Mountain High 

Regular Mountain High readers know Comrade Calendar’s not one to whine. Well, not incessantly, at least.

This week, an outrage was brought to my attention, one that affects lovers of outdoor sports most deeply. You see, if there’s a post-endeavor ritual to bind us all—snowboarders to anglers, crag-baggers to through-hikers, Eskimo-rollers to bird oglers—it’s the love of a heaping bowl of ice cream after a day spent in the wilds. Am I wrong?

So imagine my deep dismay when a tree-planting, weed-killing compadre alerted me that we’re all in the process of being duped. Next time you’re in the freezer section of your favorite market, take a gander at the half gallons of creamy love. Now look a little closer. That’s right—they’re not half gallons anymore. Blame it on CEO greed, rising gas prices or bovine insubordination, but outdoor enthusiasts—and all other lovers of cold cream, for that matter—have lost a quart of joy to a lactic bait and switch while prices have remained constant.

In defiant re-sponse, we here at Mountain High headquarters vow to increase outdoor events by 25 percent, in an effort to ease withdrawals symptoms. And what better way to begin the week’s roster than with an invitation from UM’s Wilderness Institute, which calls for volunteers to venture into Idaho’s Gospel Hump Wilderness for weed and campsite monitoring. Their next four-day trip leaves Thu., July 31, and if you’re too late for that, another departs on Thu., Aug. 7. Get in on some of that when you call 243-5361.

Pioneers knew about cream, and this weekend’s your chance to travel back in time when West Yellowstone hosts the Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous beginning on Fri., Aug 1. Witness demonstrations of olde crafts, throw knives, tomahawks and atlatls and revel in the acrid haze of the black powder shoot. And call 646-7215 for more info.

That same day, the Blue Mountain Observatory invites the heavens-positive to embark on the switchback journey to their viewing platform. At around 10 PM on Fri., Aug. 1, the stargazing begins, should clouds and smoke be absent from the big sky. Call 243-5179 to make sure, as it’s a long way to go for nothin’.

Get up early on Sat., Aug 2, and stay up late with the Rocky Mountaineers as they lead you on the epic Bitterroot “Grand Traverse,” an attempt to scale five peaks exceeding 9,000 feet in one trip.  Ice cream up and call Forest at 240-7612.

If you’ve been hankering to spend some quality time with the hard rowers of Paddle MT, your opportunity comes on Sat., Aug. 2, when an overnight boat trip on the Lower Clark Fork aims to show you just how easy a float trip can be. Call 251-0040.

If a day float with a philanthropic slant is more your cup of tannic tea, the third annual Bitterroot Floating Weed Pull invites you to the Darby Bridge Fishing Access at 8 AM on Sat., Aug. 2, where you can register and get to floating by 9:30. Rowers are in high demand, a barbecue and prize drawing greets you at journey’s end and you’ll get even more information when you call 777-5842.

If ridding the river of invasive plants doesn’t cause your cream to rise, perhaps learning to live with our ursine neighbors is more your bag. If so, head to Condon, where the Bear Fair sports demonstrations—from aversive conditioning to electric fences—and speakers beginning at 11 AM on Sat., Aug. 2, at the aptly named Hungry Bear Steak House. Call 754-3137.

Also on Sat., Aug. 2, the Montana Natural History Center asks that you echolocate your way to their 9 PM Bat Walk, led by Fish, Wildlife & Parks Native Species Coordinator Kristi DuBois, who packs a high-tech bat detector for your flying
mammal pleasure. $20/$15 members. Call 327-0405.

Feel the burn when the second annual Foy Lake to Herron Pa-ddlethon kicks off at Foy Lake at 9 AM on Sun., Aug. 3. The event consists of a three-mile paddle, a six-mile bike ride and a four-mile run, so if you’ve got the xanthan gum, they’ve got the Magic Shell. Registration begins at 7:30 AM. Call Steve at 261-9250.

The less active among us, and those looking for something to top their evening dairy bowl, herald the return of the Raspberry Jam at Arlee’s Common Ground Farm at 6 PM on Sun., Aug. 3. The all-you-can-pick fruit fest melds with tunes from the Gravely Mountain Boys and Baba Ganoush until your buckets—bring your own—are
full and you begin whatever preserving method most suits your temperament. $10. Call 726-5550. 

I believe the children are our future, which means I support fly-fishing education in the schools. Until that day comes, consider enrolling your adolescent angler in one of the two sessions of the Liam Wood Fly Fishing and River Guardians Program, the first week of which begins on Mon., Aug. 4 and considers environmental stewardship through the lens of fly fishing. Also, your kid gets to rub flies with piscine author David James Duncan. $300, with some scholarships available. Call 541-9287.  

Finally, here’s one that’s slipped below my radar so far this summer: Every Mon. through Aug. 25, you can partake in a sailing cruise on Flathead Lake if you get to The Dock Restaurant in Lakeside a little before 6 PM. The two-hour tour costs $30 and features an ASA-certified Skipper, so you bring the Professor and the coconuts and
we’ll call it creamy. Telephone somebody at  758-7717.

So, as they say in the dairy industry, “Teat’s all, folks!”
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