Wilderness Calling

In honor of our own local rugged history and wilderness everywhere, here are a handful of books and movies to enjoy

By April Vomfell

I hate to admit that I haven’t yet spent any time in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, especially since this year is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

In honor of our own local rugged history and wilderness everywhere, here are a handful of books and movies to enjoy vicariously, until the next time you find yourself in the wilderness.

“Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West” by Bryce Andrews. This memoir of ranch life in southwest Montana is set in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Andrews writes, “Mine might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves.”

“The Girls of No Return” by Erin Saldin. This young adult novel centers on 16-year-old Lida, who is forced to attend the Alice Marshall School with other troubled girls in the middle of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area, two million acres of potential danger and discovery.

“Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout” by Philip Connors. In the rugged, parched Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, Connors mans a fire lookout with his dog Alice. At 10,000 feet above sea level and with more than 30,000 lightning strikes a year, this is a harsher kind of wilderness.

“3 Miles an Hour.” This documentary features retired backcountry outfitter Smoke Elser and his travels in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, including vintage home movies of 1960s pack trips.

To paraphrase John Muir, wilderness is calling and I must go. Next year?

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