A walk on the wild side: Bob Marshall’s trek retraced

Bob Marshall hiked 288 miles over eight days through the northwestern Montana wilderness in 1928. Marshall would average 36 miles a day during the epic hike, and The Bob Marshall Wilderness would officially be created 36 years later, after Marshall.

“Averaged,” says Chris Peterson of Marshall’s daily walks. “I averaged 10, and I didn’t bag the peaks he did.”

In 2014, 86 years after Marshall’s journey, Peterson retraced Marshall’s large footsteps, with a few modifications, through the Swan Range, The Bob Marshall and Mission Mountains, traveling about 200 miles in 20 days. Peterson, admittedly a slow hiker, didn’t move as quickly as the fleet-footed Marshall, and he was lugging enough camera gear to “choke an elephant.”

But he returned with incredible wilderness and wildlife photographs and material for a book he would call, “A Walk on the Wild Side.”

Marshall, the co-founder of the Wilderness Society, was an early crusader for wilderness protections. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is named after him. He was 28 years old when he made the trip through what would become the Bob and areas surrounding it.

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