Mountain High 

Imagine bicycling 400 miles, from Glacier to Yellowstone National Park, with the Rocky Mountain Front and Montana's rolling hillsides and dense forests as your scenic vista. It sounds like a heavenly time coupled with an intense workout for your legs, doesn't it? Come September, you'll have the opportunity to bike from the majestic mountains of Glacier to the steaming calderas of Yellowstone during Park 2 Park Montana, a five-day biking jaunt that occurs Sept. 6–10. But this excursion isn't just an excuse to feed your pedal-pushing addiction. It serves as a fundraiser for CASA of Montana, otherwise known as Court Appointed Special Advocates—a program of volunteers who advocate in court for abused and neglected children. Here's the lowdown: Registration is $495, and you're required to fundraise a minimum of $300. Registration isn't due until July 15, but it's recommended that you RSVP early so you can start training. Visit park2parkmontana.org and call 1-866-863-2272.

With that firmly rooted in your mind, we move on to something that might help you train for that aforementioned adventure. On Sat., May 15, Missoulians on Bicycles (MOBI) hit the pavement for the 80-mile Paul O'Connell Memorial Eighth Annual Sula to Wisdom ride, which begins at 7:30 AM with a carpool from Kmart. Alternately, meet at Sula at 9 AM. Free. Call Norman at 370-3876 and visit missoulabike.org.

Or you could pay your respects to Glacier before she melts away during the Glacier National Park Association's annual "Volunteer Day," which begins with a complimentary breakfast at 8:30 AM Sat., May 15, at the West Glacier Community Building. Shortly after, a volunteer session goes down, where you can keep your fingers busy with trail work and other fruitful activities. Free, but be sure to dress appropriately (that means no hot pants), and bring gloves, lunch and water. Call Ed at 257-5567.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

All the ladies in the hizhouse who like fishing shouldn't miss the S.A.F.E. Women's Flyfishing Clinic on Sat., May 15, which starts with a beginners/intro class from 9 AM–12 PM at the Teller Slack Barn in Corvallis, 1288 Eastside Highway. An intermediate/advanced class follows from 1–4 PM. $60, with lunch included. A portion of proceeds go to S.A.F.E., aka the organization Supporters of Abuse Free Environment. RSVP by calling Jenny at 360-2644.

Take a hike, literally, on Sat., May 15, when the Missoula Chapter of the Sierra Club leads a Blodgett Canyon Day Hike, which starts at a TBA time and location. Free, but it's limited to 15 participants and you must sign a liability release. RSVP for specifics with Mary by e-mailing her at mowens320@gmail.com.

Sat., May 15, also means that kayakers have an excuse to slip their paddles into some water during the 12th annual Best in the West Freestyle Kayak Competition, which begins with registration at noon at Brennan's Wave. $20/free to watch. Call 546-0370 or e-mail waves@zootownsurfers.com.

Later on Sat., May 15, party it up with your fellow mountaineers during the Rocky Mountaineers' 50th birthday party, which starts at a TBA time at the Larry Creek Group Site near the Charles Waters Campground, and is open to anyone who's been associated with this group of climbers. Details are still in the works, so check rockymountaineers.com for updates.

On Sun., May 16, cure the barley soda hangover you got from imbibing with the Rocky Mountaineers when you join them for a climb up St. Joseph Peak in the Bitterroots. Free. It starts at a TBA time, so contact Forest Dean at mtnear1@gmail.com for details.

Or tug your bike chain to the max during another MOBI ride on Sun., May 16. This time you'll tackle the 90-mile 18th annual Lolo Lulu, which departs at 8 AM from Montana Lil's, 3801 Brooks St. Free, and bring food to share for a large lunch. Call Wayne at 721-3095.

At 2 PM on Sun., May 16, have a watery fling of sorts during the Watershed Education Network's (WEN) Mayfly Fling, the network's annual fundraiser that runs from 2–7 PM at Caras Park. $5/free children. The soiree includes music by Party Trained, Butter and Wartime Blues, along with a slew of activities including a ring toss, fly casting and a poetry writing session. Proceeds from the party will go toward WEN initiatives like the School Stream Monitoring Program, which takes students to local stream sites to gather info on water health. Call 541-9287 and visit montanawatershed.org.

On Mon., May 17, all whitewater guides, boaters and river enthusiasts ought to slack from duty for a few days so they can participate in the Montana River Guides Swiftwater Rescue-Technician Course, which runs May 17–19 at a TBA time and location near Missoula. $295. Contact Mike at 777-4837 or e-mail rivers@montana.com to register. Visit montanariverguides.com.

Once you have dried off, let forest ecologist Paul Alaback seduce your senses with wildflowers Mon., May 17, during another Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society Wildflower Hike up Mount Sentinel, which begins at 6:30 PM on the south side of UM's Campus, at the corner of Beckwith and Madeline Avenues. Free. Call Paul at 531-7953.

Any mamas or papas who want to train for the Hellgate Village 5k in July ought to know that Tue., May 18, marks the start of Run Wild Missoula's Running Class for Parents, which runs this and every Tue. at 6 PM through July at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. $50/$25 Run Wild Missoula members. Visit runwildmissoula.org.

Finally, I'll finish by giving you a heads up on an event that ought to tickle the fancy of kayakers and fitness freaks. It's the Deep Bay Kayak and Fitness Symposium, which runs May 28–31 at the Deep Bay Resort in Lakeside. Here's a sample of what's in store: the chance to enroll in sea kayak basics to advance skills courses, as well as a slew of fitness and yoga workshops. E-mail bobbie@glacierseakayak.com for pricing and call 862-9010.

As for now, get those spokes in training mode.

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