Mountain High 

Welcome to high water. The rivers are rising, aided in no small part by last week’s torrential rains, and the precious mountain snow is beginning to turn to cold, cold water under the kind gaze of springtime sunshine. It’s the time of year when a young man’s thoughts turn to water sports, among other things, like barbecue. Unfortunately, there’s not much to report on the barbecue front just yet. But if you like running rivers, get ready to rip.

Brennan’s Wave has been in for a while now, and if frequent glances over the Higgins Avenue bridge at the happy kayakers have got you wishing your float boat was something other than what it is, you might want to head to the Trail Head’s Boat Swap, which takes place Saturday, April 15, at the store’s 221 E. Front St. location. The “swap” is actually more of a consignment sale, at which you can leave your gear between 8 and 11 AM, naming your price and coming back after the noon-to-3 PM sale (open to all) closes to find out if your gear sold. If it did, you can get 80 percent of the sale price in cash or 110 percent of the price in store credit—not a bad deal if you’re planning to just roll the proceeds into something new. Call the store at 543-6966 if that explanation lost you somewhere in there.

Once you’ve got your boat, you’ll probably want to figure out the craziest thing you could do in it and then work backward from there to what you’re actually capable of. Get a sense of the outer limits of hydrofunnular experience during Sliver Moon Kayak Company’s Blazing Paddles Film Festival, taking place in the Flathead High School Auditorium at 7 PM on Saturday, April 14. For the $10 price of admission, you can whiteknuckle your way through an evening of professional paddling films like, for instance, Wet House, from which the abso-frickin-lutely nuts photo below was culled.

If I was the guy in that boat, I’d probably have to clean it out when I was done.

If cleaning up comes naturally to you, you probably adhere to the Leave No Trace ethic when you hike. Take that passion one step further and learn how to teach others to thoroughly clean up after themselves when the UM Outdoor Program sponsors a Leave No Trace trainers course on Saturday, April 15, and Sunday, April 16, at 8 AM each day. Call 243-5172 to find out where to send your $35 registration fee and then just sit back and wait with anticipation for your exciting new career in outdoor instruction.

Alas, that career cannot be yours, at least not this month, if you’re signed up for the 18th annual Grizzly Triathlon, which also takes place on Saturday, April 15. If you’re planning to triathalate, you better be signed up already because registration is over. If, however, you’re still hearing strains of Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best” in your mind’s ear, try calling 543-2532 and offer yourself up as a volunteer.

Sure enough, if running and swimming aren’t your things, Missoulians on Bicycles is your ticket to outdoor recreation. This weekend they’ve got a 55-mile Saturday trip from the intersection of Mullan Road and North Reserve Street to the Ninemile Steakhouse and back scheduled to start at 10 AM on Saturday, April 15. Call 543-3230 to join them. If you’ve got Easter ambitions, join the 14th annual Easter Ride Around Missoula,, a 55-mile pedal on paved roads that will climb the Rattlesnake, Grant Creek, Miller Creek and Pattee Canyon, with prizes at the top of each hill. If you’ve got the life for it, call 728-4963 and let them know you’ll be coming.

If you think the people climbing those hills are tough, you should check out the Women in Action slide show, taking place in the Crystal Theatre Thursday, April 13, at 7 PM and costing $7 or $6 for students. The event, which also includes a silent auction and special guest speakers, aims to raise funds for Girls Using Their Strengths!, a local organization that runs summer adventures for girls ages 11–17 with the aim of helping them learn how to be as awesome as their slide show mentors.

Finally, if you like the outdoors as an adult, positive experiences out there when you were a kid probably have something to do with it. The Montana Natural History Center’s (MNHC) volunteer naturalist program, which puts outdoor educators in proximity to elementary school students ready to absorb natural history, is your chance to inculcate another generation with an affinity for spaces uncovered by roofs and the creatures that fill them. On Saturday, April 15, at 10 AM, MNHC sponsors a field-trip training for volunteer naturalists at the Maclay Flats Interpretive Trail. Call 327-0405 to find out more about the program.

Let me know what you learned.

calendar@missoulanews.com

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