The Bob

I had a wild summer.  It’s strange that I’m only starting to share some of these photos with you now, in the waning days of January, but things take as long as they take (and I have the most dependable WIFI I have had in a long while so I can actually get images uploaded for you — hallelujah).

The short of it is this:  I spent a week on the back of a hilariously stubborn, thistle-chomping Haflinger  while riding 80+ miles into the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana (I abated the stubbornness with a little willow switch).  One of my dearest friends was with me and we had a blast choking on the dust kicked up by the full string of mules we were riding behind, freezing to death on the first day which involved 21 miles of rain after un-sleeping in a haunted Forest Service cabin, fishing the pristine waters of the Southfork of the Flathead River, and generally being spoiled rotten by our hosts, guides and friends (you’ll know them as @muledragger and @bigskybandits on the old Instagram machine).  I shot most of the trip from the back of my bumpy and delightful horse with my x100t — it shoots pretty soft so if you notice a difference in the feel of these photos, that’s the reason why.

The entire trip was terrible for my already acute case of horse-fever.  While I’ve always dreamed of having a pack mule for mountain trips and high country hunts, I walked away from this backcountry horseback trip with such a rich respect for the hybrid.  They are truly such wonderful, stout, complex creatures.  A joy to behold and to know.  And boy howdy, when you reach your fingers down into their big, beautiful ears to give them a scritchy scratch and they lean in and drop their enormous heads down on your shoulder and forget their size and weight because they’re too busy feeling mule ecstasy…well, it’s a pretty darn magical thing to experience.  Our libraries need more books about the solid love of good mules.

Without further adieu, I give you the Bob Marshall Wilderness and a smattering of humans, horses and mules in the fat heart of summer.  Enjoy!

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Beautiful, big backcountry.


Great, noble dogs.

The company of an excellent friend (who is also an unofficial botanist so I came away SMARTER…and un-poisoned by berries…).

Starry starry nights.


Great alpine fishing.


Clean water.

Summer sausage cooked on open fires.

Sleeping in the dirt with my boys under a tarp and washing my face in the dawn.

First light — the holy of holies.

Wait, did I mention the berries yet?  The huckleberries, raspberries and thimbleberries were at their HEIGHT and we lallygagged as we walked, eating one berry for every single step we took.  It was decadent.  We had stained fingers and delighted tastebuds.

I’ve never had a summer like this before, one so stuffed with gallivanting and crammed with work.  I’m exhausted, but I am loving every moment of it.