Mountain High 

Um, it’s snowing as I write this. Now, I fully understand springtime in the Rockies means highly variable weather for the next few weeks, but snow during Bike Walk Bus Week? Again?

Of course, it’s weather like this that gives us all that we need here in the summertime, like massive flows in the rivers, an appreciation for the dependable warmth of a boulder by the river and a healthy and mobile wildlife population.

Speaking of which, the Great Bear Foundation, stalwart defenders of the Nation of Ursus, has picked this weekend to host the 10th annual Bear Honoring. It all begins at 4 PM on Fri., May 1, when you can sample a wide array of local and organic foods that bears can’t get by without. You’ll want to meet at the Greenough Park Pavilion for a bear walk, cultural talk and bear foods buffet. The rest of the Bear Honoring program takes place over the next two days, so keep reading for that. Or call 829-9378 for a full program.

At around that same time, 6 PM on Fri., May 1, the annual gathering of the Montana Wilderness Association begins with a social time, auction and live music from the Broken Valley Roadshow at Zootown Brew, 121 W. Broadway. The three-day-ish conference includes a full day of seminars and projects on Saturday, as well as a State Council meeting and trail work project on Sunday. For a peek at the full monty, visit wildmontana.org,

With May Day safely behind us, we can arise on Sat., May 2, with the sun. Or shortly thereafter, at least. Now that the swine flu’s here, you can relax all that avian flu apprehension and join the Audubon Society’s Jim Brown for a field trip to Brown’s Lake, for which you’re to meet at 8 AM at the UM Adams Center parking lot. Bring lunch, a pair of binocs and your love of the fowl. Call 549-5632 or 549-8052.

Like I said above, the Montana Wilderness Association’s full day of seminars and discussions begins at 8 AM on Sat., May 2, at the Doubletree Hotel. And while you’re in there parsing the future of the hinterlands, your kids can enjoy a full day of activities from the likes of the Montana Natural History Center (MNHC), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Watershed Education Network and your good friends at REI. You can sign up the little whippersnappers by e-mailing k.randzio@gmail.com.

The second day of the Great Bear Foundation’s Bear Honoring begins when you meet at their headquarters, 802 E. Front St., at 9 AM for the van trip up north. Your itinerary includes stops at Salish Kootenai College for a culture and art program, a pow wow and bear dance at the Kicking Horse Job Corps Center and a bit of bear watching back here in town. $15. RSVP 829-9378.

Another option you might explore involves our dear friends at the Rocky Mountaineers. You see, on Sat., May 2, they bust out a sick three-day trip up to Glacier National Park with a double-crag-bagging on the roster. The mountains in the crosshairs are Gunsight and Edwards, both of which exceed 9,000 feet in height. So bring winter gear, and call Forest at 240-7612 to sign up, or e-mail him at mtnear1@gmail.com. 

Or maybe the streets will be clear enough for biking again. If that’s the case, then Sat., May 2, features the 52-mile Missoulians on Bicycles (MOB) Rock Creek Ramble ride, which leaves from the Eastgate parking lot at 10 AM.

And while strict Pagans would probably be aghast at this event’s temporal impropriety, most folks are sure to enjoy the Moon-Randolph Homestead’s Maypole Frolic, which begins at noon on Sat., May 2. Bring a potluck item, get ready for a spin around yon pole o’ fertility and stay late for the bonfire. Oh, and if you bike there, you’ll save a buck.  

Last week’s surly and recalcitrant cloud cover dashed the hopes of many a heavens-looker, yet the MNHC staff plows on undaunted. They’ve rescheduled the 9 PM class Evening Star Gazing for Beginners for Sat., May 2, and have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with Mother Nature for clear skies. Count on it. And call 327-0405 to check the class status.

Your last chance to partake in some Bear Honoring comes at 8 AM on Sun., May 3, when a van leaves the Great Bear Foundation’s office for Glacier Park. The day involves all manner of bear programming, too much for me to detail here, so again, call 829-9378.

The aforementioned Montana Wilderness Association would be remiss in their duties if they adjourned without hooking Missoula up, which is why they host a community trail project—meet at the Doubletree Hotel at 9:30 AM on Sun., May 3—for which REI graciously picks up the tab for the pizza lunch.


A final note, as we move out into the week, is that the annual Social Gathering and Fundraiser for the Selway-Bitterroot Foundation takes place at 6:30 PM on Wed., May 6, at Lake Missoula Cellars, 5646 W. Harrier. In addition to learning about the organization’s work for the wilderness, the open house offers you a reading from keynote speaker Rick Bass, which you’ll enjoy as you down the wine and dessert they thoughtfully supply. Call Rob at 329-3603.

And it’s a wrap.
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