Monday, September 7, 2009

Backpacking in Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness

Nick and I went backpacking in August in Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness. It is something that he has been wanting to do for 6 years and he finally decided that he couldn't get anyone to go along with him, except me. We dropped the girls off at Grandma and Grandpa Skabelund's house on Wednesday night and left Thursday morning for the 12 hour drive to Montana.

These are some of the gorgeous photos I took just on the dirt road on the way there.

Of course, Nick had to stop on the side of the road and check for some fossils.

This is our first day on the hike, Friday morning. This day is the day we hiked 20 miles. Very long, hilly and muddy.

We passed a ton of beautiful places. Lakes, rivers, little cabins, etc. I kept taking pictures of everything. Especially all the footprints I kept stepping over. I was terrified we would run into a bear.

There was this section of forest that had been burned out and it was really sad and beautiful at the same time.

We had to hike about 5.5 miles just to get to the Great Bear National Forest, which led to the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

We hiked nearly the entire way on the Spotted Bear River Trail.

We had to cross several rivers to get there, but we finally made it to the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

We made it to this forest service cabin where we stopped for lunch and a rest break. It was about 11.5 miles in on the first day.

We had to take our shoes off to make it past this river.

This is the last part of the ascent up the mountain. Switchback Pass = Pure Evil. It was really steep and aweful. The trail wasn't very good, but it was the steepness that really killed us. 5.5 miles of straight uphill.

Funny story, Nick tried to make our packs lighter right before we left the truck. He decided that we didn't need two bottles of water purification tablets. He didn't actually read the label on the bottle until we ran our of water and then realized that the actual bottle of water purification tablets was in the truck and he had only brought the second bottle which was supposed to make the water taste better. So, we wasted a lot of time trying to find the best places for water. This creek was running pretty fast so we filled up here.

This is the view from halfway up Switchback Pass. We wanted to go to the other side of this mountain. We stopped for a break and I looked up and this is what I saw. Even out in the middle of the wilderness there was a tree with Nick's name carved into it. Kind of sad. I didn't do it, I swear. I thought it was a little random.

This is the top of Switchback Pass. It was mostly downhill from here, but still another five miles. It took us until about 9:30pm to get to the lake we wanted to camp at and I'm not going to lie, I was freaking out because we were hiking around in the dark. I hate hiking in the dark, even with headlamps.

This is the view of the lake that we woke up to that next morning. It was really pretty. This side of the mountain is the entire reason we hiked 20 miles. We started hiking uphill again, in the morning. There was actually some snow there, that's how high up we were.