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  1. #1

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    Cool July 2018 Bob Marshall Through-hike...Not.



    OlTrailDog and I took a trip into the West Side of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex beginning on Sunday afternoon, July 08. It was quite a drive down the 65 miles of dirt road to get to the Silvertip TH; thank goodness OlTrailDog had a stout ¾-ton truck.

    This trip was originally planned as a (roughly) eight-day trek from the East side of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (BMWC), past the Chinese Wall, and out the West side of the BMWC. Mother Nature decided that the plan was no good and proceeded to dump multiple inches of rain over most of the Eastern side of the BMWC. The multi-day downpour(s) generated flooding and washouts of nearly all of the East-side access points we might have tried to use. Further, trail conditions on the West side had prompted reassignment of resources to Trail 80, apparently _the_ major route on the West side with respect to Forest Service cabin support and access.
    With the entire East side essentially out of commission, we decided to go in on the West side and do an out-and-back trek of shorter duration. (We went from “Through-hike The BMWC From East To West Past The Chinese Wall” to “No Particular Place To Go, No Particular Time To Get There.”)

    We entered at the Silvertip TH on a fairly hot day with temps in the high-80s-low-90s range. Trail 83 took us down (OOPS! I mean, “up”) the Spotted Bear River. Along the way, we enjoyed the aroma of Lodgepole Pine and Wax-leaf Ceanothus. Bird calls (identified by OlTrailDog) serenaded our progress. Uphill to our right, we could see the Limestone Cliffs and Limestone Peak as we moved up-river.

    A four-to-five-mile hike took us to our first night’s campsite just after an easy ford through the shallow---but rather cool---river. We camped at a well-established campsite just off Trail 83, right near the confluence of Dean Creek and Spotted Bear River.

    After we set up our hammocks, food and hydration were uppermost in our minds. We enjoyed our evening repast along the banks of the Spotted Bear River. (Gear note: I was trying out an Esbit stove. It worked like a charm.) Given the day’s heat and effort, we each drank a goodly amount of water into which we had dissolved some electrolyte-replacement tabs. Food bags were then hung.

    After some chewing of the fat, we settled in to our hammocks.

    Monday morning, we had breakfast, broke camp, and decided to move to the other side of the river and hang out there for the day. We set up camp, explored, filtered enough water to replenish our stocks, explored some more, and engaged in more chewing of the fat. Naps were taken, despite the heat. (Gear note: I had with me a 5’ X 7’ reflective tarp. Silver-side up over my rainfly, it helped a little but did not provide protection from the Sun sufficient to enable serious, heavy-duty napping---but I did my best.)

    Throughout the day, deer wandered in and out of camp to the tune of various birdsongs. OlTrailDog and I exchanged a few favorite knots. Several thousand miles of trail got maintained, dozens of forest-fires were extinguished, and a couple of million tons of coal were mined---all in a day’s camping.

    Evening brought dinner-time, hydration, more chewing of the fat, and many mosquitoes. Thank goodness we had repellent. As the Sun set, we again tested our ability to sleep, and found that we could sleep right well on the banks of the Spotted Bear River.

    Tuesday morning called for breakfast and we obliged. (Gear note: I had discovered upon arising that the entire left side of my mosquito netting had torn loose from the zipper. Now I knew why and how I had awakened to swarms of mosquitoes inside my hammock. The DEET had worn off during the night. )

    Given this distressing, if not quite catastrophic, gear failure and the fact that the Forest Service had informed us that Trail 83 was cleared only as far as the confluence of Pentagon Creek and Spotted Bear River, we elected to head out. Again, our walk was made quite pleasant by the scenery, the sweet smell of Lodgepole Pine and Wax-leaf Ceanothus, and the delightful birdsongs that filled the air. There was much swapping of stories along the way.

    It was a very nice trip and OlTrailDog’s Belle Marie was a great companion. She is well-mannered and quiet, and all she asks is food, water, and love---the kind of dog you want to meet.

    Thanks for walking with me, OlTrailDog. Maybe we’ll hit The Chinese Wall next year… You never know…

  2. #2
    ObdewlaX's Avatar
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    Nice report, but where are the pics???

    My dad & brothers hiked in the Bob way back in the '70's that included the Chinese Wall. That's one trip I'm sorry I missed, but I was on my own trip... worked for 2 months in England then backpacked all over Europe for a month.

  3. #3

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    Facing some unexpected, personal issues at this time. Pics when responsibilities allow.

  4. #4

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  5. #5
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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