Author Archives: Howie

Montana Backpacking in the Beartooths

Marilyn and I live in southern Montana just a few miles from Yellowstone, and a big chunk of our business is guided Yellowstone backpacking trips. And our Yellowstone backpacking adventures are wonderful! Let’s face it — there is only one Yellowstone, and about 95% of the park is roadless back-country that is wild and teeming […]

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Montana Backpacking in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

The rugged Bitterroot Mountain Range straddles the Idaho/Montana border just to the south and west of Missoula, Montana. It forms the eastern portion of the vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, and provides the setting for our wonderful “Peaks, Lakes and Big Trees of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness” guided backpack trip.  We run this guided Montana backpack trip each […]

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Montana Backpacking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

In the previous installment, I discussed the geographical quirk that the wildest areas of Montana are all border areas, shared with Canada, Idaho and Wyoming. The wild Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem along the Canadian border includes the 2.4 million acre Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, which is actually one unbroken chunk of roadless, undeveloped wild country. […]

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Three Great Montana Backpacking Destinations — An Overview

Montana may be known as “Big Sky Country”, but the scale of its primary landforms — sprawling prairies and towering mountains — is equally big. So are a number of its protected Wilderness areas and national parks, at least by 21st century standards. And many of her native populations of wildlife are also big and […]

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Yellowstone Backpacking and Wildfire Ecology, Part Four

Our wide variety of guided Yellowstone backpack trips explore a tremendous variety of wild Yellowstone landscapes, including recently burned areas, shady old growth forest and all stages of forest development in between! For example, the June Northern Yellowstone Wildlife and Wildflower Extravaganza explores a varied mix of wide open meadow and open Douglas-fir woodlands with […]

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Yellowstone Backpacking and Fire Ecology, Part Three

To backpack in Yellowstone is to backpack in a wild landscape that has been shaped by wildfire. Most of Yellowstone is a complex mix of forest and meadow, mostly forest. And throughout most of the park, the dominant tree is lodgepole pine. There is plenty of spruce and fir and whitebark pine, and some Douglas-fir, […]

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Wildfire Ecology & Yellowstone Backpacking, Part Two

One misconception about wildfire is that it “damages” or “devastates” a landscape, and that the ensuing years are all about “recovery”. These are value-laden words, lacking in ecological context. In fact, natural lightening-ignited wildfire has been part of our western landscapes for many thousands of years, and phases of post-fire forest growth, from ancient forests […]

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Wildfire Ecology & Yellowstone Backpacking, Part One

Forests and grasslands of the western United States periodically burn. So long as there are periods of hot dry weather coupled with lightening strikes, wildfires will continue to be part of western landscapes. These ecosystems are exquisitely adapted to wildfire, and indeed, in some cases they are dependent upon periodic blazes. More on this later. […]

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Yellowstone Backpacking Food Safety, Part Two

As previously discussed, a simple backpacking menu is best, and that’s our philosophy on Big Wild Adventures guided hiking treks. Yet, because Big Wild is a commercial operation, we do bring a few carefully packaged luxuries, such as fresh produce and desserts (all prepared by our guides). So our menu for our guided hiking tours […]

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Yellowstone Backpacking Food Safety, Part One

Food safety on a backpack trip, in Yellowstone and elsewhere, begins with the effort to ensure that the food ends up in your digestive tract, not in that of a bear. Or, for that matter, in that of a mouse or squirrel! And this effort begins in the grocery store. When shopping for backpacking food, […]

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