Mountain High 

Last week, your Comrade Calendar took his first journey ever into the much-lauded halls of our local Target store. It’s not that I’ve had anything against the chain. It was more like poor Andy’s predicament in The 40 Year Old Virgin—I simply missed my first chance years ago and then it just got harder and harder, so to speak.

Anyway, it wasn’t that bad. Or that great, as I’m sure many of you are aware. It was just red and inexpensive and I left after a brief stroll through the aisles.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me that a few days later I heard about the Target annual meeting in which shareholders issued a demand to the leviathan: phase out polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in products and packaging.

Now, to be fair, the retail monster isn’t the only purveyor of the poisonous plastic. Other corporations, from Wal-Mart to Hasbro, are feeling the heat from stockholders to sever ties to the off-gassing toxin. You can join in on the heat/fun by visiting the folks at Be Safe at besafenet.com.

And now that our obligatory environmental stewardship has been taken care of for the week, on to the more recreational options…

Just in case you don’t already know, the Route of the Hiawatha mountain bike or hike trail is open and ready for your wheels and heels. The Lookout Pass Ski Area is the staging ground—you can rent bikes, trailers and trail-a-bikes there—so get up there anytime between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM—and between now and Oct. 7, that is—and don’t forget your helmet and headlight. Call (208) 744-1301.

Did I say we were done with altruism for the week? My apologies—I was wrong, as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is all too quick to point out. Join them for an early season trail project and barbecue on Sat., June 2, when they plan to perpetrate a variety of good deeds along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, followed by a cookout at the Devil Creek campground. Get in touch for directions and more details when you call 863-5411 or visit thebmwf.org.

‘Tis the day to care for wild lands, it would seem, as the Sierra Club is partnering with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Hellgate Runners and Anglers and the Five Valleys Land Trust to offer an opportunity for sylvan philanthropy that is a bit closer to Missoula. Anyone with a sincere disdain for barbed wire should come to the main Rattlesnake trailhead at 8 AM on Sat., June 2 for some good old-fashioned fence destruction. The carnage will be done by noon, which leaves plenty of time for hiking, biking or maybe canoodling. Volunteers should wear protective clothing, gloves, glasses and the like, bring whatever wire-killing tools seem appropriate and contact Bert at 542-7645 with questions.

While those normally intrepid Missoulians on Bicycles are leaving us hanging for a bit, we’ve got Missoula Bicycle Works stepping in to pick up the slack. On Sat., June 2, and also on Sun., June 3, you can jump in on their weekly group rides, which take off at 10 AM from Bernice’s Bakery. The rides last two to four hours, and start off at a leisurely social pace, which apparently devolves into quad-crushing labor by the end. The shop also hosts a variety of weekday rides, so check missoulabikeworks.com or call 721-6525.

And in other bike/destruction of natural beauty news, the same folks who bring you all those great rides will make use of Tom Maclay’s dubious Bitterroot Resort for KONA Demo Days on Sat., June 2 and Sun., June 3, from 9 AM–4 PM. Come sample all kinds of new gear—BYO pedals if you like—and don’t blame them, they tried calling Snowbowl, but got no love.   

If you’re more of a water sign, you’ll be happy to know that the Canoe Rack is offering another Art of the Roll session beginning on Mon., June 4, and continuing on June 6, 11 and 13 in the warm, comfy environs of the pool at Currents Aquatics Center. There will be more opportunities to take this class, but the season is upon us, so there’s really no reason to wait. Call 251-0040.

A friend once took to painting his face with Woad and hanging out in the hills outside Winchester, Va. If he’d known what an abundance of the plant we’ve got in the surrounding hills, I’m sure he’d have moved here years ago. Despite its use as a colorant, the Clark Fork chapter of the Native Plant Society is no friend of the little yellow-flowered invader, which is why they invite all hands to “Woad Warriors Part 2” at 6:30 PM on Tue., June 5, where Dyer’s Woad will be rent asunder like a field of English soldiers facing the combined clans of the Scottish hills.

Now before you go turning the page, think of all the fish you’ll catch once you master the curriculum of the Missoulian Angler’s monthly Beginning Fly-Tying Class at 7 PM on Wed., June 6. Pretty soon you’ll be an award-winning author of local fish lore. Call 728-7766.

And until next time, friends, keep it real and remember the slogan of Be Safe: Look for the “3,” don’t buy PVC.
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