Mountain High 

This week I’ve something of a cautionary tale for my readers. It has to do with the Indy’s editor, Skylar Browning (remember him from the nudist story?), who describes his outlook on an upcoming kayak date with Brennan’s Wave—it’s for a story, he says—as “nervous.”

Folks, it doesn’t have to be this way. We needn’t reach maturity without being comfortable in a thin plastic tub amid life-threatening waters. Really, we needn’t. Yeah, I hear you loud and clear: “I can’t teach my child to kayak!” To you I respond with seven words: The Zoo Town Surfers Youth Kayak Club.

Ever since 2003, this hydrophilic posse’s been instructing the next generation of river runners, and this summer’s already off to a rushing start. The youth club places kids in groups with like-skilled peers, focuses on the fundamentals, and transports youngsters from Missoula to their lair near Alberton Gorge every week, all summer long. Should the idea of tossing your wee beast into the Clark Fork this summer prove appealing, get in touch with them at 546-0370, or visit zootownsurfers.com.

And with that out of the way, we head into the weekend. On Sat., May 9, Missoulians on Bicycles (MOB) meets at 9 AM at the corner of Mount and Reserve streets for the 65-mile Amble to Alberton ride. Ride the Big Flat route to Frenchtown and beyond, but first call Wayne at 721-6330.

An entirely different option comes as Trout Unlimited (TU) hosts the Seventh Annual Women’s Flyfishing Clinic at the Teller Wildlife Refuge, where the fun begins at 10 AM. Get schooled on technique, equipment, river knowledge and more, and enjoy a catered lunch and a TU membership to boot. $50. Call 360-2644 or 363-6158.

Here’s a doubleshot from our repository of Gaia’s gifts, the Montana Natural History Center (MNHC), 120 Hickory St.: On Sat., May 9, biologist David Schmetterling—come on, that’s got to be a pseudonym, right?—offers a Native Plant Garden Design Class at 1 PM, where you’re encouraged to bring your garden plans, blueprints, aerial photos and such. That runs $35, or $30 for MHNC members. RSVP 327-0405.

At almost the same time—okay, so an hour later—the MNHC gives kids a chance to get their chitin on with the Saturday Kids’ Activity “Incredible Insects” at 2 PM. $2/members free. Call 327-0405.

With that dose of education safely out of the way, it’s time to relax and be entertained. The Missoula Figure Skating Club’s got your best value up their sheer sleeves: At 6:30 PM on Sat., May 9, their 12th annual Showcase on Ice, “Skating Through the Airwaves,” kicks off at the Glacier Ice Rink. Group and solo performances span the radio dial, and the price is right, at $8/$4 under 13/$20 per family of four. Visit missoulafsc.org.

Rather than allowing Mom to sleep in and enjoy a breakfast-in-bed of waffles and bacon, get this Mother’s Day started right when the two of you arrive at 8 AM in the UM Adams Center parking lot, where the Audubon Society meets on Sun., May 10 for a waterfowl-watching trip to Stone Container. You’ll have plenty of time to have brunch later, as it’s just a half-day adventure. Call 549-5632.

You could do that, or you could toss Mom on a bike and join that unruly MOB, which meets at 8 AM on Sun., May 10, at the corner of Brooks and Reserve streets for the 90-mile 17th annual Lolo Lulu ride. Call Wayne at 721-3095.

Moving into Mon., May 11, two sets of bird-lovers meet, but in very disparate regions: At 5 PM, the Flathead Audubon Society hosts their annual potluck, silent auction and general membership meeting in Kalispell’s Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 603 S. Main St. The plan is to discuss Audubon’s new Important Bird Area Project with Montana director Steve Hoffman. Be there, or I guess you’re just a bird-hata.

That, or you’re down in Missoula, where on Mon., May 11, the Five Valleys Audubon Society hosts a special presentation with Raptors of the Rockies’ Kate Davis and several of her feathered friends, at 7:30 PM in Room L114 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. Call 327-1525.

As area water continues to warm, so does our desire to get up in some of it. Or at least to snatch fish from the depths. With that in mind, you’ll be glad to know that Montana River Guides offer two moist safety courses this week: On Tue., May 12, a Fisherman Safety Course goes down, while playboaters get their day on Wed., May 13, when a Kayaker Safety Course occurs. They cost $75 and $95, respectively, and you’re to sign up by calling 207-2027 or visiting whitewaterrescue.com.

The final day in this week’s roundup features two events with very different foci: First, at 3:30 PM on Thu., May 14, young people from across the five valleys converge on the Franklin Park Picnic Shelter, where Mayor John Engen hosts Movin’ with the Mayor, an exercise and health promotion program of Missoula Parks & Rec. If you can’t make it, other episodes are coming down the pike, and I’ll keep you in the know. Call 721-PARK.

Lastly, the community of Bigfork plays host to highly mobile songster and wilderness activist Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, whose multimedia presentation Forever Wild comes to the Swan River Community Hall at 7 PM on Thu., May 14. Admission is by donation. Call 755-1379.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your paddlin’.
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