined to just a yip, rather it was sustained, and it occurred randomly throughout the day and into the evening. Finally, after almost two weeks of being awakened in the morning and having several dogs owned by our campground neighbors drowning out the desert’s “SOUNDS OF SILENCE” (see accompanying photo), I went outside and asked the neighbors to please get their dogs quiet. Moments later the campground host and hostess walked up and we discussed barking dogs. They’d heard the commotion and agreed with my thoughts about uncontrolled dogs, for that afternoon, two rangers confronted the people in the sites adjacent to us. I have no idea what transpired, but whatever they said seemed to help – for a while.

EVIL LADY

Two mornings later their dogs commenced barking – again awakening me. I was fed up and went outside and asked them to PLEASE get their dogs quiet. About that time, another campground hostess showed up and I detailed just how exasperated I was. Then I returned to my camper. Later, we noticed that the people with one set of dogs had moved to another site, far away. But the “evil” lady (her husband did not join her) in site 135 marched over and launched into me using every imaginable word she could muster up. She said her dog didn’t bark and that I was a so-and-so liar. I told her to leave and when she turned I told her to have a good day. She turned around and again started dropping her F bombs. Then she stomped off yelling that I was a F—— Nazi.

Because of the lady’s hostility I felt I should file a complaint, which I did on one of the park’s comment form. I suggest that when people enter the campground, Kiosk rangers should ask if they have pets. If so, they should be provided a hand out explaining that dogs must be under control and if not, owners will be fined – or asked to leave. They should be told that dogs must be on leashes at all times (not so for my neighbors ), and that non-stop dog barking will not be tolerated. They should be told that campers should be limited to two dogs, and not to FOUR as another group of campers recently had.

WONDERFUL KOA

I wrote more in my report, but I think this expresses my feelings for my blog readers. Right now we’re heading to Death Valley, and we’re over-nighting in a KOA, a campground. But, still, I have just got say that I have suddenly started to revere the KOA here in Needles, California. They say in their Rule and Regulations that all dogs must be on leashes and that barking dogs will not be tolerated. If your dogs continue to bark, says the KOA handout, owners will be “asked to leave” and money “will not be refunded.” I absolutely love this campground.

In summary, I should note that for a number of years Janie and I traveled with a Malmut, which we trained not to bark, so it can be done! I should also note that about 50% of campers at Organ Pipe were traveling with dogs, but they, too, had apparently trained their dogs, for most pets did not engage in that horrible nonstop yip, yip, yip.

OK, that’s now in the past. Today, we hope to make it to Death Valley and enjoy the “Super Bloom.”


== == == ==

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Magnificence of Birds In Flight

 

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 | 5 Comments »

Airstream Photo Blind Relaxes Birds

posted: March 2nd, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: IMPROVISED BLIND: With the help of an improvised photo blind I’ve managed to capture images of the cactus wren from the camping space alloted to us here in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We’ve been here now for almost three weeks and in the course of our stay have biked, hiked  and taken advantage of the van trips provided by the park. I’ll report on those later because right now I’m excited about the images I made yesterday.



Photography-1 CactusWren (1 of 1) CactusWren-5


My “photo blind” consists of my Zip Dee awning, backdropped by Rich Luhr’s Airstream.  With it I’ve also managed to capture an image of a house finch pollinating an ocotillo.


HouseFinch CactusWren-4 CactusWren-3


I’m always amazed by the coordinated flight maneuvers birds have developed to avoid cactus spines…


Heat is building and we may start heading north, hoping Death Valley is not so overwhelmed with visitors that the pleasure of viewing is spoiled.


==  ==  ==  ==

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

El Pinacata — The Place of All Creation

 

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 »

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 »

Last Nights in Nashville

posted: April 30th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’ve been camped at Two Rivers in Nashville and surrounding us has been a number of other Airstreamers. Bert Wagemans, camped near us, is an example, though he came for reasons different from most, but still related to music. Wagemans was here to participate in a Country Music marathon because he says that the proceeds go to a good cause. “They go to benefit children at St. Jude Hospitals.”

Still, Wagemans said it was impossible not to think about music. “Every couple of blocks for almost the entire 26-mile run,” said Wagemans, “there was a band. That makes it easy for a runner interested in music to crystalize his thoughts.”


StreetScenes-14 StreetScenes-16 StreetScenes-12


L to R: Megan Ellis with her very popular band; performers are of all ages, and play for tips and recognition; one of the 20-plus bars located along a several block stretch of Broadway.  Nashville attracts only the very talented, and some make it, some don’t. Hard to say who will survive to become another start.


Wagemans said that all the bands were great, but he believes that’s unique to Nashville. “It’s finding treasures of unrecognized musicians so good that they can transition from blues to rock or to country — and not miss a beat. I’ve never seen that anywhere except in Nashville.”

Three nights ago night Janie and I returned to the streets of Nashville and found a number of bands that projected Wagermans’s thoughts. Here are some images showing that Nashville attracts such a diversity of visitors that bands must perform in multiple genres.  It also reveals difficult lighting situations.

TWO NIGHTS AGO:

Two nights ago, and somewhat on a spur of the moment impulse I returned by shuttle to downtown Nashville. I then hiked over the people bridge, scoped out a number of areas where city lights reflected in the Cumberland River, then waited for darkness to fall.


GenJackson-1 GenJackson-3


L to R:  Nashville City lights, taken from banks of Cumberland; People Bridge.

 

I set up my tripod, took a number of images of city lights with which I was very happy. I then decided to depart, but just as I crested the top of the people bridge I heard music, and it was filling the darkness. Slowly, upriver but off in the distance, an apparition began to take shape soon assuming the form of the huge General Jackson cruise boat. It passed under the bridge then paused for a few minutes near the city lights, which I’d been photographing. It was a wonderful stroke of luck.


GenJackson-5

The General Jackson cruise boat, appeared from upstream darkness like an apparition, growing lighter as it came.  From the boat came the music of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up.”  From where I stood, it didn’t appear hokey at all.  The boat paused where you see it, then reversed engines and headed back upstream, soon to appear as only a glimmer of lights.  Then night swallowed it.


Naturally, I began clicking my tripod mounted camera and was overjoyed with the resulting images. For a photographer it was the perfect conclusion to the delightful eight-day stay Janie and I have enjoyed here in Nashville, Tennessee.  And now, we’re en-route to Shenandoah, where you will soon be seeing a different type of photography.  We’ll be staying in one of the park campgrounds, updating what has proven to be a very popular guide. It is  listed below with several of our other travel books.


——————–

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:


Miles City Bucking Horse Sale


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 »

Country Music — Barometer of a Person’s Soul

posted: April 24th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Nashville, Tennessee, along Broadway and Second – or Third – everyone, regardless of age, is young.  But there’s more.  Here, as boots, jeans, miniskirts, low-cut blouses attest — everyone is sexy, cool and self assured.

Mostly it’s because of Country Music, and for the day, we’re part of the in-crowd though our dress remains conservative.  Music tastes, however, are eclectic and we adhere to Phil Vassar’s philosophy, a performer who believes that [music is the] “true Barometer of a Person’s Soul.


Ryman3

Ryman, the Mother Church of Country Music, almost full half hour before opening.

 

But there’s yet more:  this is all about Country Music, which has been further defined by Harlan Howard as “Three chords of music – and the truth.”

In all probability there are millions who have made the pilgrimage to Nashville at some time in their life to “learn the truth.”  After all “Stars” have truly influenced the lives of many.  They’ve added meaning, and the group of devotees is diverse and includes representatives from all walks. But what most in the group share in common is that few are strangers to Hee-Haw (longest running TV Show), or to musicians such as Slim Whitman, Merle Haggard, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Lefty Frizzell, Cowboy Copas, Webb Pierce or Kitty Wells.  These performers have helped to fashion barometers of the faithful.

 

GoldCadillac Tooties

 

L to R: Elvis Presley’s gold cadillac; 11 a.m. at Tootsie’s, who’s owner once provided upstairs rental rooms to both Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard.

 

Music is also a mood setters for us, but this morning it’s augmented by a self-walking tour with short a.m. stops at several bars along Broadway.  (10:30 at Trixie’s, 10:45 at the Legend, and 11 at Dick’s Last Resort.)  All are full and the comradery of the crowd is an inducement to stay, but we’re on a mission, so we limit our intake.  But others don’t.  They imbibe sinful amounts, something city fathers must have anticipated long ago for Nashville boasts 700-plus churches.  (Little wonder gospel music is so popular.)

For us, the day-time mood setters was basically confined to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which we entered about 11:30.  We take almost four hours to walk the immense layout of this legendary shrine.  TV screens are everywhere and on one Cousin Many Pearl is proclaiming that [she is] “…just so proud to be here.”

On another Carl Perkins is singing and dancing to his Blue Suede Shoes, while on yet another Hank Williams Sr. is crooning “We’ll Go Honky Talkin’.


Ryman2 JohnnyCash Ryman


L to R: April 23rd performance of Opry Country Classics included Larry Gatlin, TG Sheppard, The Whites and Craig Morgan.  It was an incredible venue.  Johnny Cash, one of 124 (2014 count) members of the Hall of Fame; exterior of Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and served as home to Grand Ole’ Opry from 1943 to 1974, when it was moved to Opry Land on outskirts of Nashville. 


But displays in the museum are often heroic – but almost always genuine.  They include music instruments, costume dress – and Elvis’s Gold Cadillac.  Look at the mirrors and handles but also at his gold piano.

That night we make the short walk from Main Street to attend the “Opry Country Classics.” at the Ryman.  The lineup is great and includes Larry Gatlin as MC. Later in the program he’s joined by his brothers to sing “All the Gold In California.”  It was great and fans could not contain themselves, joining the Brothers in the refrain:  “All the Gold in California is in a bank in Beverly Hills in Somebody  else’s name.”

Remember??

We will, and for a long time yet to come, for country music continues to influence us.


————————-

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

The Magnificence of Bird Flight


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 »

Natchez Trace Terminus — Sadly It’s Road’s End

posted: April 22nd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re off the Natchez Trace now and are trying to take a few tentative steps to explore the country music aspects of Nashville.  We also feel privileged that Gary Johnson would drive from his home in Kentucky to visit us here in Nashville.  Gary is another old friend from my days at what is now the University of North Alabama.



NatchezTrace-6

Bridge representing one of the last major aspects of construction creating an uninterrupted highway stretching almost 450 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.


But the Natchez Trace is still on our minds essentially because I took so many images during our week travel along the Trace and am just now processing them.  Included here, then, are a few shots from the northern end of the Parkway that dramatize the aftermath of a spring storm; a hike along the Old Trace; and an image of Janie studying an interpretive column noting that General Jackson traveled here to help preserve America’s Freedom in the War of 1812.


NatchezTrace NatchezTrace-2 NatchezTrace-5


Downed tree near Meriwether Lewis burial site; Old Trace trail; Janie studying an interpretive column noting that General Jackson traveled here to help preserve America’s Freedom in the War of 1812.


Finally, I’ve included the image of a bridge representing one of the last major aspects of construction creating an uninterrupted highway stretching almost 450 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee.  The Trace is one of the incredible components managed by the National Park Service, and one we’d recommend to anyone.


———————

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Miles City Bucking Horse Sale

 

 

 

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 »

Big Bend’s Hundred Year Bloom

posted: April 1st, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: It’s not too late, but you had better hurry.  Right now Big Bend National Park is experiencing what naturalists say is a once in a hundred year bloom.  Dominating the landscape are Texas Blue Bonnets, Desert Marigold, and Bicolor Mustard.  Interspersed among these fields are Prickly Poppy, Blind Prickly Pear and the very patriotic Texas Rainbow Cactus.   Yucca is also in bloom and these tall stately agave look like so many candelabra lighting up the desert.

FlowersAirstream (3 of 5)

Janie, blue bonnets and Airstream


One of the above is presenting itself in numbers we never thought possible.  On a single specimen of the Blind Prickly Pear we counted over 100 blossoms.


TexasRainbowCactus (1 of 5) FlowersAirstream (5 of 5) PricklyPear (1 of 3)

L to R:  Texas Rainbow Cactus, perhaps a verbena (anyone know for sure?), Blind Prickly Pear.


Here are a few images we’ve taken the past few days, and it feels as though this incredible spectacle is just starting to come alive and that there may be much more to come.  If you want to see what is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event, better pack your bags.


—————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still


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 »

Lake Mead Waters — Where’d They All Go?

posted: December 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Last night I stood on the shoreline that represented the high-water mark of the Lake Mead Reservoir.  From where I stood I could look across Callville Bay and see to the opposite shoreline marked by a continuous white band.  The band represents the lake level as it has existed for the decades following impoundment of Lake Mead.

This lake, once the sainted representation of high-tech engineering, is down over 100 vertical feet representing (for me) an incalculable volume of water.  What makes this such a difficult calculation is that this scene is not confined to just Callville Bay but begins above Grand Canyon at Lake Powell.  Waters that remain then flow through the Grand Canyon but are once again blocked at Hoover Dam where we are now camped. This is the dam created the barren landscape we are now observing.


LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Water once lapped at shore where this photo taken.

 

Of course we all heard about the drought in homes distant from Lake Mead, but back there when you say Lake Mead is down over 100 feet these measurements are little more than vague abstraction.

What’s causing this? Immediately it is caused by the prolonged drought Colorado has been experiencing.  But scientists say this is only the beginning.

They’re worried that this region will confront significant water supply challenges as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise.  But that suggests global warming, and we all know that is just the loose-tongue meanderings of some of our nation’s leading scientists – perhaps 95% of them.  “No to worry,” say detractors.”


LakeMeadeShoreline (20 of 3) LakeMeadeShoreline (21 of 3) LakeMeadeShoreline (22 of 3)


Note the white ring that covers so much of the landscape in these three images.  Those lines represent the shoreline created by the Lake Mead impoundment.


That’s the way I might have felt before I saw these shorelines several nights ago, and if I wasn’t a believer before I saw Lake Mead, I now have to say that it appears as though something monumental is happening, and it appears as though it will only get worse.

However, the drought has created some interesting side stories, and one of them is shown in the next image.


StThomas (2 of 10)

An interesting aspect of this prolonged drought is the reemergence of the historic village of St. Thomas.

 




This image shows the reemergence of the old Mormon village of St. Thomas, which existed from 1865 until 1935, when Hoover Dam created the impoundment that covered it.  More on this in next post.


——————

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Historic Fort Davis


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 »

Is Death Valley Beautiful or Beastly? It’s All Point of View

posted: November 13th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’re still in Death Valley, camped at Texas Spring, and obsessed with the hardships endured by a group of emigrants collectively referred to as the 49ers. There is no other year that contributed so much to the names and legends that were eventually to become part of this park’s story as the year 1849.

The year also contributed much to a significant chapter in American history, the journey to find riches in the California gold fields at a time when the American economy was floundering.


SaltFlats-1

Mountain Ranges through which the 49ers had to pass in order to reach Travertine Springs, site today of the Death Valley Hotel

 


Perhaps the story of the ‘49ers and its significance to us today can be highlighted by the working title of Beauty or the Beast, for the features that we marvel at today, they looked at with abject horror.

Though the 49ers had endured hardships on their travels from states in the Midwest, nowhere were the hardships as intense as when they reached Death Valley and its immediate surrounds. Entries from the writing of Mrs. Brier, one of the 49ers, summarize some of the hardship.

“Poor little Kirk, my eldest boy… would stumble on over the salty marsh for a time and then again sink down crying. ‘I cannot go any further…’ “


SaltFlats-3 Airstream-1 SaltFlats-9


Images here are taken from along the route Mrs. Brier and her family travels in December of 1849. Though she viewed the landscape as one replete with challenges, we look at it as a place of absolute beauty, stark though it may be. But the endless mountain ranges were heights they had to conquer. And the streams were as rich in salt as the oceans. Sunsets, however, meant an end to the day’s heat, so perhaps we are united in appreciation of a Death Valley desert sunset.

WEATHER IN DEATH VALLEY:

And now today’s DV weather, which will include an afternoon high of 81 and more light breezes. No wonder we’re viewing the area as a place that is one of beauty rather than one that is beastly.


———————


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Aftermath of Gettysburg Address

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 »

Texas Spring, No Generators

posted: November 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Made it to Death Valley and got a campsite at Texas Springs.  Because of the thousands camped half a mile below for the annual 49ers celebration that was a surprise. Virtually all have generator and they do run them when the are allowed.  That’s between the hours of 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Image the racket.

But the key to quiet camping is solar panels, and we have four on top of our Airstream and two that are free to move for precise orientation with respect to the sun.   At Texas Springs, generators are prohibited.

Death Valley-12 Death Valley-14 Death Valley-13


 

Two images show us visiting Rhyolite Ghost Town located near entry to Death Valley; middle image, moon rise over Texas spring.

Images posted here include two of our Airstream creeping through the long ago abandoned mining town of Rhyolite located near the entrance to Death Valley.  The third represents a relaxed evening watching the moon rise about our campsite.  Picture us with a glass of wine, sitting back in easy chairs with the temperature about 75.  We’re in heaven, with many 49er activities waiting our pleasure.


————————

 

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

Canyon Country

 

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 »

Broken Airstream Window

posted: November 2nd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Again, we are on the road, but starting off with a little bit of bad luck.  Last night when we pushed back the curtain in our Airstream we discovered that a small window toward the trailer’s front but on the side was shattered.

How did it happen?

We have no completely satisfying answer, but we suspect Halloween vandalism, and here’s why.  We have never in all the years I’ve been driving had a window on the side damaged by flying rocks or other debris.  True, we were on the road yesterday driving from Dillon, Montana, to Twin Falls, Idaho, but we don’t think driving created the dent on the window.  When we look closely (and you can too in my photo), it appears as all the fracture lines radiate from a point made by either a rock or by something like a ballpein hammer.  Certainly, it is possible the rock could have come from highway travel, but, again, it just doesn’t seem probable.


AS-WindowDamage-2 AS-WindowDamage-1


Views of broken Airstream Window from inside and outside

At any rate, though the window is covered with shatter marks, we’re hoping the specialized glass of our Airstream will hold together for several weeks.  In an attempt to bolster the strength of the weakened glass we’ve cut cardboard to size and then applied Ducktape to the interface created by the window frame.  We think that will hold while we complete several timely story projects.

First, we are going to Death Valley (remember my post about Ballarat Bert and Panamint Jane?) to cover the annual 49er celebration.  After that we’re heading toward Las Vegas.  There’s an Airstream dealer there, but also we want to visit Valley of Fire and the contiguous Lake Meade National Recreation area.  With water levels so low it is now possible to hike to some of the settlements covered by the creation of the Lake Meade Reservoir.

That’s our schedule, and we’re stickin’ to it.  I think we can, despite the inconvenience of a weakened window.

———–


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Canyon Country


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 | 3 Comments »

Organic Act of the NPS. Has The Agency Fulfilled Its Mandate?

posted: September 3rd, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  The most recent issue of Airstream Life contains my story about national parks.  Essentially, my story posed a question that asks whether the NPS has maintained the goals posed by their Organic Act.


13130

Kayaking to Apostle Islands

 


The goals are lofty and state that the objective of the organization’s 400-plus parks is “….to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

It’s appropriate to ask such as question at this time as the Service is gearing up for its centennial which will occur on August 25, 2016.  In anticipation of that celebration many will recall that on the 25th of this past August entry fees to our all of our national parks were waved.

13128 W-house Chacco 162


To help answer the question in Airstream Life the story reviewed a number of policies the NPS has attempted to implement, to include its grizzly bear management program and its attempts to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone. As well, I discussed the difficulty of handling illegal immigration in Organ Pipe and the problems some visitors have created when they release snakes foreign to the ecosystem.  Obviously all these actions directly affect the intent of the Organic Act.

PARK ADVENTURES

As well, I described the enjoyment offered in our national parks by describing some of the wonderful adventures parks offer such as backpacking, kayaking, biking and the opportunity to appreciate and learn about nature.  Finally, I attempted to celebrate some of the types of features that parks preserve such as our antiquities.


41190

Tragedies of the '60s necessitated creation of a Bear Management Program, mandated by the NPS Organic Act

 


These are the types of subjects I’ve written about over the years for dozens of magazines.  I am particularly pleased, however, that for the past 10 years (since the inception of Airstream Life) that I have contributed stories and photographs to every single issue.

AIRSTREAM LIFE READERS

The magazine is a glossy magazine and it is well laid out.  Obviously it is directed toward a specific audience, but of importance to me is that so many of the magazine’s readers are dedicated to the important objective the NPS has attempted to achieve.  It’s obvious the agency is working hard to fulfill the mandates of its Organic Act, and that it wants you to benefit from its manifold accomplishments.  In truth, these parks are so significant that the beauty and the heritage they preserve may help preserve and stimulate mankind.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Memories Through the Yearshttp://gildartphoto.com/weblog/2013/09/10/memorable-adventures



4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy


Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy


What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy




Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Why the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale Works So Well

posted: May 19th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Like most other rodeos, The Miles City Bucking Horse Sale makes every attempt to run smooth and be colorful.  To do so, men have specific functions and the horses have names and qualities that make them more colorful and more appropriate to the sport.

In the horse department, most of the horses are bred to produce rugged characteristics, and arrive with names such as “Friendly Fire,” “Bragging Rights,” “Lunatic Fringe,” “EZ Money,” and “Smokey Lonesome.”  Yet another, “Silly Sam” has a 100 percent buck-off rate in 2014 at rodeos in Denver, Rapid City and Clovis.  All are noted for their ability to kick high and to twist and turn.  Danny Halverson, one of the judges, told me that “drop,” was another important feature.   “A horse springs into the air with all four feet off the ground and then,” he said, “it drops.  That can unseat some of the very best cowboys.”

MCBHS-15

Jesse Bail, one of the nation's top rodeo riders -- ready for his "Pickup Man."

 

Obviously riders are important and the MCBHS attracts some of the nation’s best cowboys, to include Jesse Bail, who has won close to 2M dollars in his 15-year rodeo career.  Other top names – and their final scores in last night’s final, include Andy Clarys, 85.50; Jake Costello, 84; Jeff Willert, 82.50; Max Filippini, 80.00.

Pickup men serve the very vital job of getting a cowboy off his horse –safely.  To rank, a cowboy must stay on his horse for eight seconds, and getting a rider off that horse requires incredible riding skills.  In one of the pictures you’ll see a pickup man trying to position himself behind Jesse Bail following that man’s successful ride.

Yet another man who serves a vital role is the Chute Man, and Ty Linger, who is pictured here in a vest, is a third generation Chute Man, and, here, for me,  there is an interesting though personal story.  Sonny Linger, Ty’s grandfather,  was also a Chute Man, and Janie and I met Mr. Linger about five years ago in Big Bend National Park.  Ironically, he was camped next to us in the most incredible 34-foot Airstream we’ve ever seen.  It had several slideouts and the interior was posh.


MCBHS-14 MCBHS-10 MCBHS-12


Unfortunately, Sonny passed away several years ago, and certainly family members miss the man.  But so does the rodeo world.  Nevertheless, his grandson, Ty, has  mastered the skills to be a top Chute Man.  As such he is required to help load the horses into the holding pen, seat riders, and generally determines when horse and rider are ready to enter the arena.  “He’s the boss,” said Roxanne Harding, a Miles City bucking horse enthusiasts who has lived on a ranch all of her life.


Bull Riders-1

The Miles Horse Bucking Sale opened Thursday night with a wildhorse saddling and riding contest


So here are a few images depicting the folks described above. Sadly, the MCBHS ended last night, and we’ll soon be heading home.  It’s been great!


——-


AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Zion National Park on Our Anniversary


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 »

Travels Inspire More Travel

posted: April 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Heading home now to Bigfork, Montana, but we left much undone from this trip into the Southwest and expect we’ll soon return.  We have to!

Lake Meade is experiencing low water levels, and that could make for some fascinating excursions.   When Hoover Dam was constructed water levels rose and covered a vast area to include the abandoned St. Thomas settlement.  But the severe drought of the past couple years has reduced water levels on Lake Meade leaving many areas exposed for the first time in years.   Once the town was flooded higher than 60 feet above the tallest structure.  We’ve been told it’s eerie now — a visit to a real life ghost town.


ValleyOfFire-1

Lone figure helps inspire inspiration from The Wave

 

Of course, we’ll want to see more of Valley of Fire, one of the most remarkable parks we’ve recently visited.  Though the park is not huge, we didn’t get a chance to see all we wanted, primarily because we spent so much time at the geologically fascinating area called The Wave.  I think the lone hiker in my associated photo peering down onto the chasm supports our thinking.  He’s shown here spreading his arms attempting through a body gesture to understand all that spreads before him.  His expression remains motivational, but so was that of a very elderly gentleman whom we met later.  He was stumbling along with a pair of walking sticks and told us he’d been coming here every year for decades.

“It’s inspiring you know.  And I learn so much.”

Same holds true for us.


—————–

 

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*San Diego Wildlife

 

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 »

The Atlatl and the good Karma of Petroglyphs

posted: April 4th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Though there are thousands of petroglyphs in Valley of Fire State Park, when trying to date these amazing drawings, anthropologists turn to a single group of drawings, one of which contains an atlatl.  Look at the top of the image included here and you’ll see the drawing of a sheep.  But just below that you’ll see a shaft which is used as lever to increase the power imparted to spear pictured as the third item down.

ValleyOfFire-16

Image of atlatl shown at top, meaning these glyphs are ancient

 

The atlatl is intended to act as an extra arm  — a fulcrum that adds momentum to a spear which is attached to a cup on the fulcrum.  It was used prior to the invention of the bow and arrow, enabling scientists to state that most of the park drawings were made 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.  That means the drawings represent ancient tribes, collectively known as the Anasazi.  Perhaps the artists who made this image were hoping their drawing would create an appropriate karma, and that their day of hunting would be a successful one.

Though no one can say for sure what the images meant to each of the artists, with help from various tribes and by studying the artifacts of past cultures, anthropologists believe they can provide educated guesses.  Some of the objects, of course, seem  obvious.  For instance, circles with radiating lines are thought to represent the sun.  Squiggly lines may represent serpents. Other objects, however, require much  theorizing.


ValleyOfFire-9 ValleyOfFire-10 ValleyOfFire-7

L TO R: Image of four figures together holding hands is thought to represent power; image of sheep may be intended to project good hunting karma.  Third image, which shows a hand, circle and various other figures, may be intended to show death, the presence of a spring, another atlatl, and clan figures.

 

Images of figures standing side by side and holding hands are thought to be expressions of power.  Images of actual hands may signify death.

A single horizontal line from which four or five vertical lines extend downward but then sway slightly toward the bottom are thought to represent rain.

Probably the most prevalent drawing is one of sheep, and ancient artists may have drawn them hoping they could create a form of magic that would lure their principle source of food back, following, perhaps, a prolonged drought.

You can see most of these symbols in my first image. Others concepts are represented in some of the other images here included.


ValleyOfFire-14

Atlatl Campground, where we are surrounded by petroglyphs, to include the atlatl

 

Because the atlatl was such a significant drawing, the campground at which we’ve been staying has been called Atlatl Campground.  We’ve got a beautiful site and are grateful to have stumbled across such a lovely setting. Sadly, our three month adventure is closing down and we’ll soon be heading back to home.   I make it sound like a bad thing, and that’s certainly not the case.  It’s just that we enjoy our road trips so much we hate to see them end.  But particularly this trip as it represents a return of good health.  Perhaps there is good karma associated with the preservation of these glyphs and we have been immersed among literally thousands.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

 

*Photo Ecstasy

 

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 »

The Wave — Where Time Stood Still

posted: April 1st, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  It’s early morning in Nevada’s Valley of the Fire, and I’m standing on a sun-kissed formation near a bed of rocks known as “The Wave.”  Here, geological stories spanning millions of years seem to be compressed into a single moment.  It seems that time has been brought to a halt allowing a moment to try and understand.

Seas depositing various types of sandstone provided the working materials, to be followed by various types of orogeny.  But what I was seeing was the final chapter, the product of erosion which has also been carried on through the ages.  And, now, here, on this the first day of April, it has all been dramatized by the rising sun, making each granule of sand, each round of rock, leap out.


ValleyOfFire-28

The Wave, where time stood still

 

I felt like Ansel Adams, one of my heroes, who said, “I get to some places just when God is ready to have someone click the shutter.”

I’ll never know what Ansel Adams would have thought of this setting, but I do know that it was one of those places that seemed almost spiritual, though I am one of the least qualified to comment on that.  Nevertheless, it seemed to be a place where time did stand still – ephemeral though it was – for as the minutes ticked away and the sun arched higher in the sky, the intensity of the drama quickly faded.

Still, for whatever it is worth, the moment of clarity had been a gift; I’m sure it was.

 

——————-

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Black Crowned Night Heron

 

 

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 »

Whimsical Travels — to Optmize Photography

posted: March 19th, 2014 | by:Bert


©Bert Gildart:  Seldom have our travels ever been planned travels, and that is certainly true of the past few days.  We had no plans to stay another few days in Borrego Springs, and we certainly had no real plans to wind up where we are now – in Organ Pipe National Monument.  Travels such as these are made on the spur of the moment, and usually they’re made, changed — whatever — because we hear that interesting natural history things are starting to happen.


FanPalms-10

Fan palms as seen during moon rise from our Airstream at Borrego State Park

 

Some of our friends make travel plans over a year in advance. But we seldom know for sure what tomorrow will bring, much less any of the tomorrows contained in 365 days.  We call such travels “Whimsical Travels.”  And that’s the category into which most of our travels must be grouped. For one thing, we think it optimizes photographic opportunities.

We spent several days in Anza Borrego State Park and did so initially because Springs of Borrego was booked solid.  But then when we saw how beautiful each sunrise was turning out to be, and then how beautiful the evening moonrise – in all of its full-moon glory – was turning out to be, we extended by two days.



FanPalms-9 FanPalms-5 FanPalms-2

 

L to R:  Moonrise as seen from our campsite at Borrego Desert State Park.  Airstream at overflow campsite in Springs of Borrego.  Stand of palms reached after several mile hike up Palm Canyon.  Trail is immediately adjacent to state campground.


During that time we got a note from Chuck (one of our Peg Leg friends who had proceeded us by about a week) saying some of the cacti in Organ Pipe, Arizona, were starting to bloom, so now we are now camped next to the Mexican border. And, yes, some of the cacti are blooming, not the masses we’ve seen in previous years, but enough to make the trip worthwhile.


Organ Pipe-7 Ocotillo Organ Pipe-2


L to R: We think the flowers on the left and far right are both staghorn cholla.  If not, then one may be a buckhorn cholla.  The two species are known to hybridize confusing I.D.  The center picture is an ocotillo, and note that it is blooming and that THERE ARE NO LEAVES.  Leaves may accompany flowers but only when an adequate amount of rain has fallen.  Flowers, however, bloom independent of rain and are timed to bloom in April, synchronizing with the return of the hummingbirds, their pollinators.

We’ll be here for a few more days, then, we’ll do as I said we’d do in a previous posting: we’ll follow the Swenson’s Hawk, and like it, we’ll look for “staging areas,” areas where we can regroup and fuel back up. In a way, its travels are a bit whimsical, though we probably set the record.


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THREE YEARS AGO:

*Burrowing Owls and the Bizarre Nest Needed to Survive

 

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 »

Tony Feather Performance Will Benefit Borrego Children

posted: March 5th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Our friend Tony Feathers will be playing at the Performing Arts Center in Borrego Springs this Friday night.  Tony and his wife Betty were some of the first people we meet while camped at Peg Leg about five years ago.  He was playing his guitar around a campfire and we asked if we might join.  Since that time we have remained in frequent contact.

TonyFeather-3

Our friend Tony Feather providing Janie and me with fun-filled night -- a "private concert."

 

Back in Tennessee, Tony has his own band known as the Blue Sky Town. He has cut several CDs and placed high in the prestigious Chris Autin Song Writing Competition at the MerlFest.  He has been interviewed by and played on National Public Radio.

About a week ago he and Betty again joined us at Peg Leg where he entertained us as we all sat inside our trailer, and that’s where I took a number of new photos of Tony.  It was a fun evening, and his music reminds us a bit of the genre popularized by John Prine and Lyle Lovette.   Tony says his music is best described as “eclectic Americana,” Songs as reflected by titles that include Old Black Crow, Hop On My Pony and Ride, and Forty Miles From Mexico. Funds raised by the performance are intended to help the children of Borrego Springs.

We’re back in Borrego and camped at the same RV resort at which we stayed last year.  The resort is best known for its “Greens,” and though we’re not golfers we find that many other aren’t either.  They’re here because of its central location to all that Anza Borrego Desert State Park has to offer, and because of the resort’s amenities, such as the hot tubs and the exercise rooms.

Janie’s brother and sister-in-law will be joining us for Tony’s performance.  They’re from L.A. and we’re all looking forward to the Friday night concert.  It appears as though it will be a sellout.

*Cacti and Macro Photography

—————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS TWO 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




Read Comments | Post a Comment »