Member profile: Yve Bardwell and Maggie Carr
MWA members embark on a wild business adventure along the Rocky Mountain Front
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Rocky Mountain Front Campaign Director
This past January, Yve Bardwell and Maggie Carr finalized the purchase of High Country Adventures, an outfitting business that has specialized in guided, foot-travel trips on the Rocky Mountain Front for over 30 years. The two young women have renamed the business Dropstone Outfitting, LLC. The proud new owners were kind enough to sit down this spring and answer a few questions about the business, the wilderness and their community.
“A dropstone is geo-slang for a glacial erratic,” Yve informed me over coffee one afternoon in Choteau, MT. Maggie, her friend and business partner, slid a photo across the table showing Yve sitting meditatively atop a large, out-of-place-looking boulder. The boulders that these two industrious women have taken as the namesake of their new business were left on the landscape by the receding glaciers; a subtle reminder that the setting for this venture, the peaks and valleys of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, is an ancient landscape.
Maggie and Yve both grew up in the area and have resumes that seem to belong to women twice their age, showcasing years of experience working in the backcountry. Like the intrepid homesteaders who staked a claim to this beautiful but unforgiving landscape over a hundred years ago, their work histories reflect a commitment to the Front and a will to do whatever it takes to carve out a living here.
Dropstone Outfitting will begin its first season guiding trips on June 15th with a private backpacking trip along the Rocky Mountain Front. Throughout the summer, the duo will offer four stock-supported trips ranging from three to seven days, including a themed trip for yoga enthusiasts. Dropstone will also pair up with Bill and Polly Cunningham, owners of High Country Adventures, for a guided backpacking trip to the Chinese Wall in July.
Dropstone has enjoyed a steady stream of interest for those seeking the solitude of the backcountry. “Few places can compare to the sheer limestone cliffs, the remote high alpine meadows, and the diversity of wildlife of the ‘Bob’,” says Maggie.
“People also want to make sure their experience will not be compromised by motorized users,” adds Yve. “They are interested in our services to facilitate a trip that is truly wild, creates minimal impacts and helps them explore a landscape that can be pretty intimidating if you have never been here before.”
When asked to describe the decision to embark upon this adventure, the answer came easily, “we both love Choteau and the Bob. We love being in the woods. If we can make a living by sharing that with people, then life just couldn’t get any better.”
To learn more about Maggie and Yve’s passion for the wild places of the Rocky Mountain Front (or to book a summer adventure) visit: dropstoneoutfitting.com.