The Bob Marshall Wilderness is vast, to say it mildly.
A 20 mile horse ride into one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48 states with people you have just met. No hospitals or phones, and mother nature to contend with. Sure, a person could feel overwhelmed and vulnerable in such an environment, but there were so many aspects of taking this trip with Salmon Forks that kept me grounded, made me feel comfortable and ended up leaving me with such warm memories of my time there to where I’d love to jump back on a horse and head in to camp right this moment…if only I could get a babysitter. 😉
And by the way, I’m Terra Fondriest. I’ll be doing guest posts for Mark and Janis here and there… (this was my Canon ae-1 ‘selfie’ on Mud Lake Mtn in 2008):
I worked as a wrangler/cook/hired hand for Salmon Forks Outfitters during the 2008 and 2009 seasons and carried my dad’s old film camera with me.
Here are the ways I found ‘my place in the Bob’ with Salmon Forks…
A sense of camaraderie formed between every person that didn’t know each other before the trip, and bonds grew stronger between those that did.
At the beginning of each week, I remember feeling timid around the new guests…and by the end of the week, we were joking and I was thinking about how I’d be missing their company. Often times guests would meet up at the fire ring and get their fishing gear all set up for the day.
It was where the sun rose and set. Drinking coffee in the morning and maybe something a little stronger in the evening.
And, sometimes, we even convened there in the middle of the day!
The Cook Tent.
I spent a lot of time cooking and talking there with Janis about food and life, and because of that we formed a lasting friendship that still pours into hours of long distance phone conversations about…food and life. Whenever we talk on the phone, it feels as though we are standing in the cook tent, rolling and mixing dough and chatting. (Marlene on left, Janis in middle, and Joan on the right). We loved preparing the food for everyone at camp and then sitting down all together in the mornings and evenings for the meal.
The fun in the cook tent didn’t end with cooking and eating! The dish washing line that ensued after every meal was a hoot…jokes, jabs, stories…anything worth discussing in the Bob was covered at that time with any lucky soul we conned into joining us. Here, Fred is probably telling me to put my camera down and pick up a towel!
Packer Larry was always up for a good game of cribbage in the cook tent (or around the campfire if you noticed in that photo!). If only he could have won against me.
My haven where I crashed at the end of the day. At night, I wrote in my “Bob” diary and read a few pages from a book before my eyelids started to close on their own. I had a view of the river and before going in, I would stand outside, brush my teeth, and look up until I saw at least one shooting star .
The view as I walked from my tent towards the cook tent to start the day…smoke from wood stoves stood in the chilly air during the morning.
Of course, there was Buster…my riding horse the first year I worked for Salmon Forks.
But then, there was Apache. I will never forget our afternoon hikes together up Mud Lake Mountain, and the confidence we had in each other whether we were out alone or leading the pack up and down the trail. We experienced solitude together, and there is no match for that.
The corrals were a second home to me. Here is Poco in the front.
He didn’t always look that peaceful…
Even the ride in and out became comforting as we passed certain landmarks. Often times I rode behind Oscar who Charlie is riding in this photo. He was the slowest horse, but most mild mannered.
Now, I would definitely classify it as grandiose, don’t get me wrong…
Got wet from Penny shaking after a swim…
And went for lazy afternoon rides.
…It was in these kinds of moments (and many unspoken ones) that I found my place in the Bob. I’m sure that everyone who has visited this wilderness and Salmon Forks could give you their own unique list, and that is what makes this place so amazing and beckons you to come back. If you’ve gone on a trip with Salmon Forks, what were the times that you think most fondly about to this day?