Mountain High 

Greetings, outdoor enthusiasts. When last we met, there was talk of cullet, the granular result of a bottle’s demise in the maws of the Headwaters Recycling Cooperative’s glass crusher in Missoula’s Caras Park on Earth Day.

I asked readers to brainstorm novel ways to make use of cullet, and to share the cream of the crop. Thus we turn our attention to this week’s mailbag:

“Dear Comrade: How about using cullet in fish tanks, instead of those fluorescent nuggets of whatever-they-are? —Lloyd Sample”

Well, Mr. Sample, you’re on the right track. Unfortunately, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have determined that standard domestic housefish have developed a symbiotic relationship with their bright, pebbly world, and there is concern among leading icktheologists that to disturb any portion of their world could have disastrous consequences.

“Here’s an idea: let’s make sand out of it with a second glass crusher that crushes the cullet even smaller. Then we can use the sand to keep our trucks from sliding around on the roads in winter. —Ben Golfolsom”

Mr. Golfolsom, I applaud your sense of irony. Since we made the glass from sand in the first place, let’s just take it full circle, shall we? There is so much wrong with this idea, it’s hard to know where to begin, except maybe just not to begin at all.

And now, with the cullet issue settled, let’s move on to outdoor events.

The Rocky Mountaineers lead off this week’s docket with a trip to Edwards Mountain in Glacier National Park that leaves Missoula on Fri., April 27, in the afternoon. You’ll want to bring skis or snowshoes, crampons and an ice ax, in addition to camping gear, because they plan to return the next evening after a nice 16-mile round trip. Call Steve at 721-3790.

Birds like it early, and so does the Five Valleys Audubon Society, which invites you on a trip to Warm Springs for some waterfowl watching on Sat., April 28. If partridge, grebes and cranes float your boat, be at the middle of the UM Field House parking lot at 7 AM, and call Larry at 549-5632.

Atone for the delicious steaks you’ve been eating all winter when you help the North Hills Elk and Weed Volunteers install gates to allow free passage for the hefty ungulates. Bert Lindler will head up the project, so meet up at 9 AM on Sat., April 28, at the end of Pinnacle Court in the Prospect Meadows subdivision in Grant Creek. If you know as little about Grant Creek’s subdivisions as I do, call Bert at 542-7645.

Another Sat., April 28, option for kids aged 10–14 is to take part in Missoula Parks and Recreation’s Introduction to Outdoor Skills class, aka Class #1010, which begins at 9 AM at the Currents Aquatic Center. Topics will include map and compass skills, water filtration, shelter building, outdoor cooking and more, so sign up today. Call 721-PARK.

If you feel like you’ve done your part for wildlife and want to just enjoy the day, try hanging out with the Missoulians on Bicycles when they attempt the Rock Creek Ramble on Sat., April 28. Meet the group at 10 AM at the Eastgate shopping center parking lot to begin the 52-mile ride. You’ll enjoy lunch at Eckstrom’s Stage, where the sourdough pancakes are to die for, so give John a call at 543-3230.

Lastly—for Sat., April 28, that is—you could choose to glom onto the New Rocky Mountaineers for their trip to Ward Mountain in the Bitterroots. There’s still snow on the upper reaches, so bring your recreational gear and make certain you call Gerald at 549-4769.

But wait, there’s more biking to be done this weekend—those phantasmagorical Missoulians on Bicycles are heading up the Blackfoot River for the second annual Potomac to Ovando ride starting at 9 AM on Sun., April 29, when the group meets at Eastgate. You’ll carpool to Potomac and then ride a total of 65 miles on Highway 200. Bring lots of snacks, says Ken, who awaits your call 239-9754. 

Now, most of these options are good and local, but this next one is too cool to pass up. On Sun., April 29, point your asphalt browser toward Red Lodge and pass the time playing those old highway games from childhood, because once you arrive, the time for games will be over. The Peaks to Prairie Triathlon includes an eight-mile run, 40 miles of biking and a 22-mile paddle along the Yellowstone River, and if you want to compete, you need to be there by 8 AM. Visit peakstoprairie.net or e-mail Robin at robinculver@gmail.com.

Finally, REI is offering the third and final class in the series “Light Backpacking: Part Three—Stoves and Cookware” at 7 PM on Thu., May 3 at the store, 2230 N. Reserve St.

I’m starting to think up some cullet-based products myself, such as the “cullet suit,” in which cullet is glued all over a pair of coveralls. The effect would be stunning, if abrasive.
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