Mountain High 

Some days, it’s good to be a fish.

Like Thu., Aug 2, for example, when Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks slaps 24-hour fishing restrictions on several area waterways.

So if this paper has somehow ended up underwater and you’re one of those fish who, instead of mindlessly gobbling flies and maintaining your scales’ slimy coating, chooses to invest in your future by learning to read American, these words are for you:

Beg, steal or borrow passage to the main stem of Rattlesnake Creek (from the mouth of Beeskove Creek to its confluence with the Clark Fork), Fish Creek (from Forks campground on down) or Rock Creek (from the Skalkaho Highway bridge to Windlass bridge). Until a twenty-fifth hour is added to our days, or the restrictions expire, you’ll find safe harbor there.

Also, if you’re among the few species of trout that can tell time, feel free to cruise around in the Clark Fork river between the hours of 2 PM and midnight, when hooks and reels will be wielded only by scofflaws who don’t care about rules anyway.

Finally, if you and your school have managed to secured a waterproof connection to what we humans call the Internet, check fwp.mt.gov for the latest word on the red tape binding those who would see you fried up in a pan.

And now, on to the portion of our column designed for human consumption.

We begin with something for the little ones, and you’ve got little time to waste in getting there: Kids Fest 2007 begins at 11:30 AM on Thu., Aug 2, in Caras Park. This is a celebration of all things pre-pubescent—excepting boy bands, we hope—that includes arts and crafts tables, games, sports and activities, music, dancing, drama, food and more. In fact, the Missoula Police will even be there officiating something called the “radar run,” which hopefully doesn’t include the use of their fancy new Tasers, but you never know. Call 721-PARK.

If the only person who calls you “childish” is your former spouse during divorce proceedings, it would probably be more appropriate for you to try this offering on for size: Paddle MT and the Canoe Rack present a Back Yard Exploration of the North Fork of the Flathead River from Fri., Aug. 3 through Sun., Aug 5. Your boat, food and all gear is included in this introductory expedition that aims to expose a new cohort of paddle-nuts to the life of the vagabond river rat. Call 251-0040 or visit canoerack.com.

If you decide not to spend three days on a river with a group of strangers, you can still salvage the day when you head to the Whitefish Mountain Resort to take in the Afro-Cuban style of Cocinando, who play at the Summit House at 5:30 PM on Fri., Aug 3, as part of Big Mountain Fridays. Call 862-2900.

The Bitterroot-Mission Group of the Sierra Club wants you to see Missoula from a new perspective on Sat., Aug 4, during Summit Day. Three separate hikes led by three separate groups offer the perfect hike to match your abilities.

Option one, presented by those same Sierra Clubbers, is a hike up to Lolo Peak from the Mormon Peak trailhead. If you’re interested in seeing the area threatened with the development of America’s largest ski resort, meet at 8 AM at the K-Mart parking lot after you call John at 543-6696.

Option two, led by the Rocky Mountaineers, is an 18-mile mountain bike/hike adventure to Stuart Peak in the Rattlesnake. You’ll meet at the main Rattlesnake trailhead at 8 AM with bike—call about loaners—water, snacks and wilderness ethics, and should you have questions, call Mary at 550-1968.

Finally, the third option is a hike on the Mount Jumbo Saddle trail with the good folks of the Five Valleys Land Trust. The mellow three-hour saunter begins at 9 AM at the Lincoln Hills trailhead, and will present the intrepid hiker with superb views of—hopefully—more than a smoke-filled urban bowl. Call Glenn at 549-0755.

A few days after the whole population of western Montana takes to the summits, let’s all promise to come back down and enjoy the beautiful knapflower blooms that dot the landscape. Oh, wait—we hate that plant, right? Well, then, the Montana Natural History Center’s Knapweed-eating Weevils presentation, at 7 PM on Tue., Aug. 7, should warm the cockles of our invasive little hearts. Hear Darby high school students describe the process of raising the beasts, and take home a few for your own stash. Call 327-0405.

And getting back to our little piscine buddies, you can engender an appreciation for the scaly critters that involves paddles, not hooks, when you enroll your youth in 10,000 Waves Raft and Kayak Adventures’ Four-Day Youth Clinic, which starts Wed., Aug. 8. Call 549-6670 or visit 10000-waves.com.

And that, my wall-eyed readers, is that. In the interim, be wary of food with barbed metal in it. That goes for the fish, too.
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