Mountain High 

As it stands, I’ve got too many events this week to spend much time with an elaborate set-up, so here we go:

The bird-loving set proceeds to wake up and smell the coming migration. In deep anticipation, the Five Valleys Audubon Society continues their six-part Advanced Birding Workshop when Jim Brown presents a class on shorebirds at 7 PM on Thu., March 19, at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks office on Spurgin Road. The class costs $15, or $60 covers you for all six classes, of which only one remains. RSVP 549-5632.

In more mammalian news, a large herd of bipeds plans to stampede through town next month, and they’d like you to join them. Yes, folks, the YMCA Riverbank Run takes place this year on April 25, and registration begins on Fri., March 20. Choose from the one-mile fun run, the 5K, 10K, the trifecta or the school challenge. And get more info at ymcamissoula.org, or by calling 721-9622.

Oh, and speaking of preparing to run around in groups, it is my distinct honor to announce that the third annual Missoula Marathon takes place on July 12. While winter’s sloth might not have gotten you in prime marathon shape, Run Wild Missoula comes to the rescue, with a 16-week Missoula Marathon Walking Training Class beginning at 8 AM on Sat., March 21, in Community Medical Center Conference Rooms I and J. You’ll be getting right to the training part, so dress accordingly. And bring some dough, as the class costs $25, or $20 for Run Wild members. Call 544-2150. 

Of course, you’ll need to stash the kids somewhere so’s you can begin your training. What better way than with the help of the Missoula Family YMCA, 3000 S. Russell Ave., which hosts its annual “Super Saturday” summer camp registration event at 8 AM on Sat., March 21. If past years are any indication, there will be food, drink, fun and games for everybody. But you’ll probably want to call ahead, just in case: 721-YMCA.

Missoula’s had a patchy history with biker gangs, and one local group is hell-bent on rectifying errors of the past. Actually, the pedallers of Missoulians on Bikes (MOB) have never incited any street riots, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t if they had the chance. In any case, they invite you and your bike to meet up at 10 AM at the Perkins on Reserve Street on Sat., March 21, for the 30-mile Frenchtown Frenzy for Fries and Frolic. Call Tom or Sue at 728-8319.

Instead of that ride, take a trip up Grant Creek to Montana Snowbowl, where on Sat., March 21, the all-day, year-end blowout “Best of the Bowl” aims to determine exactly who the mountain monarch might be this year. Call 549-4777 or visit montanasnowbowl.com.

Here’s one the motor-heads might best avoid: The Montana Backcountry Alliance’s inaugural Lolo Luau Barbecue and Backcountry Party begins on Sat., March 21, at noon at the “G-Spot,” a little, hard-to-find nook about 2.6 miles before Lolo Pass on Highway 12. A skin-ski race takes place at 12:30, with the barbecue and awards raising everybody’s sap at 2. For more info, browse on over to montanabackcountry.org. 

It wouldn’t be Mountain High without a little nug of activity from the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St., which hosts the Saturday Kids’ Activity “Endangered Species Treasure Hunt” at 2 PM on Sat., March 21. Your little exterminators—think about it—can learn all kinds of useful factoids about disappearing species like grizzly bears, black-footed ferrets and bald eagles, and the $2 fee is waived for members, so what’s your excuse? Call 327-0405.

To wrap up the day’s listings, I’ll urge you to head north for the upper-crusty wilds of Whitefish, where the Whitefish Mountain Resort has something very special planned. On Sat., March 21, the Dummy Derby begins at 3:30 PM, and soon mannequins of all makes and sizes will be flying down the slopes toward a massive jump and their ultimate demise. Some rules: Nothing that was—or is—alive, no glass, explosives, motors or sharp metal objects. Teams of four are encouraged to call 862-2910 with any questions.

That unruly MOB returns for more of the same on Sun., March 22, as they meet up at 10 AM at the old 4B’s Restaurant on Reserve Street for the 35-mile Fort Fizzle Folly. Call Ken at
239-9754.

Moving right along, we’re reminded that boating season is just around the corner from our next snowstorm. Kalispell’s Silver Moon Kayak Company aims to boost the number of trained boater/consumers in the marketplace with the first of two stand-alone Indoor Kayak Pool Classes, which begins at 7:30 PM at the Summit, 205 Sunnyview Lane, on Mon., March 23. Two separate sections deal with rolls and rescues, and another class will be held on March 31, so you can take both sections. $115/$90 if you supply your own equipment. Call 752-3794.   

And tying it all back together, another chance to prepare for future races comes on Wed., March 25, as Missoula Bicycle Works, 708 S. Higgins Ave., hosts the fourth Grizzlyman Adventure Race clinic “On-The-Fly Bicycle Maintenance” at 7 PM. It’s free, and race organizers will be in hand to answer more general questions after the clinic.

Now, let’s be careful out there.
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