Mountain High 

So. You own all four of Conoco’s Lewis and Clark Commemorative Coins. You’ve read Undaunted Courage, visited the “Lewis and Clark shat here!” historic latrine and thrown down cash for the stoically silhouetted Lewis and Clark license plate and bolted it to your Explorer. You’ve even bounced about in the Lewis and Clark Bumper Boats at Lolo Hot Springs. With nearly all conceivable commercial perversions already capitalized upon, Lewis and Clark diehards are left to speculate about the most exploited deep woods explorers this side of The Blair Witch Project. But for those of you looking for even more Lewis and Clark, never fear—Montana’s hysteria won’t reach full speed for another year or two.

Until then, however, you can join author/cartographer Joseph Mussulman at Travelers’ Rest in Lolo, where he’ll serve up stories about the “controversial break-up of Lewis and Clark.” If things had been different, Mussulman contends, the plan would have “…radically altered the entire outcome of the entire expedition.” For more information, call Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association at 406-273-4253.

No word on whether Jaxon Ravens has bumped and splashed about in an official Lewis and Clark Bumper Boat (yet), but he has biked 4,000 miles from Delaware on the—you guessed it—Lewis and Clark Bike-Centennial Trail. Arriving in the Garden City on August 6 or 7, the 35-year-old Hellgate High School graduate is planning to finish his trail-of-gears journey in Astoria, Wash., by Labor Day.

Red Lodge Mountain is hosting the Montana State Mountain Bike Championships, August 8–10. This three-day “Fat Tire Frenzy” is packed with music, beer, a bomber downhill course, multiple criteriums in town and an observed trials course. The whole thing is spectator-friendly, with prime athletes hurling themselves through the air and potentially skidding across the pavement in high-speed, high-cost pile-ups. Call Tera Reynolds at (406) 446-2610, ext. 101 for the latest info or to sign up.

Tree huggers and harvesters alike can watch the Forest Service test a slash bundler’s “potential to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire” in the Bitterroot Valley on August 14. Describing it as “like a giant trash compactor for tree limbs and tops,” a F.S. press release says the John Deere/Timberjack machine motors through the forest bundling up tree limbs, pinecones and other forest matter and turning it all into twine-bound “logs.” Then, before it can in any way continue its long-standing role in the forest cycle, the bundle of biomass will be carted away and burned in a chip-fired boiler. This removal of dead forest bits from the thinly-soiled Bitterroot will efficiently reduce the “fuels” from which the next generation of trees would have sprouted. Jointly funded by the F.S. and (surprise!) John Deere, the results of the tests will determine whether or not the F.S. decides to purchase the machines.

Anyone interested in observing the “test” can meet at the Super One Foods at the Stevensville Wye at 9 a.m. on August 14. Bring water, lunch and field boots, or call Angela Farr at 329-3650 for more information.

Hey cyclists! A measure passed recently by the House Appropriations Committee could strip federal funding for projects like bike paths, sidewalks and other non-motorized transportation improvements across the state, and nation. Check out: http://www.americabikes.org/saveenhancements_fctsheet.asp to learn more.

The New Rocky Mountaineers are rejecting cumulative knee pain and heading up the 9,425’ East St. Mary’s Peak on Saturday, August 9. This is a burly venture, requiring participants to scale more than a vertical mile of steep, off-trail ridgeline, but the alpine rewards—exquisite views of the Missions—will certainly justify the grind. Call Gerald Olbu (549-4769) to join this highly-committed posse.

Or join the Rocky Mountaineers for an August 10 summit bid on Graves Peak in the relatively untravelled Great Burn Wilderness Study Area. In most parts of our state, summits lower than 8,000’ tend to be best suited to underachieving hikers, but the Burn’s peaks are a worthy exception. This 7,360’ granite dome is surrounded by rugged, above-treeline summits, and the approach route follows five miles of the historic Stateline Trail. Call Jim Goss (822-5000) or meet at Durango’s Restaurant in Superior at 9:30 a.m., or call Steve (721-4686) to carpool from Missoula.

Smoke and fire have dropped the boom on Glacier National Park’s already short tourism season, but businesses, trails and rivers are re-opening daily. Avoid the propaganda and see conditions for yourself from five in-Park Web cams at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/whatsnew.htm.

The Rocky Mountaineers are gearing up for an August 13–14 summit bid on Glacier’s venerable 10,014’ Mount Siyeh. Steve (721-4686) and Bret (728-6461) are the pointmen on this GNP classic, and they’ll be pushing up the park’s mellowest 10,000-footer via the standard Preston Park route. A couple miles of densely timbered switchbacks, followed by a stroll through a five-star alpine meadow leads to a steep gully climb/scree scramble toward a most extraordinary viewing point. After this arduous climb, consider climbing over Siyeh Pass, past Sexton Glacier and out the view-intensive Baring Creek, bypassing the semi-yawner of a backtrack to Siyeh Bend.

Send your secret stash route info to: photo@missoulanews.com

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