Mountain High 

This week, the Olympia Beer slogan "It's the Water" rings especially true. Confused? Well, let me explain.

On Thu., March 4, from 3–6:30 PM, you can get down with aqua during the Watershed Education Network's (WEN) free community water monitoring training session. If that heats up your outdoors kettle, so to speak, then hop to it and meet members of WEN at the Greenough Park Pavilion Area and be prepared to measure fun things like chemical, biological and physical water quality parameters. Visit montanawatershed.org and call 541-9287.

Once you've had your water fill, head southward on Thu., March 4, at 7 PM to Room 210 at UM's McGill Hall to catch geographer Keith Bosak's free lecture "Stories from Nanda Devi: Daughter of the Himalaya." Expect a stunning array of photographs and stories about the area surrounding the peak, which, by the way, is the highest in India.

click to enlarge CATHRINE L. WALTERS

On Sat., March 6, jam out with your snowboarding gear out during Edge of the World's 22nd Annual Snowboard Jam, aka a "Weekend of Snow-Mazingness," which starts with registration at 10 AM at Montana Snowbowl, 1700 Snow Bowl Road. $10. The all-day snowboarding soiree includes a "shredfest" specifically tailored for women, a slopestyle competition, and gear demos to make you froth at the mouth. The jam continues Sun., March 7, at 10 AM and includes a banked slalom event that costs $10. Also, note that both days include sweet music action in the Snowbowl bar by DJ Mermaid. Call 721-7774 and visit edgeoworld.com/zoo.

Or perhaps you'd like to warm up the seat of your tricked out bike. In that case, join those pedal pushers known as Missoulians on Bicycles on Sat., March 6, for a 25-mile bike trip to Blue Mountain and Big Flat that starts at 10 AM. Free. Meet at Montana Lil's, 3801 Brooks St., and call ride leader Wayne Kruse at 721-3095. Visit missoulabike.org.

Here's a shout out to those of you who like to breathe heavily: On Sun., March 7, at 8 AM, Run Wild Missoula begins its 18-week Missoula Marathon training program at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. $80 person/$55 Run Wild Missoula members. The program offers coaching by running sage Anders Brooker, as well as a comprehensive training program. Visit runwildmissoula.org for more info and to download a registration form.

You just can't get enough action on your bike, can you? Well, Missoulians on Bicycles can satisfy your urges on Sun., March 7, during another 25-mile bike jaunt. This time you'll pedal for the Tour de Turah, which starts at 10 AM at the Eastgate parking lot near UM's footbridge, and takes you to...you guessed it, Turah. Free. Call Vickie Mikelsons at 721-8540.

Mon., March 8 means it's time to worship those aesthetically pleasing creatures known as butterflies during the Flathead Audubon Society-sponsored presentation "Butterflies of Montana," which starts at 7 PM in the community room of The Summit, 205 Sunnyview Lane in Kalispell. Free. Entomologist Steve Kohler, a butterfly nut of sorts, plans to give an update on the Montana Butterfly Project, as well as dish out info on the relationship between butterfly larvae and plant foods. Visit flatheadaudubon.org.

Heady plant appreciation also goes down Mon., March 7, when The Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society hosts a joint presentation with the Five Valleys Audubon Society titled "What Birds and Spiders and Mice Tell Us About the Natural History of Exotic Plant Invasions," which starts at 7:30 PM in Room L14 of UM's Gallagher Business Building. Free. Ecologist Dean Pearson leads the talk, which also includes a report from UM student Daniel Venturella on his studies of the effects of invasive plants on native bee communities. Visit fvamissoula.org and mtnativeplants.org.

Get super high without the use of drugs on Wed., March 10, when the Rocky Mountaineers hold their monthly meeting at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. Free. Member Julie Kahl plans to entrance you with slides of her recent float trip to the White Cliffs area on the Missouri River, so prepare to get your brain wet. Visit rockymountaineers.com.

Or let talk of fire burn in your mind Wed., March 10, when Tony Harwood, Salish-Kootenai Tribal Fire Management Division Manager, leads the presentation "Fire on the Land: A Tribal Perspective," at 7 PM at the Montana Natural History Center (MNHC), 120 Hickory St. $4/free MNHC members. Visit montananaturalist.org.

Let avians creep into your sights Thu., March 11, during a Five Valleys Audubon Society-sponsored workshop for beginning birders. The workshop runs from 7–9:30 PM at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional office, 3201 Spurgin Road, and offers the chance to stuff your dome with birding info like ID, behavior and songs, as well as birding ethics and bird anatomy. $20. This workshop includes another class at the same time Thu., March 18, as well as a field trip on March 20. Space is limited, so RSVP quickly by calling Larry Weeks at 549-5632.

Also on Thu., March 11, you can bear witness to the feats of mountain biker Rebecca Rusch when she appears in town for a screening of Race Across the Sky—a documentary about the Leadville Trail 100, one of the most hardcore bike races around—at 7:30 PM at the Roxy Theater, 718 S. Higgins Ave. $10/$5 children, with all proceeds going to benefit the International Mountain Bike Association. A free, special pre-screening party occurs at 5:30 PM at Big Sky Bikes, 809 E. Front St. Visit outsidemedia.com.

Finally, take one for the scientific team during the Whitebark Pine Field Workshop, a free, one-day "citizen scientist monitoring trip" on Sat., March 13, in Cooke City, located near the Montana/Wyoming border. Space is super limited, so e-mail Whitney Leonard at wleonard@nrdc.org to make a reservation. Visit montanabackcountry.org.

Now go chug some cans of Olympia and write me a report on how it feels. Just kidding.

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