Mountain High 

Well, folks, it would appear ski season’s really and actually over. And for real this time. For your amusement, I’ve posted this gnarly pic of me about to bomb down some sick backcountry terrain last Sunday at Snowbowl.

All right, so I wasn’t even there. That photo’s not of your good Comrade Calendar, but of some other chap who actually made the effort to get out there for one last hurrah down the resort’s totally ungroomed trails. Sweet icy patches, folks. And it’s a wrap.

This week, we look forward to a bright and shiny new season of warmth, dry conditions and long, long days. I, for one, have been busy renovating a rickshaw or two, and if we’re all lucky, they should be unleashed upon the populace right about the time you’re reading this.

Of course, in outdoor recreation as in all things, we must stress the importance of placing safety first. So it’s with that in mind that I’m pleased to tell you about Montana River Guides’ upcoming series of three-day Whitewater Rescue Technician courses, the first of which begins on Fri., April 17. It’s $295, but money spent on safety is money well spent. Visit montanariverguides.com or call 777-4837.

This happens every so often, and it’s happening again this week: Saturday’s simply packed, and thus it gets its own special heading:

Saturday, April 18

We begin at the beginning, with a reminder that the GrizzlyMan Adventure Race and the Black Bear Challenge take place today at the Paws Up Resort and Lubrecht Forest. You can register through Fri., April 17, at grizzlymanrace.com, there are solo and paired categories and probably also some great people watching. Race on, grizzly men and ladies!

Beginning at 9 AM on this most auspicious of days, two opportunities to reintroduce your kids to the natural world arise, and the one you choose probably has much to do with how much you want to drive. Our northern readers will take advantage of Glacier National Park’s free “Reconnecting Children with Nature” workshop, which begins at 9 AM at the West Glacier Community Building. Call 888-7935 about that one. Missoula folks probably ought to head over to the Great Bear Foundation on East Front Street, where the Missoula Children and Nature Network offers a similar workshop from 10 AM–3 PM. Call 721-7275. 

Take nature into your own hands, quite literally, when you head to the Rattlesnake’s Bugbee Nature Area, where an Earth Day weeding project takes place from 9 AM–4 PM, involves coffee, donuts and lunch. Just don’t park on Missoula Avenue, okay?

Of course, we all know toxic sludge makes a superb running surface, which is why the organizers of the Bonner’s Superfun(d) Run request your presence at 9:30 AM at the new trails for either the 1K, 5K or 10K variety. Prizes await, as does somebody on the other end of this phone number: 546-6026.  Registration forms are also available at friendsof2rivers.org.

Another option to give a little back to the planet you’ve basically been mooching off of your whole life comes during the Mount Sentinel Trail Restoration Project, which begins at 9:30 AM at the “M” trailhead. Lunch is provided, but it’s bring-your-own-gloves. And call 243-6642.

Maybe you’re more about waterways than trails, which is cool. If that’s the case, then your day’s philanthropy will include the annual Clark Fork River Clean-up, which begins at 10 AM at Caras Park, aims to scour seven miles of shoreline and promises a noon barbecue for your efforts. You can arrive as early as 9 AM for registration, and you’re to call 542-0539, ext. 200, with your questions.

Now, not everyone wants to spend the day locked into service, which is certainly their prerogative. One such blob of selfishness is Missoulians on Bicycles (MOB)—here’s hoping they’re also thick-skinned—who offer two rides on this glorious day. Choose between the Perma Loop Ride (RSVP 745-4549) and the two-day Hot Springs Ride (RSVP 728-4126). Either way, the road will certainly rise up to meet you, and you can always save the planet some other day.

Moving right along, it’s time to think about boating again, and how are you going to properly ply our waterways with that crappy old gear? Here’s an idea: Clean it up and sell it to some other poor sap when Kalispell’s Silver Moon Kayak Co. hosts their annual Kayak and Kayaking Gear Swap from 10 AM–5 PM at 1215 N. Somers Road. Gather all the details you need at silvermoonkayak.com, or by calling 752-3794.

And, last but not least, the smaller inhabitants of the valley can use trash in a positive way when the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St., presents the Saturday Kids’ Activity “Garbage Art!” at 2 PM. The $2 fee is waived for members, and you can call 327-0405.

And that’s it for Saturday. But the events just don’t quit. On Sun., April 19, the MOB offers another ride, the 55-mile Mule Train to Ninemile, for which you’re to meet at 10 AM at the Reserve Street Perkins. Call 728-8262.

Finally, friends, we take leave of the weekend with an event sponsored by that bastion of naturalists, the Montana Natural History Center. At 7 PM on Wed., April 22, biologist Avi Lourie presents the adult-oriented lecture “Wildlife of Israel,” which he draws upon his experience with the Wild Animal Protection Division of Israel’s National Parks. $4 suggested donation. Call 327-0405.

AAHHHhh! Ski poles on fire! Now that I’ve got your attention, remember that Sun., April 19, marks the final collection day for the Gear for the Garhwal gear drive (nature-link.org, 370-2294). Drop off used, but useful, clean and safe outdoor equipment at Bob Ward’s, the Trailhead, Pipestone Mountaineering and everywhere else you’d expect. Just quit dumping it in my back yard. Sheesh.
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