Bob Marshall Wilderness
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Michael Nagengast
(MikeN) - F
Bob Marshall Wilderness on 05/19/2008 15:44:32 MDT Print View

I'm planing a Aug.-Sept. backpack trip to the BMW.
I would like feedback on where to hike.
I perfer the North half of the BMW but will look at other areas.
My main concern is to avoid well used horse trails. I have about 8 days to spend, my partner and I are stroung hikers. We perfer trails with good scenery.
If you have experence in the BMW please refer to areas or trail # you perfer.

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Bob Marshall on 05/20/2008 08:01:22 MDT Print View

I can't recommend trails, but I did go Elk hunting there sevral years ago and obviously you need to prepare for a lot of Grizzly sign and presence. I wear a size 13 boot and could put my entire boot into one track I found.

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
The Bob on 05/20/2008 17:04:24 MDT Print View

I hiked up the SF Flathead of few years ago. We went up to Salmon Lake and a little beyond. I think it was trail #80 but would need to verify. There weren't a lot of hikers but quite a few rafters on the river, so if you are looking for solitude, keep that in mind. Even with the rafters I would not call it crowded. Everyone was spread out fairly well. My son and I had a very close encounter with a Grizzly. I would definitely advise on bringing bear spray. I didn’t and regretted it.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The Bob on 05/20/2008 18:36:13 MDT Print View

Randall,

I am going into the Bob for a couple of weeks starting July 9. I will be going over Young's pass, down Young's Creek, and then down the SF Flathead. At Big Salmon Lake I will loop around the lake at the Barrier falls and back to the SF Flathead. I will leave the SF Flathead before Meadow Creek Gorge.

Please expand on your trip info including the dates you were there, what the scenery was like, the particulars of the grizzly encounter, etc.

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
The Bob on 05/20/2008 22:23:24 MDT Print View

Richard……
I’m envious, that sounds like a great hike. It’s great fishing for Cutthroat trout if you fish. I can’t remember exactly when we were there. In July some time as I recall. I did the hike about 4 years ago, so all the particulars are not really fresh in my mind. As far as the bear encounter, I was with my son who was about 9 or 10 at the time. We were on our way back out and were about 10 miles from the trailhead. We stopped and made camp, cooked dinner, cleaned everything up and then hung all the food with the cook pot in a tree. Feeling good about getting all the chores done, we then grabbed the fly rod and went around the corner from our camp about 75 yards or so to do some fishing. As I was tying a fly on the line, my son tells me he sees a bear. I look up and sure enough, directly on the other side of the river from us a grizzly drops down out of the trees. When I was younger, I worked in Alaska as a fishing guide and so had been around lots of bears before. My experience with them was to wave my arms and get the bears attention. Once the bear had a visual, they always stayed clear. So I did just that to make sure that the bear knew we were there. The bear saw us, dropped down in the river and started to drink. I felt better, but then right away the bear started swimming right toward us. So I grabbed my son and we headed up the bank into the trees. I found a fir tree that forked about 4 feet from the ground and got my son up in it and had him climb up about another 10 feet or so. I stayed on the ground to see if the bear was even going to come our way. Sure enough, I could hear him crashing thru the brush coming our way so I got up into the tree with my son. We watched the bear go right underneath us and head right for our camp. After about 15 minutes I climbed down out of the tree and stood for a few minutes getting my nerves settled. As I was watching, I told my son to come on down. As I was looking around my son started his decent from the tree. The worst part of the whole experience was a branch broke from underneath my son and he free fell about 10 feet and landed on his back. I was more scared at that point than at any point during the bear encounter. He had the wind knocked out of him real bad and I feared that maybe he had a collapsed lung as he struggled to get a breath. In just a few seconds though he got his breath and I got him settled down and gave him a big hug. I was so relieved that he was okay. We went back to inspect the damage at camp. Luckily the bear went right thru our camp turning over rocks grubbing on his way, but didn’t touch a thing in camp. It really pays to keep a clean camp in bear country.

As far as the scenery, it’s beautiful. We stayed along the river the whole trip. Where we started way down river there was a deep gorge at the beginning of the hike. Very nice. The only horses and pack animals we saw were down lower within a few miles of the trail head and were packing rafters out from the takeout as the lower gorge is a hazard for river runners. I remember that there were tons of wild chives that grew wild along the river.

I’m happy to report that my son still loves to go hiking and we’re heading to the Olympics this coming weekend.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: The Bob on 05/20/2008 22:29:09 MDT Print View

Randall,

Thank you for the trip report!

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Trips in the Bob Marshall wilderness on 05/21/2008 08:40:12 MDT Print View

Michael,
Each of the last five years I have led or participated in a service trip, doing trail maintenance in the Bob, and I've done many other great backpacks there. One of the best areas is the loop from Holland Lake to Upper Holland Lake, to Sapphire Lake, through the pass and down the Smoky Creek trail to the Big Salmon River, then back down a set of switchbacks to the trailhead. GREAT scenery, wonderful cutthroat fishing, endless day hike alternatives. Anything along the Middle Fork of the Flathead will be good fishing and there are a number of really remote areas back there. You should plan a couple of alternatives as August means fire danger and often many tail closings. PM me if you'd like more information.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Service trips in the Bob Marshall wilderness on 05/21/2008 08:49:16 MDT Print View

Oh, and if any of you is feeling civic-minded and is interested in a service trip, many are listed at the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation's website, www. thebmwf.org, and the trip I am leading this summer is listed at http://www.wildernessvolunteers.org/php/project.php?VHE6n=d5e6ed690bb51e3b03a670daeab1b8a4

The picture at the left was taken at Woodward Lake, about two miles off the Smoky Creek Trail.