|Lee Metcalf Wilderness
with Elston and Jackie
Late July, 2011
This trip was organized by John and Barbara Gerlach, renowned wildlife and outdoor photographers who live near
Yellowstone. John and Barbara are a terrific couple. Despite their stature, they are very ordinary people who work hard to
teach and make their guests happy.
The Lee Metcalf Wilderness is located in the state of Montana. Created by an act of Congress in 1983, the wilderness is in
four separated parcels:
U.S. Wilderness Areas do not allow motorized or mechanized vehicles, including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are
allowed with proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining, in compliance with the
1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas within National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas allow hunting in
season which means that wildlife is harder to see than in Yellowstone National Park.
This was the view from our first camp site.
Pack mules moved our food, clothes, and camping gear from camp to camp.
As Barbara told us, mules
love horses and horses at
best tolerate mules.
Fortunately for the mules,
they found a good friend in
Our cowboy guides pitched our tents, saddled our horses, cooked our meals, and washed the dishes. This is a great way to
see the wilderness.
Cowboy coffee is strong stuff. I tried it once and after that only drank tea with Jackie.
Barbara Gerlach made a
Right, Jackie prepares the bear food rope. Below, Elston and Jackie.
Since there is hunting in the wilderness, we did not see much wildlife. We barely saw this moose lying in the grass.
The portion of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness which we rode was very close to Yellowstone. To my surprise, we never
encountered anyone else out on the trails.
There were a couple hiccups in the trip.
Our first campsite was at 8,500 feet. We never made it to our second campsite at 9,500 feet because there was 5 feet of snow
at the pass.
The second hiccup occurred on the fourth morning when the horses ran away. Some of the horses were found by the end of
the day, and on the fifth day Barbara was kind enough to include us in a search party for the horses and on the sixth day
enough horses had been found so that we were all able to ride horses.
Next, the flowers of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.