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 December, 2014

Christmas Greetings From Lake Mead

posted: December 21st, 2014 | by:Bert

Dear Family and Friends:  In years past we’ve mailed Christmas letters to family and friends, but we’re on the road right now and just discovered we left our address book at home. Hopefully, this posting will  seem just as appropriate.

Though it may seem as though we’ve become jet-setters, that’s really not the case.  However, we have amassed lots of Frequent Flier mileage and decided to use them this fall for various events.

Bert&Janie B&Janie N-LightsCabin500

L to R: We’re still On the Trail; Janie and Bert in Arizona; outside our cabin in Venetie Alaska, which still brings back some of our most favorite travel images.

In September, we flew to San Francisco to attend a family wedding.  Then, one week after returning to Montana, our home (when we’re not in our Airstream), we flew to Albany, New York, rented a car and then drove to several of the New England states to visit family and friends.  Of particular significance was a trip to see Nancy Dennis, whose husband Don, had just passed away.  Though we all knew his cancer was serious, his passing has been hard to accept, because he was active so recently.

Otherwise, this past year has been a good one.  We saw Janie’s children and their respective spouses.  Together, in our extended family, we have 14 grandchildren and we saw all of them this year, but just wish we all lived a little closer.

Acquarium-16 Harris'sHawk KarenJanie

L to R:  Photographer recording pulsations of jelly fish; flight shot of hawk in Sonoran Desert Museum; Karen and Mother Jane on right  chomping on apples during Apple Orchard tour.

At one time Janie and I used to enjoy x-country skiing, but in recent years we’ve been enjoying seeing so many new places from the comfort of our Airstream.  This past winter we spent time in the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce.  At the moment we are in Lake Mead National Recreation Area spending Christmas with good friends who are from Montana and from Canada.  We’ve all been amazed at the extent to which this sustained drought has dropped the Lake Mead Reservoir.  Water, of course, is the concern, and we’re wondering how the reservoir will ever return to “normal.”

LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Lake Mead shoreline with "bathtub" ring showing extent to which reservoir has shrunk. I'm standing in the "ring."

We continue with work as both writers and photographers for various magazines. Included here are a few published images.  We’re still working for Globe Pequot, and will be returning this spring to Shenandoah NP to update our book on that park.  It has been one of our best sellers.

Hoping this letter finds everyone in good health and that the new year offers all that can be reasonable expected.



Christmas Greeting from Bigfork Montana

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Lake Mead Waters — Where’d They All Go?

posted: December 11th, 2014 | by:Bert

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

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

LakeMeadeShoreline (1 of 1)

Water once lapped at shore where this photo taken.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

StThomas (2 of 10)

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


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




Historic Fort Davis

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

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

$18.95 + Autographed Copy

Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

What makes Glacier, Glacier?

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

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

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

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