Mountain High 

Not that this has anything to do with being outdoors—except for the fact that I read some of it outside—but having recently finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, I have a new appreciation for the power of a name, and for the act of changing names.

In the story, Gogol Ganguli spends a childhood struggling with his odd first name before becoming Nikolai on his way to college. He begins something of a new life, though to his family he will always be Gogol.

Such a coming-of-age name-swap has taken place in our neck of the woods, as the resort-formerly-known-as-Big-Mountain takes a brave leap into the coveralls of the moniker “Whitefish Mountain Resort.”

Of course, like the Gangulis, local shredders and mountain bikers will probably always insist on calling the place “Big.”

Either way, Big Whitefish Mountain opened its summer season on Wed., June 20, which means there’s plenty of lift-riding, tree-top walking and concert-going to be done by you and yours on the Mountain-Which-Hath-Two-Names. Call 862-2900 or visit bigmtn.com. See? Even the Internet can’t let go.

And speaking of letting it all go, Missoula Parks and Recreation appears to be encouraging all manner of hanky-panky as they sponsor the Summer Solstice Adult Swim at Splash Montana at 8 PM on Thu., June 21. I believe swim apparel is required, so it’s not the kind of event that hip, big-city folk would categorize as “watersports.” Food, volleyball, waterslides and the scantily-clad promise to add up to one fine time—call 721-PARK. 

For the more modest among us, the Sierra Club is offering a Clark Fork or Blackfoot River float trip—rescheduled from last weekend—on Sat., June 23, complete with a riverside lunch on the Class I route. You’re encouraged to bring your own boat or contact Liz at mykayakdoc@aol.com for seating/sharing and location info.

Terrestrially-fixated fresh air freaks—and those of you whose knees need a few hundred extra pounds of cartilage-melting impact—will be happy to hear that the Five Valley Race Series’ second run, the Rattlesnake 5K Fun Run/Walk, takes off at 9 AM on Sat., June 23 from Pineview Park. The registration deadline has already passed, but in this town of sandals and Subarus, deadlines usually mean very little. Unless you work at a newspaper, that is. Call 721-PARK and start groveling.

The Canoe Rack is sponsoring the Blackfoot Challenge ’07, two days of boat races down our most beloved waterway, which kicks off with a pre-race meeting at 10:30 AM on Sat., June 23, at Johnsrud Park on the Blackfoot River. The day’s events include a downriver race and a boater-cross event, along with camping, eating and general merrymaking. Call 251-0040 or visit www.canoerack.com/news_info.php.

Not to get patriotic or anything, but with New Zealand Day coming up and all, it’s pretty hard not to. Celebrate the Kiwi in all of us with a “Touch” Rugby Clinic and Tournament at the Fort Missoula Rugby Pitch on Sat., June 23. The 11 AM clinic, meant for kids aged 7 and up, as well as adults, will lead into a fun tournament at 1. Call 721-9620.

Getting back to the water, kayakophobes of all stripes will stand up and cheer—but not in the boat, for god’s sake—to learn that 10,000 Waves Raft & Kayak Adventures presents a Two-Day Beginner Kayak Clinic beginning on Sat., June 23. Call 549-6670 for times and other info.

Without even a moment to dry off, the Blackfoot Challenge ’07 continues with a 9:30 AM meeting at Johnsrud Park before the slalom race at 10 on Sun., June 24. By the way, volunteers for the two-day event are needed and will be well-rewarded. Call 251-0040 to apply.

This week’s pick for coolest youth recreation opportunity is Missoula Parks and Recreation’s High Adventure Camp, which begins at 8:30 AM on Mon., June 25, at the Currents Aquatics Center at McCormick Park. Young-uns aged 12–15 can experience all the attendant thrills of rock climbing, orienteering, whitewater rafting and scaling the ropes course. Call 721-PARK.

Ten lucky boaters will enjoy the peace of mind that only a Wednesday Night Float can provide—Paddle MT provides the shuttle, you provide the boat and the mellow attitude, so call 251-0040 pronto and get yourself to the Canoe Rack by 6 PM.

There’s a bill on the U.S. Senate floor—S. 858—that’s known as the. Essentially, it would allow employers to provide to bicyclists the federal transportation fringe benefit they can already offer to employees who use transit or vanpool services. Denny Rehberg has already pledged his support for the House version of the bill, but Baucus and Tester are a little slow to sponsor, so let’s encourage their signing machines to take action. Visit capwiz.com/lab/ issues/bills/?bill=9543516 for more info and to send a message.

And until next week, keep your mountains high and your valleys Jill.
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