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Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive
Nine hikes as big as the hearts of their namesake wilderness visionaries.
Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana
He could hike 40 miles at a stretch, bag 14 Adirondack peaks in a single day, and talk the ear off any politician who'd listen to his wilderness ideas. Bob Marshall packed a lifetime of living into just 38 years. Born in 1901, he wrote books, explored Alaska's Brooks Range, co-founded The Wilderness Society, and became a tireless voice for wilderness, all before his death in 1939. Marshall liked his wilderness big, and he sought places where a hiker could "spend at least a week or two of travel...without crossing his own tracks." Today, the 1-million-acre wilderness affectionately known as "The Bob" pays tribute to the short but full life of Robert Marshall.
On the trail: If Bob Marshall could come back for a hike in the wilderness named for him, you can bet that trek would be a long one-perhaps along the remote and beautiful North Wall, a sheer 10-mile-long cliff of limestone and shale deep in the heart of "The Bob." The well-maintained trail that winds along the base of the cliff can be hiked for about 9 miles, or make it part of a longer North Wall Loop hike that covers more than 50 miles, beginning and ending along the South Fork of the Teton River.
Contact: Lewis and Clark National Forest, Rocky Mountain Ranger District, 1101 Main Ave. NW, Box 340, Choteau, MT 59422; (406) 466-5341.
Trail guide: The Trail Guide to Bob Marshall Country, by Erik Molvar. Falcon Press, P.O. Box 1718, Helena, MT 59624; (800) 582-2665; http://www.falconguide.com; $19.95.