Here’s an excellent article centered on the Bob Marshal Wilderness. NFPA founding member Frank Vitale gets more than just a passing mention.
(And there’s even a link back to this website. See if you can find it.) . . .
Here’s a partial list of things you cannot, under any circumstances, take into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, in Montana: chainsaws, mountain bikes, ATVs, tractors, wheelbarrows. If it has gears, it stays home. If it’s mechanical in any way, it’s a no-go.
Those are the rules deemed necessary to protect the United States’ 803 federally designated wilderness areas. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, with its 1,849 miles of trails, happens to be one of the biggest.
The Bob, as it is affectionately called by Montanans, is home to wolves, grizzlies, elk, moose and mountain lions. The pristine territory is more than 1.5m acres, roughly eight times the size of New York City. And thanks to the 1964 Wilderness Act, it is not crossed by a single road. Drones and bush planes are also, today, strictly forbidden.
But here’s what you can take along for the ride instead: the humble mule.
Rick and Susie Graetz (they bring a geography class to the North Fork each year) have a fascinating article in the Hungry Horse News about the Great Burn area in the Lolo National Forest . . .
Stephen Pyne’s vivid description of the summer from hell that visited the forests of the northern Bitterroot Divide on the Montana/Idaho border in 1910 goes like this:
“Winds felled trees as if they were blades of grass; darkness covered the land; firewhirls danced across the blackened skies like an aurora borealis from below; the air was electric with tension, as if the earth itself was ready to explode into flames. And everywhere people heard the roar, like a thousand freight trains crossing a thousand steel trestles.”
From May through August of that year, little rain fell and the snow had disappeared from southern slopes by April. Vegetation was rendered tinder dry. In July, hundreds of fires, some lightning caused but most by careless people, were burning.
A somewhat breathless article about the North Fork appears in the most recent edition of Flathead Living . . .
No matter the season, the trappings of civilization abate on the journey to Polebridge, the nagging fixtures of workaday refinement receding the further one travels north over this far-flung, off-the-grid landscape, its remote, rugged terrain stripping away the polished layers of urbanity like acetone.
Driving through the wild and scenic North Fork Flathead River corridor, the cell phone signal and chirping email notifications are the first to retreat, their attendant, tech-induced anxiety quieted and retooled with a streak of uncompromising individualism that runs deep through the valley and its scant population of year-round residents, who are handily outnumbered by the wildlife.
Over at the Mago Guide site, Patti Hart has posted a very nice, very detailed guide to the Mount Nasukoin hike.
Check it out . . .
The hike to Nasukoin is without a doubt one of our favorites in the Whitefish Range of the Flathead National Forest. It is in fact not one but three hikes where the first stop is Link Lake, next on up to Lake Mountain, and finally all the way up to the top of Nasukoin, the highest point in the Glacier View Ranger district.
The Daily Inter Lake has a nice write-up on the Polebridge Mercantile’s 100th anniversary . . .
Just before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the sun is up and working hard to burn off fog that has settled over the Polebridge Mercantile.
Addie Cleveland walks to the front door and unlocks it for the day’s first customer, flipping the sign in the window from closed to open.
Staff members have been at the store since 5 a.m. making the Merc’s famous pastries. Tuesdays are special because not only are workers making treats for the store, they also are baking items for the Whitefish Farmer’s Market.
The Flathead Beacon posted an interesting article on fire lookouts . . .
Hiking to the remote mountaintops of the Flathead Valley can be a humbling admonisher of nature’s forces, but some of Montana’s peaks and ridges also bristle with a reminder of mankind’s attempt to subdue that vigor.
Like cabins in the sky, fire lookouts — a term used to describe both a person and a place — rose to prominence a century ago, when wildfire detection became a priority following the massive fires of 1910, and the U.S. Forest Service launched its fire lookout program in earnest.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed more than 5,000 towers across the country, often in remote and inaccessible locations, and today, although modern technology and airplane surveillance play larger roles in spotting flames, the lookout program remains intact.
The Daily Inter Lake covered the anual University of Montana “Polebridge Class” with two articles, one of them splashed all over last Sunday’s front page. The lead article talked about the class and how Polebridge “stirred to life” to support it. The second talked about “the mail lady” (and her wolf, of course).
The Missoulian posted a pretty nice article today discussing the North Fork’s shift from summer’s bustle to winter’s quiet. The Polebridge Mercantile and the North Fork Hostel both get mentions, as well as some other people and places . . .
The knuckles whiten, the undercarriage rattles and the trappings of civilization recede.
Larry talks about driving the Inside North Fork Road, which was recently re-opened all the way from the Fish Creek campground to Kintla Lake. I took the same route a few days earlier and it is, indeed, a beautiful drive . . .
When I tell people that when I was first on the North Fork (1947) that the Inside Road from Polebridge and the West Side road each took the same time to drive to Belton or Columbia Falls, they have trouble believing me.
Susan Gallagher did a nice Associated Press piece about the North Fork that is getting national and world-wide distribution today. Just for fun, the “continue reading” link below sends you to New Zealand to read the rest of her article . . .
The Blackfeet Tribe named the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem “the backbone of the world.” Use the park’s remote, northwestern entrance and the bumpy access road will have you feeling like you drove over each vertebra. But you’ll be grateful you made the trip.
For an out-of-the-mainstream take on America’s 10th national park, go to its northwestern expanse, the North Fork. It invites “a more self-reliant visitor,” the National Park Service says in its Glacier literature.
The North Fork doesn’t have the grand old lodges like those near Glacier’s principal gateways, but this piece of paradise isn’t without comforts. Rustic, marvelously tasty and memorable, they are in Polebridge, a mile (1.6 kilometre) from the park’s northwestern entrance. This off-the-grid community increasingly reliant on solar power is the hub for an area where the summer population numbers maybe a few hundred, up from five to 10 in the winter.