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Chief Joseph
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PostWed Feb 19, 2020 8:31 pm 
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So a few years ago I read a book about the Bob based back in the 50's, mainly documenting hunting and fishing pack trips and ever since have thought of doing a backpack trip there.

I read a TR here recently and they went on the trail past the Chinese Wall, which I want to see as well.

A loop trip with some good fishing (PM's welcome) would be optimal, and I am also concerned as to the Griz danger.

Anyone have experience with BP trips there who might want to share their knowledge? I assume a permit is required?

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timberghost
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 5:26 am 
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I have also looked into this trip. I have a hiking book on the different trails in the Bob and the one thing they strongly caution is the grizzly bears. They talk of multiple daily encounters with bears there. I would contact some of the guides that outfit into the Bob for better info. I always wanted to hunt there near the Chinese wall but the referrals I talked to all mentioned the lack of game due to the grizzly bear infestation. Don't take my word for it I would contact boots on the ground outfitters & buy some of the hiking books.
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cdestroyer
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 7:00 am 
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Never hiked the bob. I do recall the griz bear problem as I believe it was a drop off point for relocating bad bears (might be wrong about that) .. lots of places cater to hikes in the bob and are on the net, like the willis k bar l guest ranch..
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joker
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 1:46 pm 
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My wife and I spent 6 nights out there in '85. We were near the Wall but didn't quite get there (an attempt to bushwhack from the west  to a viewpoint in the middle of it didn't quite work out but was entertaining nonetheless). Back then I think we just signed in a hiker's register at the ranger station near the south end of the Hungry Horse reservoir but I may be remembering wrong. We went down the South Fork of the Flathead and then turned up the White River and then crossed back over to the South Fork via a trail that went over a shoulder of Pagoda Peak. Rangers had described excellent fly fishing in both the S Fork and White River (though when we were there in late August the upper White River was very low and any fish were constrained to little pools while they awaited some more water). I fished a bit but was not very skilled at fly fishing so though I caught a few I would not be your best judge of the fishing goodness back then. But when along the S Fork we did see more than one guided float trip with folks fishing from the rafts. Seemed like what generated most of the traffic in that corridor.
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joker
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 1:50 pm 
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BTW We ran into only one other hiker aside from our first and last days - a local named Owen who said in season he also hunted there. He was carrying a pistol for the grizz but said that we were smart not to have one if we weren't well trained on how to use one. He described one night in fall when his hunting party had bagged an elk that was hung in camp, and a grizz came to get the elk. They just gave it plenty of room and it spent the whole night working at it. I forget it the grizz managed to get it down and take it from them in the end or if it just gave up. Anyway, my understanding is that bears have increased significantly in number since then. But on our trip the only bear I saw was a black bear high in a berry field on Pagoda mountain, running away from me as usual. Later that afternoon I swear I saw a cougar running into the dense forest down lower. It was hard to tell for sure - at first I thought it was an elk (seeing mostly the butt from behind as it disappeared into brush) but then saw what looked to be a very long tail.
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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 2:33 pm 
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Thanks for the responses. In this recent TR they did encounter bears, but they were black bears and seemed more scared of the hikers than they of them. But obviously it's the Griz I am most worried about. But then I don't want to miss out on what would likely be a once in a lifetime experience out of fear. http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8030058&highlight=bob+marshall

If we do go we need to take the necessary precautions. My friend has a bear canister so we will bring that as well as bear spray and and maybe an air horn. Cook and store food away from where we sleep and maybe change into different clothing for sleep than the ones we cook in. I have never slept overnight in Griz country, so I might need a bit of liquid courage in order to sleep.

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Songs2
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 3:44 pm 
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The person I have come across (IRL as well as online) most knowledgeable about the Chinese Wall (he has led backpacking trips there; might find a story or 3 on his website) and possibly also the Bob Marshall Wilderness is Ralph Thonton.
Here is his website, with a means to contact him:
Ralph "Ear Mountain"

He also posts on and moderates Glacier National Park chat, under the handle Ear Mountain, and if you register as a member you could also send him a PM there.

If you know people in the Over the Hill Gang, informally attached to Glacier NP, they are highly knowledgeable. A final possibility is the Glacier Mountaineering Society; they know the area around Glacier well -- the Bob Marshall is across the street.
GMS

Joker,
A friend staffs the Baptiste Lookout during the summer, on one side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.
It was quite a test for me to hike alone through beary woods to overnite.

Edit to add: Cougars, yes. Glacier NP has a short video on how to deal with bears and cougars that is required watching for anyone picking up a backpacking permit. It may be on YouTube as well. Last night a friend sent me a photo she had received from Over the Hill Gang of cougar tracks on a hiking trail around Lake McDonald, in Glacier NP. The impression of tail drag in the snow was quite prominent. Likely from the previous weekend.
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Songs2
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 4:17 pm 
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The trip reports are under "Choteau Cam" link on Ralph's website.
Chinese Wall traverse
Another Chinese Wall hike
All the hikes
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cdestroyer
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 6:24 pm 
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although this was told to me years ago I guess you could consider it second hand lore. A family friend had camped in the bob marshall along with his guides and family members. They slept in non-floor canvas tents(so this was a long time ago). Our friend awoke the next morning outside the tent with his pajamas ripped on his inner thigh and bear claw marks on his leg. The bear had dragged him sleeping out of the tent. Believable? I dont know but a wild life game biologist who worked with the craigheads made the point on hearing the story that it was plausible. griz are an unpredicable animal and just about anything goes....I would say take all precautions and be well aware of your surroundings, not to mention loud talk whilst hiking!
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orin
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 6:50 pm 
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I've done 4 or 5 week long or better trips in the Bob on both the east and west sides in addition to some shorter trips.  I've been to the north and south ends of the Chinese Wall, Dean Lake, the Trilobite Peaks and over several of the passes.  It is a big, very wild and lightly travelled area compared to most Washington wilderness areas.  There are definitely griz there but they seem wilder and less visible than you would find in Glacier just to the North.  In fact I've never seen a griz in the Bob even though I seem them regularly in Glacier.  So if you follow good bear practices you should have no problems.  As far as I know permits are not required.
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joker
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PostThu Feb 20, 2020 8:20 pm 
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BTW when we did our trip, it was raining the first day. The mud was almost overwhelming. It worked its way up the  inside of my rain pant legs to my crotch, shuffle-by-shuffle of those legs, ratcheting slowly but inexorably up. The sun came out the next day and all the  mud quickly dried. For the rest of the trip save for the last day we saw tons of footprints - all elk. No people or horses or anything else for that matter.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was mostly green mud, from  all the  horse pucks that had been deposited on the trail  all summer by the outfitters bringing fishermen and rafts in along  that stretch of  trail.

And when we were three days in, it was going to be three days out even if something went  wrong. As Orin mentions it's BIG and it gets quite remote back there.
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Pyrites
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PostFri Feb 21, 2020 9:33 am 
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I have a friend that was a smokejumper for years. After five years or so at the mother base in Missoula he intentionally moved on to other bases for two years or so each. W Yellowstone, McCall, Boise, ...

When I asked where the favorite country hed seen was he said The Bob and Wind River, hands down.

Best.
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timberghost
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PostFri Feb 21, 2020 11:57 am 
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Can't a person do a raft float thru the Bob on the Flathead river? Not sure of the class of rapids in there.
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Bedivere
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PostFri Feb 21, 2020 7:41 pm 
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cdestroyer wrote:
although this was told to me years ago I guess you could consider it second hand lore. A family friend had camped in the bob marshall along with his guides and family members. They slept in non-floor canvas tents(so this was a long time ago). Our friend awoke the next morning outside the tent with his pajamas ripped on his inner thigh and bear claw marks on his leg. The bear had dragged him sleeping out of the tent. Believable? I dont know but a wild life game biologist who worked with the craigheads made the point on hearing the story that it was plausible. griz are an unpredicable animal and just about anything goes....I would say take all precautions and be well aware of your surroundings, not to mention loud talk whilst hiking!

Was he blackout drunk?  How does a bear dragging you out of your tent *NOT* wake you up?

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Cyclopath
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PostSat Feb 22, 2020 9:45 pm 
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Sleeping pills?
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