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 'Travel' Category

Egypt On My Mind

posted: May 20th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Recently I’ve been downsizing images currently in my stock photo files. It’s an emotional and challenging task as so many of these photographs have been published.

Others images simply remind me of personal histories. For instance, 30 years ago I was working monthly for Travel Holiday Magazine, which provided me with wonderful assignments that included a month in Egypt. (Every night while on the Nile, I had a bottle of Queen Nefertiti wine in my stateroom.) Editors at the magazine used these and other photographs from my submission to them.


Egypt5-2

As the man rode his donkey and towed his camel, he shouted out, “I’m John Wayne, 
I’m John Wayne.”  Then he asked for Baksheesh… baksheesh.


So, now, which images should I save? More to the point, do any of these images have any future commercial value — perhaps for some family or extended family member who might one day decide to major in journalism or in photo journalism? Vanity gets in the way here, coercing me to ignore what may be reality, but that’s OK, as hopefully ultimate disposition is at some distant date.

In the meantime, here are some images that recall such wonderful memories that I cannot include them in my discard pile.

Egypt5-3 Egypt5-5 Egypt5-1


L to R:  The man had stationed himself for early morning visitors, such as me; struggling Egyptian village; young children
have already learned the lingo and ran out to greet me, then asked for Baksheesh… baksheesh


TRAVEL COORDINATORS  CAUTIONED:

In the 1980s, officials cautioned that it was dangerous to embark on solo journeys.  But I was lots younger then, and perhaps a bit too self-assured, so I ventured out – and am glad I did, for I managed to capture the Pyramids of Giza at dawn. I managed to dramatize the setting with a camel rider just waiting for someone like me, and I knew what to expect. “Baksheesh… baksheesh (tip),” he smiled, holding out his hand.

Shortly thereafter another rider materialized. He had a long stick and he was “firing” it, saying “I’m John Wayne.” I tipped him, too.


Egypt5-4 Egypt5-6 BazaarCairo


L to R:  Hiking five miles between Valley of Kings and Valley of Queens; Napoleon shot
the nose off the Sphinx; day in a Bazaar at Luxor.


I also tipped others. For instance, I was advised not to hike the five miles across the desert between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens (burial site of Queen Nefertiti), for “it could be dangerous.” But I hiked the desert there anyway and met a delightful young man who later served me tea from his village home. There, in the small village I met young children living on the edge of poverty who had learned how to pose, and, of course, they too, had learned the lingo: “Baksheesh…baksheesh.” I didn’t mind the request and responded with the tip amount travel coordinators had suggested.

Because these images recall such wonderful memories, I’ll certainly keep these and a few dozen others. (Hundreds are now staring at me from a trash pile.) But I’m starting to realize that I’ll never scan all those other in-camera dupes and that I do need to downsize. It’s painful, but eventually it will have to be done. And it might as well be done now. Right??


————

 

 

This Time Last  Year:



A Few of Our 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 »

Silver Anniversary, Starting from the World Trade Center

posted: May 4th, 2016 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Twenty-five 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.


13128 30062 31220

L to R:  Celebrating sun rise at Apostle Islands, Porcupine River, Dry Tortugas


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.

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.


91527 N-LightsCabin 13124


L to R:  Jasper National Park, norther lights in Venetie, AK 
streaming over our first home together; Janie kayaking sea caves in the Apostles.

Now, 25 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.



AS-2710

Toasting one of our anniversaries from the road.


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.

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.


—————————

 

World Trade Center:

Dry Tortugas:

Kayaking Bay of Fundy


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 »

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 »

Jimmy Driftwood Remembered

posted: October 14th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Though now deceased, the man pictured here was once famous as a musician, though he began his career in a different field.  The image was in my files and was included about 25 years ago in a story I wrote about Mountain View, Arkansas.

Any idea who the man might be?

The man began his career in education, where he served as a teacher and a principal.  During that time, he wrote hundreds of songs to help his students learn about history.  He wrote a story about a battle that occurred in New Orleans.  He wrote a story about wandering the Southland on his Tennessee Stud.

Ultimately, a friend encouraged him to take his songs to Nashville, and I love the way the man told his story.  “I left over 50 songs,” said this very modest man, “with one of the top producers.  They told me to return in a few days for an evaluation.”



JimmyDriftwood2


Several days later the man returned and as he told the story to me he bowed his head slightly, duplicating, I suspect, a moment from the past.

“Did you like any of my songs?” he asked the producer?”

The producer responded.  “We’ll take every single one of them.”

The man’s name, of course, was Jimmy Driftwood, and in his life so many of his songs were recorded by top performers of the day.  Eddie Arnold recorded Tennessee Stud, and John Horton performed his “Battle of New Orleans.”  Driftwood also released an album that included his songs “Billy Yank and Johnny Reb.”

During the next few years, Driftwood, performed at Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, and at major folk festivals. On March 31, 1962, Driftwood was elevated from a regular guest to starring member of the Grand Ole Opry. He also returned to the educational profession in 1962, teaching folklore at the University of Southern California in Idyllwild.  He was also an advisor to National Geographic on Ozark Folk Ways.

I must have met the man about 1985 and at the time I was a Contributing Editor for magazines produced by the Affinity Group, to include Trailer Life and Motorhome.  Though I offered to take Driftwood to lunch, he insisted that he and his wife pay.  He was one of the kindest people I have met, and I rank my time with him as one of my most memorable experiences.  To think a man of his talent would spend the day with me!

Driftwood died in 1998, but I suspect that in his life he made lots of  people happy.

————-

 

THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Sandy Hook National Seashore


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 »

Juneteenth – Celebrating Freedom From Slavery at Old Sturbridge Village

posted: June 23rd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: We’ve been scurrying this past week, stopping first in New Jersey to visit family living along Shades of Death Road (Truly) then — a week later — on to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to visit more family members.

Relatives aside, one of the highlights of our entire 9-month trip (we left Montana in October) has been to visit Old Sturbridge Village, something I’ve reported on several times before.  Justifiably, the village claims it is a living museum, and exists to portray life as it existed in New England between 1790s and 1830. At times the village portrays special historical events, and this past week it portrayed “Juneteenth.”

JUNETEENTH

The word Juneteenth dates back to 1865 and recalls the first known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Many African Americans must consider it their 4th of July, and Old Sturbridge Village highlighted that historical event by assembling superb story tellers.  We were amazed at their repertoire of expressions and by their ability to entrance diverse audiences.

Sadly, Juneteenth coincides with the horrors of this past week’s shooting spree in South Carolina, causing many to wonder why so much racial hatred still prevails.  It’s now 152 years after Lincoln signed his  Emancipation Proclamation, which is what Juneteenth is intended to celebrate.


TammyDenease-1 EmmaRae-1 Tammy-1

 

CAPTIONS:  Tammy Denease portrays a number of women who knew the tragedy created by slavery.  For more see Historical Firsts.  Center, Emma Rae portraying Harriet Beecher Stowe reading from her still-famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


Juneteenth at OSV was highlighted with quality performers, and  Actress/narrator Tammy Denease Richardson was the first to introduce us to the plight of slavery as practiced in the early 1800s.  Born in Mississippi, Ms. Richardson spent countless hours with her 100-year old grandmother and great-grandmother, the latter of whom was a former slave who lived to be 125 years old.  Both were well-known storytellers who passed this treasured gift on to Ms. Richardson, their granddaughter.

During the week, she played the part of several slaves, such as Sarah Margru, who had been brought from Africa via Cuba to America on the slave ship Amistad.  In her presentation, she described the beatings at the hands of owners – as well as other types of “physical” abuse.  Throughout, she emphasized that Margru never forgot her African roots, despite the fact she was only nine when captured thousands of miles away.

In yet another performance Richardson depicted Elizabeth Keckly, an enslaved woman who bought her freedom and that of her son for $1,200, gaining prominence as a dressmaker and as a confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln.

WOULD HAVE DIED FOR JUST A MOMENT OF FREEDOM

In yet another performance, Ms. Richardson acted out a narration of  Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman.  The story is true and relates Mum Bett’s challenge to win her freedom after suffering 30 years in bondage.  You can hear the words echoing through the ages as sadness fills the face of Ms. Freeman. But the words that follow do not falter and with strength of purpose she speaks the same words uttered so long ago by Mum Bett:

“Anytime, anytime while I was a slave, if one minute’s freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it — just to stand one minute on God’s airth a free woman — I would.”

It was a fitting prelude to other actors/story tellers who presentations were equally as poignant.

Andre Keitt was another of the week’s story tellers, and our program referred to him as one of the Keys to the Keepers.  His narration ran the gamut, at times  filled with lighthearted anecdotes that he said helped slaves forget the day-to-day reality of servitude.  Keitt said that many of the thoughts and words came from his grandmother Martha Greatheart.  He said that when he was young he would listen to her words over and over, trying to absorb her wisdom.


AndreKeitt-9 AndreKeitt-10 AndreKeitt-8


L to R:  Andre Keitt and a partial Repertoire of expressions used to express humor, pathos, reflection and determination.


“I never got tired of hearing them,” said Keitt, adding that from that moment he heard the stories, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.  “I knew,” he said, “that I had to write her stories down before they were lost forever.”

Mr. Keitt said the majority of those stories have a lineage that can be traced back to family members who were emancipated slaves. He said that many of the stories evolved to escaped the hardships of slavery, and he used as an example Bre’er Fox and Bre’er Rabbit.  Anyone, he said,  could be called Bre’er and he picked Janie from the audience as an example.  “Bre’re Jane,” said Keitt.  “I bet you are a good story teller.”

Janie and I attended other programs and I hope to share with you performances characterizing Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe, which were also featured this past week at Old Sturbridge Village.


——-


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Raccoon 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 | 2 Comments »

Shenandoah’s Deer & Bears

posted: June 6th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:With very little connectivity in Shenandoah NP, creating posts has been difficult.  Nevertheless, I was almost overwhelmed by some of the photo opportunities that presented themselves, particularly ones of deer and bears.

Let’s start with bears, and the images that follow were afforded while traveling south along the Skyline Drive, just past Timber Hollow Overlook.  I arrived shortly after Momma Bear had ushered Baby Bear high into a tree. Momma Bear then shinnied the tree herself and assumed a guard position on a limb about 20 feet above the ground. She didn’t seem to object to her situation until someone driving an unmufflered vehicle screeched to a stop and then began running around with a cell phone camera.

BlackBear-30 BlackBear-43 BlackBear-33


Here are some images of Momma Bear showing some of the aggressive poses she assumed as more people stopped and began moving in toward the base of her tree. I must note that I was way back with a 600mm telephoto lens. I think the lens provides an acceptable working distance.

FAWNING SEASON:

The other great opportunity occurred early one morning as I wandered one of the park’s meadow area.  In Shenandoah National Park, May and early June are the times in which fawns enter the world. Their arrival creates lots of stories and most bring a smile to the face of the listener.

For instance, about a week ago a doe tucked her new born into some tall grass near our camper. First, however, she licked it and then licked it some more — the goal to remove every bit of scent from the body of its young. Then she went off and left it for several hours as she browsed the surrounding woodland and grassland for food.


DeerB-Meadow-1 DeerB-Meadow-14 DeerBigMeadow-11


Normally, that’s a safe practice, but one doe was not so lucky. While gone, a hungry bear found the fawn and the rest of the story is not such a happy one — at least for the doe. The incident happened just before I arrived.

But, generally, hiding the new born works; it gives the mother a chance to regroup and the young a chance to acquire its footing. Then, several days later when fawns can move around, they join their mothers and begin learning about the huge world they’ve just entered.

That’s when most of my images were taken and, I must say, the interaction of doe and fawns sure brought happiness to my life. It’s wonderful that Shenandoah preserves such a magnificent slice of nature. These stories are accessible for most anyone willing to rise early and do a bit of searching.

MountainLaurel-AS


We’re now on our way north mostly to visit family.  Because most work, we’ll have lots of spare time to complete work on our book Hiking Shenandoah.  Point of fact, the book does more than just outline hiking routes; it also details the natural history and history that hiking in this magnificent park affords.  Release next year will mark the books fifth update.


——————-


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 »

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 »

The Natural History of Organ Pipe is Reasserting Itself

posted: March 22nd, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: As promised (at least on my Facebook account), we’re posting images of the magnificent wildflowers that  winter rains seemed to assure.  It’s a sudden transition, but it’s happening right now.

Just outside the campground proper, a number of flowers have reared their heads.  Along the Perimeter Trail, we’ve seen  Buckhorn Cholla, Hibiscus, and the Brittle Brush.



BrittleBrush-1 BuckHornCholla-2 Hibiscus-3


L to R: Brittlebrush, Buckhorn Cholla, Hibiscus

 

Sadly, some of this beauty has been off limits to visitors until this past September when it was finally deemed safe to open. Because of the vast amount of drug — and just plain human — traffic passing through this exact same area, over 60 percent of the park was closed in 2003. During those 11 years vegetation was trampled and the endangered pronghorn was inhibited from expanding its range.

Park officials recognized the travesty and found funding was now available to bring in the manpower necessary to control this flow.  Last year funds became available and the Border Control was increased from about 50 officers to 500. As a result, the entire park has reopened, and nature has responded to the enforcement that followed and already nature seems to be reclaiming itself.  Just a few days ago one of the volunteer park interpreters spotted the rare Sonoran antelope in the area Janie and I hiked — the Red Tanks Tinaja.


Tinaja-1 Wildflower-2 Wildflower-3

 

L to R: Red Tanks Tinaja, Desert Gold, Globemallow, backdropped by Senita Tree


And two days ago, though signs are posted everywhere asking that you “Please Let It Grow,” vegetation has grown — at least in some places.  Yellow flowers (the Desert Gold), are now sweeping across the sands that characterize La Abra Plain, the region flanking the South Puerto Drive. From the same region the orange flower (Apricot Globemallow,) has reared its head and, here it is backed by the Senita Tree.

Truly, this is a magnificent area and there is little wonder that Organ Pipe National Desert was designated an International Biosphere Preserve, meaning that it is unique in the word.

We’re delighted to be here.


THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

Organ Pipe Test Opening


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 »

New Thoughts About Alamo Canyon

posted: February 24th, 2015 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Three years ago Janie and I hiked the Alamo Canyon Trail in Organ Pipe National Monument – and it was here that we encountered a group of illegal Mexicans stealing along the stream bed.  They were carrying large backpacks highly suggestive of drug smuggling, and the experience was unsettling.  Silently, they glared at us and we glanced back.  Turning, they clamored out of the boulder-strewn stream bed and clawed their way onto the far bank.  Then they disappeared into the brush.  We scurried back to our truck, and then as park instructions requested, we reported the incident to park headquarters.

The experience was, in fact, alarming, and so disconcerting that we have never returned to Alamo Canyon.  But the beauty of the canyon remained fixed in our memories, and because it has been haunting us, and because of increased security measures to help insure visitor piece of mind, yesterday, we returned.


AlamoCanyon (2 of 8)

Thoughts of encounters with illegal aliens have now been replaced with thoughts about the lushness and grandeur of
the saguaro and organ pipe that characterize Alamo Canyon


Alamo Canyon is, in fact, a splendid area, lush with both organ pipe and Saguaro, which you see immediately as you hit the trail.  They flank the path and frame the Ajo Mountain Range, whose jagged ridge juts into the blue desert sky.

A stream parallels the trail and because of recent rains it was trickling, creating condition reminiscent of the features that apparently attracted, Bill and Birdie Miller who homesteaded here in the early 1900’s.  Initially, they build an adobe home, but in the 1920’s the couple replaced it with a brick structure that still stands today.


AlamoCanyon (6 of 8) AlamoCanyon (5 of 8) AlamoCanyon (8 of 8)


Certainly the availability of water attracted the area’s early homesteaders, but perhaps it was also the beauty of
Alamo Canyon that so characterizes this gem of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. 


About 100 yards past the old brick home, we found a set of corrals and at this point we ran across park volunteer Lee Campbell.  Ironically, we had attended his digital slide show only the night before.  He said the corrals were constructed in the early 1930s.  He also said that Bill Miller left his wife Birdie and that she managed the cattle all alone.  Eventually, however, she sold everything off to the Grey family, whose ranching efforts we had explored several days earlier.


AlamoCanyon (7 of 8)

Janie examines the old corral built in the 1920 by Bill and Birdie Miller


For us, Alamo Canyon now stands out as a gem in the Sonoran Desert, offering what we believe are some of the monument’s best and most intriguing groupings of saguaro and organ pipe.  But equally as important, we believe that when we think Alamo Canyon it will be yesterday’s adventure we think of first, rather than of our encounter in January  of 2012 with a band of illegal aliens,who may have been transporting drugs.


———————

 

ORGAN PIPE ADVENTURE FROM 2012


Illegal Aliens, Our Encounter was Unnerving

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 »

West Point’s Historic Cemetery — where Our Parents Rest

posted: October 20th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Certainly one of the most significant stops Janie and I made during our three-week trip to the East Coast was the one we made this past Friday. Both Janie’s parents and my parents are buried at West Point, and we wanted to pay our respects. As well, we included in our walking tour an inspection of some of the graveyard’s old monuments for they preserve so much of our nation’s history.

We wanted to see where Janie lived between 1959 and 1961 when her father served as an Academy doctor and where I lived when my father served between 1946 and 1949 as a tact officer. My dad was also graduated from the Academy.



WestPoint-7

View of West Point from Stoney Lonesome Mountain

 

The graveyard overlooks the Hudson River and first served as a burial ground for soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Officially designated as the West Point cemetery in 1817, it has provided a beautiful resting ground for military men and women — some distinguished, some not so distinguished. Names include figures such as George Custer (not distinguished), General Norman Schwarzkopf, General Winfield Scott, General William Westmoreland, and Master Sergeant “Marty” Maher. Maher was portrayed as a central character in the film “The Long Gray Line,” and appropriately so, for he was the academy’s swimming coach and was considered in the movie as a voice of reason. He taught military dependents how to swim and in 1948 taught me how to do the breast stroke.


WestPoint-1 WestPoint-12 WestPoint-10


Janie places flowers on parent’s grave; marker for my parents (Mom 1914 t0 1999); site of famous author and, not so incidentally, her historic home is now a museum about West Point.

 

The cemetery includes Medal of Honor winners, and a few men and women whose history complemented West Point history, such as Anna B. Warner, who wrote the children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.” She became a well-known novelist of the times, but germane is the fact that her former family home is now a museum located on Academy grounds.

The Academy, of course, is not for everyone, and seven years ago I posted a blog about the Military Academy and tried to explain its suitability. Five Gildarts (three generations) attended West Point and it was just assumed I would try and enroll.


WestPoint-4 WestPoint-2 WestPoint-5


First Medal of Honor given during Civil War; side panel of Custer Obelisk who was reinterred after his Little Bighorn debacle; grave stone of William Westmoreland.

 

I posted images of the Custer obelisk and of the football which serves as the headstone for the famous coach Earl Blake. In short, our visit brought back many memories and we were lucky to have had an absolutely gorgeous day to visit our parents’ graves and refresh our memories of some of our nation’s history.


—————


THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Dramatizing Desert Heat With Photographs


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 »

Sandy Hook National Seashore Preserves My Wife’s Old Home

posted: October 15th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: Here in Great Meadows, New Jersey, where we are visiting family, we are not far from a relatively new national park which combines natural history with military history.   Sandy Hook National Historic Park includes old Fort Hancock, which in turn preserves a row of homes that served as the quarters for army officers.

Between 1958 and 1959, Janie’s dad was a military doctor who served at the old post and lived there with his family, which means Janie lived in a house that is now part of the history of Sandy Hook National Seashore.


SandyHook-2

Janie standing in front of her old home

 

We toured the old fort and national seashore with Janie’s son and his family and, of course, our explorations brought back many memories. Janie remembers driving the old peninsula flanked by a bay on one side and by the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Today, the park is also renowned for its beauty, which includes several sweeping vistas of the New York skyline. As part of the skyline view one can see the new Freedom Tower, which has replaced the two Twin Towers. (You can see it if you click the image and look closely.)

SandyHook-11 SandyHook-3 SandyHook-5


L to R:  Nike Missiles located but a short walk from Janie’s old home at Fort Hancock. Parade grounds formed her backyard.  Fort Hancock Lighthouse, nation’s oldest.  Seashore is a biker’s mecca. 

 

From the park’s broad sandy seashore, which one encounters after driving or biking through the park entrance, the park road soon progresses on to old Fort Hancock and, of course, we had to stop by Janie’s old home and hike the parade grounds which formed part of her back yard. (Two of the images show the officer’s row of homes and her’s was number 13.)

From the porch on her old home, she could see Raritan Bay, but when she ventured from her home she knew that a short walk would take her to several Nike Missiles, used to protect New York City. A short walk in another direction offered her the opportunity to examine old bunkers used to house canons. And in yet another direction a short hike would place her at the base of a light house, said to be the nation’s oldest.


SandyHook-1

Jane Gildart back dropped by New York skyline and the new Freedom Tower -- as seen from Sandy Hook National Seashore..

 

The day could not have been more beautiful providing the deep blue skies which backdrop several of the images I’ve included here.


————————-

THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Cow “Girl” Poetry

 

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 »

Celebrating the Macabre

posted: October 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: I doubt if there’s any place in North America that celebrates Halloween with more showiness then do the six states that embrace the region defined as New England.  To carry this thought one step further it might be argued that Sturbridge, Massachusetts, leads the pack with several of its very flamboyant displays.  Here, then, are several images from this relatively small town along with my thoughts on each of the four photographs.


Sturbridge-32

celebrating the macabre

 

Historically, Halloween began about the mid-1700s and was considered to be a time when witches communicated with the dead through various forms of divination. In commemoration of this day, which now has a great celebratory component, each fall the town’s “Public House” offers prizes to the creation that symbolizes the best (more or less) of the occult.

One of my images then shows entries on the lawn of the Sturbridge “Public House.” Another shows daughter Karen and Mother Janie absolutely mortified by their proximity to the evil appearing pumpkin that sports tentacles, while yet another offers an assortment of a strange being crowned in one case by a skull graced with tendrils of green.


Sturbridge-38 Sturbridge-33 Public House-1

L to R: Mother and daughter caught expressing their feeling of absolute terror; figures communing with other spirits on lawn of Public House; skull adorned with tendrils of green engulfed by other strange spirits — all part of the celebratory nature of Halloween in New England, in this case Sturbridge, Massachusetts.


Finally, another image shows the caricature of a man creating a pumpkin watched over by several evil-appearing black ravens.  That’s my favorite.

But you may also want to see how other parts of the country celebrate the macabre, and if so then CLICK — and that will take you on a graveyard walk that we enjoyed several years ago in Nova Scotia.  It was incredible!

THIS TIME ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO:

Grand Pre, 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 »

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




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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 »

“Happy Hippo” Prepares Us For Brewery Tour

posted: May 6th, 2014 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart:  Last week Janie and I attended a writer’s convention in Polson, Montana, and though much of it (previously described) was spent attending seminars on writing, photography and current events that pertained to our local environment, part of the time was also spent touring area attractions.


ChickenDance-1

Chicken Dance aboard the Happy Hippo

 

Polson has lots of attractions and several are shown here.  Bob Ricketts, at Three Dog Down, provided us with various types of entertainment to include songs at one of our dinners and a boat ride on his “Happy Hippo.”  Ricketts insisted that we all do the “Chicken Dance.” He said if we didn’t participate, we’d be “dowsed with a spray of water.”

Our hour-long tour on Flathead Lake was back dropped by the Rocky Mountains, and as you can tell, we all had fun.  The dance primed us for the afternoon’s next attraction.

Shortly after the Chicken Dance we unloaded and visited a local micro brewery,  which makes a number of excellent brands to include a Golden Grizzly Ale.  I wanted to show this Montana enterprise that I appreciated their work, and to do so felt had had to “sample” several bottles of the excellent brands which they produce.  I was thorough — so as not to insult.

NOWA-Conference-1 Polson-11 NOWA-Conference-10

 

L to R: Retired opera singer Bob Ricketts now owns Three Dog Down and the Happy Hippo, an amphibious craft he uses to show off the area’s spectacular landscape.  Brewery employees were engaging and encouraged Janie and me to sample their products.  I was partial to a “Golden Grizzly Ale” and worked hard to show a “thorough” appreciation.


Yet another benefit of attending the Outdoor Writer’s Convention was to pick up story assignments and I am delighted to report that next week Janie and I will be attending the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. Over the years the rodeo has become an international attraction and photographers with assignments are allowed into the arena.

In about two weeks, expect to see lots of up close and personal images of cowboys and quality bucking horses.  But you’ll certainly be seeing more from us before then.  Please stay tuned.


———————

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Travel in Zion National Park, Capped By 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 | Post a Comment »

Making a Prize Winning Photo

posted: April 22nd, 2014 | by:Bert

41040

Making A Prize Winning Photo requires much work

©Bert Gildart: Several years ago I won the first place award in the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA) photo contest.  As I mentioned in my last posting, NOWA is an organization of writers, photographers and editors who want to sell – or buy — stories and photographs.

The contest includes several categories and a contestant must win in several of the categories to place first for the contest, which I did.

Categories are varied and one included “outdoor activities,” in this case kayaking.  The attached photo may look as though it was easy to make, but it wasn’t.  In other words, it was much more than a simple “snap.”

I was lucky to have Janie, a first-rate kayak paddler/model who worked for over an hour to help me get all the “elements” artistically aligned.

Composition wise, the kayaks had to be angled properly and then pointed in the right direction – the mountains in Glacier National Park.  There had to be some separation as well between the two kayaks. Then Janie had to dip her paddle at just the right moment, and the outside blade had to be angled just right but still held high.   There had to be the right balance between my kayak and her kayak.  And Janie’s kayak had to be in focus, not mine.

At any rate, it all conspired to work well creating a picture that not only won first place but an image that has sold to a number of different publications.

The NOWA convention is an annual affair and will be held this week from Wednesday to Sunday, and I will be one of the judges in the photo contest, so obviously won’t be participating in the “shoot out.”  The city of Polson is hosting our convention and they have planned an interesting agenda for us.  There’s lots to see and Janie, who is also a member, and I are both looking forward to a week of seminars, tours and, of course, seeing folks from all over the Northwest.  In the past, attending NOWA conventions has taken us to several Canadian provinces and to all the states in the Northwest.  We’ve been doing this a long time.

And, now, least I forget, happy Earth Day.  It was established in 1970 by the Nixon administration, an administration which also passed the Clean Water Act.  Politics are a bit different today, for today environmental concerns are not so popular among many Republicans.


————–

 

AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

*California Condor

 

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 »