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

Desert View, A Grand Canyon Highlight

©Bert Gildart: Desert View, located about 25 miles east of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center claims the park’s best view of the Colorado River.  Little wonder everyone wants to model in front of this powerful scene, and how lucky I was that an Oriental model agreed to pose for her mother and then to then stay a second or two longer so that I might also record the setting.

The young lady stood next to the 70 foot stone tower intended to look like an ancient Pueblo watch tower, and reminded us of one we’d visited often at Hovenweep National Monument.  But interpreters say this “Watch Tower” dwarfs any known Indian tower. Its draw is almost as magnetic as are views from the rim, and moments later “my” model headed for the circular tower.


Desert View (9 of 10)

Oriental model assumes pose at Desert View, next to the Watch Tower.

 


She was the first of several people who would add depth and presumably interest to the photos I took at Desert Views.

WORKS OF ART

Like others I wanted to climb to the top, and learn a bit more about the existence of “The Watch Tower.”  It was designed by architect Mary Colter and completed in 1932.  It is a four-story structure and the top is reached by climbing about 80 steps up a narrow circular stair case.



Desert View (2 of 10) Desert View (4 of 10) Desert View (8 of 10)



At the top level, spotting scopes have been mounted at each of the windows that peer onto the Colorado River. Synching my strobe with the daylight exposure outside the tower I took several images.  Then I returned to levels two and three where an artist had created genuine works of art depicting various aspects of Native cultures, particularly the Hopi culture.

KOKOPELLI

Shortly after the tower was completed Fred Kabotie, a Hopi Indian,  created panels of animals and of various spiritual figures.  He drew images of elk, of the sun, and of fertility. In his work he also duplicated some of the pictographs and petroglyphs found thoughout the Southwest to include Kokopelli, the mythological flute player.


Desert View (5 of 10) Desert View (7 of 10)


Kokopelli was the predominant figure in the religious landscape of the Southwest from 500 A.D. through 1325 A.D. Typically, Kokopelli was considered a god of fertility, and is still worshipped by many Native American tribes in the Southwest. Others consider him to be a trickster, musician, or a warrior — one with magical hunting skills.

But all of the images in the tower were haunting, enough so that the collective voice of the crowd had been subdued.


Desert View (1 of 10)


Janie and I spend almost an hour wandering the interior of the Watch Tower, then returned outside and noticed that the trail along this rim setting also offered a view of Navajo Mountain, which in the distance and through the haze backdropped the Colorado River.

So far we rank Desert View one of the highlights of our explorations – but there are more to come.


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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:

*Bison Kill Site

 

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

 



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