Bob Marshall Wilderness

Montana USA: (RTMT01)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/mt_bob_marshall.aspx

Introduction
Montana USA
Montana is a place of vast prairies, spectacular snow-covered mountains, verdant forests, and wild rivers and streams. Its land is filled with wildlife, its waters bountiful with fish.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is known as the "crown jewel" of the wilderness system. There is high drama here and there is great peace. Our trips begin where the Great Plains rise to meet the Rocky Mountains. We climb with the land, from trout-rich rivers through lodge pole forest and alpine meadows to towering limestone cliffs. This is the home of tiny shooting stars and 600 pound grizzly bears, the mischievous Clark's nutcracker and the stately elk. In the glacial sweep of low meadow and aspen groves, we often spot whitetail and mule deer. High basins may yield fossils of unlikely sea plants, sponges and shellfish, as well as today's living inhabitants, the pika, marmot, mountain goat and eagle. These trips are run by professional guides Ron and Tucker who were each born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Augusta area and have packed and guided here since 1959. This is a small, family operation of high quality, taking pride in good stock, equipment, food, camp facilities, and an experienced crew.

The heart of our Montana wilderness operation is a base camp in the White River, just four miles from the continental divide and many well known landmarks, such as the Chinese Wall, Needle Falls, Flathead Alps, Big Salmon Lake and many others, which may be not as well known, such as the "Lost World of Peggy Creek," for example. This region affords good opportunities to see wildlife in one of the last natural strongholds in North America, and many opportunities to fish for the native cutthroat, both big and small. Montana has been called the "last best place." Come see why.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a pack trip, so most nights are spent camping.

Description
Two nights are spent at a local B&B and six nights are spent camping.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 8: Bunkhouse Inn
Night 2-7: Camping

Bunkhouse Inn
The Bunkhouse Inn was built in 1912 at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. There are no phones or TVs here… just a comfy bed, a rocking chair on the front porch, and a fire and cup of coffee inside to keep you in the Augusta state of mind! Each of our 9 bedrooms is uniquely decorated with it’s own bed configuration. There are three bathrooms, all shared between the 9 bedrooms.

Camping
You will stay in the Bob Marshall Wilderness at the base camp "White River" (22 miles in) via the Benchmark trail head and ride out each day for a new adventure into the wilderness.  Guests sleep in wall tents with cots - very comfortable camp. At camp, we have outhouses and solar showers. You can also decide to go swimming to bathe.


Meals
All meals except in Augusta are included.

In Augusta, there is a small diner named Mel’s which offers ice cream, burgers and amazing breakfasts. The Buckhorn bar serves it's famous broiled chicken and offers many other menu items such as steak and burgers. Both are directly across the street from the B&B. Down the street is the Allen’s Manix General Store where they say….”if we don’t have it, you don’t need it”. J and S Country Store also offers a wide variety of souvenirs. The Western Bar also serves great lunch and dinner meals.

We specialize in good food served in a casual atmosphere around the campfire or wood stove. Our general dinner menus include spaghetti, roast, chicken or turkey, steak, pork chops, hamburgers, green salads, potatoes, pasta or rice and dessert are the general rule. Breakfasts may include, bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausage, oatmeal, french toast and breakfast tortillas. Sack lunches are the general drill. Breakfasts and dinners are enjoyed in camp while lunch is had out on the trail.

Alcohol is not included, but you can bring your own, within reason.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions if given prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Riding Experience

Riding experience on our trips varies from the hard-core riders, who are use to 10 go 20 mile excursions, to the novice rider, who may have only seen a horse and never rode one. All of our horses are well trained and extremely gentle, so no riding experience is necessary. We take guests varying in age from 7 year old children to gentlemen and ladies who may be as old as the mountains themselves.

The relationship with your horse begins on the morning your trip departs for the wilderness. Before introducing you to your specific horse we give you a detailed instruction course on proper handling, trail etiquette, and safety rules. More lessons are learned on the trail but we cover the basics before we begin our adventure. We then introduce each guest to their assigned horse we try to match guests and horses according to experience, size, ability and attitude. In other words the bigger the person the bigger the horse. The more experienced rider may want a more spirited horse and the novice rider would be better suited with a calmer, gentler animal. The attitude of the horse and rider must be compatible. This makes things easier and more pleasurable for all. Once introductions and instructions are over we mount up and head down the trail. Even the intimidated rider who was nervous about the trip becomes perfectly at ease after a mile or two on the trail. The miles pass quickly as we ride along the thick timber, crossing small mountain streams or rivers, then through parks where we can look out and see the splendor of the Rocky Mountains.

Horses
You will be riding our gentle, well cared for mountain horses. A pack string of horses and mules will carry our camp goods, food, and duffel bags. You will have your camera and lunch in your saddlebags, and jacket and rain gear on your saddle. Each animal has its own personality: so after you are given your horse more instruction on his or her habits is necessary. Some like to try to snatch a bite of grass while going down the trial or some may need more encouragement then other to keep them up with the group. Though I suppose each animal has it's flaws, they are as perfect as we can ask of them. Our horses are trail wise and alert so there are few stumbles or blunders. They work hard to keep you comfortable though sometimes your backside may get a little sore. We also try to offer opportunities to walk and lead your horse on level or downhill slopes. Walking helps to keep your muscles loose, decreasing the stiffness that may occur from too much time in the saddle.

Some of the trusty mules and horses you may meet on your trip are Lila, Starz, Wyatt, Hildalgo, Shaggy, Musty, Alvin, Gambler, Ringo, Sully, Tombstone, Harley, McDuff, Curly, Cloudy, Flower, Daisy, Hunter, Handsome Jack, Tracker, Roach, Strawberry, Blueberry, Woodrow, Rags, Reno, Slobber, and Bradley. There are too many to name them all!! We own the horses and mules we use and have a great deal of respect for the work they do to make your trip the adventure of a lifetime!

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1

Arrive to Great Falls before 2:00pm for transfer to Augusta. Check into local B&B. Afternoon check of baggage and re-organizing into duffel bags. Dinner on your own. In Augusta, there is a small diner named Mel’s which offers ice cream, burgers and amazing breakfasts. The Buckhorn bar serves it's famous broiled chicken and offers many other menu items such as steak and burgers. Both are directly across the street from the B&B. Down the street is the Allen’s Manix General Store where they say "if we don’t have it, you don’t need it". J and S Country Store also offers a wide variety of souvenirs. The Western Bar also serves great lunch and dinner meals.

Day 2
Early morning pick up, and arrival in Benchmark just after daylight.  The wranglers should just be finishing up with the saddling of the stock. After an introduction to safe horsemanship, you will be introduced to your horse for the trip. Riders are matched as closely as possible to their mounts according to individual skills and abilities. Our stock is good, gentle stock. You should be on the trail early in the morning, and riding into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. We cross the South Fork of the Sun River via the pack bridge, then across the West Fork pack bridge. Quite often we see elk, whitetail deer, and mule deer along this stretch of trail while the dew is still on the grass. We often stop for lunch at the Indian Creek Ranger Station, or thereabouts. On some trips we may camp in this vicinity, if we have previously made arrangements. After lunch we saddle up and start up and start the ride up Indian Creek. This is an especially scenic area. On most trips in late July to mid-August, bears can be seen from time to time, feeding on the berry crop across the drainage. This is also a good area in which to see mountain goats. The scenic ride climaxes on top of the Continental Divide. From here it is five miles down hill to our camp, and a well deserved rest after the 22-mile horseback ride.

Day 3
After yesterday's hard ride, we turned the horses out to pasture, as we plan to spend most of this day in and around our base camp. Our camp is located at the nexus of the White River and South Fork of the White River, in almost the exact geographical center of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The White River is 150 yards from camp and affords some really good fishing opportunities for both novice and expert fishermen. West slope cutthroat trout are the primary species. If you don’t wish to fish, you can go for a scenic hike right out of camp, take a sun shower (we cheat and heat the water when necessary), and watch the deer feed in and around camp most anytime.

Day 4
The daily schedule for any day can be arranged to fit both personal and group desires, and weather conditions. This day we are planning a day ride to the South Fork of the Flathead River. It involves a 7-mile (one way) river grade trip, fishing and swimming in the river (which is about 10 degrees warmer than the White River). On the way we may see wildlife, take pictures in White River Park and Murphy's Meadows, pick out the profile on "Scarface" Mountain, and practice horsemanship. After returning to a delicious meal, campfire talk, songs and good company can be enjoyed any evening.

Day 5
Today we are going up the White River on horseback, to a "secret" place known only as "the lost World". This place is a remote valley, inaccessible from most directions, and then only by an unmarked trail. Many times, mountain goat, elk and mule deer can be seen. This place gives us the feeling that they are on the moon as the terrain seems to be mostly rock. On the way we will pass Needle Falls, where the mainstream of the White River appears to pass through the eye of the "needle:, a hole in the rock that in recent times formed a natural bridge. By mid-afternoon we should be back in camp, with time left for a hike or to fish after dinner.

Day 6
This is a good day to go to the "Flathead Alps", up the drainage of the South Fork of the White river. A relatively easy ride, it can be as easy or as hard as you wish as you can hike in the "Alps" while the others catch a nap in the sun or take pictures. Adventure is where you find it, or in some cases where you create it.

Day 7
This is a special day, one that we have been saving until now. This trip is a must for everyone. Just four miles up the trail from camp, on Haystack Mountain, to the Chinese Wall. This is an overpowering sight, as the mountain appears to have been cut off with a huge knife, some 1,400 feet from top to bottom. This is the Continental Divide. The general area is also referred to as the "overthrust belt". Often we see bighorn sheep and mountain goats, and sometimes a herd of elk can be spotted in the valley below. If you like mountain scenery, you will love this place set in the midst of a panorama of the wildest places in the continental U.S.

Day 8
We will try to be in the saddle by early morning. We will take the same trail we came in on, but somehow it looks much different going the other direction, and just as beautiful as over again. We should be at Benchmark by mid-afternoon, and you can expect be to Augusta by about 6:00 PM, checking into a local B&B.

Day 9
After breakfast transfer back to Great Falls.
 


Rates and Dates for Bob Marshall Wilderness

Rates include:

Accommodations: B&B on the first and last night in Augusta and 6 nights camping, all meals (except when in Augusta), 6 riding days.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20197 day Pack Trip, AP + first and last night in B&B$2590

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer from/to Great Falls included on Day 1 (before 2:00pm) and Day 9 only $0
2019 Single supplement for first and last night in B&B $85

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bags and mats, meals in Augusta

Other Info
Meeting: Augusta
Airport: Great Falls International Airport (GTF)
Transfer: Great Falls International Airport (GTF)

Climate:
                                             Augusta area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

37

41

48

57

66

74

83

82

72

61

46

38

Average Low Temperature (°F)

12

16

22

30

38

45

50

48

40

31

22

14

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

5

9

14

19

23

28

28

22

16

8

4

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-11

-9

-6

-1

3

7

10

9

4

0

-6

-10

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

2

2

3

4

6

6

4

4

4

2

2

2

Source: NOAA


Seasons

Montana experiences diverse weather conditions ranging from winter snowfalls of 300+ inches (in the mountains) to long summer days, often followed by beautiful and mild autumns, complete with vibrant hues of yellow and gold.

Summer in Montana is heavenly, with long sunny days. The warm afternoons turn into cool summer evenings, so keep a lightweight sweatshirt or jacket on hand.

On average, the warmest month is July and the coolest month is January. The maximum average precipitation occurs in May.

What To Bring:
Long duffel bags are best for packing.  Your 30 lbs should include your bedroll, but NOT your camera, raingear and jacket (which will be attached to your saddle) and NOT one day’s set of clothes (which will be attached to you).  DO NOT plan on wearing a backpack while riding.  Everything you have with you on the saddle should fit in the saddle bags provided.  If not then you possibly should put excess in duffel.  Jackets can be rolled up and tied to the back of saddle.

Suggested Clothing and Equipment
- Riding helmet - please bring your own if you want to wear a riding helmet! 
- Boots: riding boots or light hiking boots;  some kind of heel and no heavy tread is preferable for safety in the stirrup  
- 2 pair of long pants
- Pair of shorts
- 2 or 3 light sleeveless or t-shirts
- Long sleeved cotton shirt
- Turtleneck
- Changes of underwear and socks (heavy wool socks are good for hiking)
- Warm sweater or heavy wool shirt
- Wind resistant jacket
- Rainproof rain gear (including rain pants)
- Down or fiberfill vest
- Bandanna or neck scarf
- Cap or hat (for the sun)
- Pair of wool gloves
- Long underwear (for night)
- Pair of sneakers (in camp shoes)
- Pair of water sandals
- Sleeping bag: nights may be frosty. Bring a warm one!
- Air mattress or thin pad: we recommend the ¾ length self-inflating mattress
- Day pack (mostly for hikers)
- Canteen or filtering water bottle
- Water purification tabs (optional)
- Garbage bags (unless you have waterproof duffel).  You may also choose to compartmentalize your duffel by clumping different categories of goods in separate bags.                 

Other Suggested Equipment
- Camera and film with a sturdy Ziploc bag for wet weather,
- Flashlight (little and light),
- Allergy medications, if needed,
- Insect repellent,
- Sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Small notebook for journal
- Washcloth and small hand towel
- Toiletries:  contact lenses, toothbrush, floss, chap stick, etc.
- Biodegradable shampoo and soap
* We carry a first-aid book and kit in the camp gear

For The Fisher Folk
Bring your family and your pole. You will find excellent trout fishing on the Dearborn and Sun Rivers, and the headwaters of the Blackfoot, the setting of the book on which Robert Redford based his 1992 movie  "A River Runs Through It". Fish in all these rivers, primarily cutthroat, rainbow, and brown, feed aggressively on dry flies and small nymphs Our catch-and-release record is 105 fish caught in three hours.