Mountain High 

As it turns out, there's more than one way to design a chicken coop. I did not know that. In fact, there are a lot of factors involved. Designers take great care in choosing materials, architecture, ventilation, aesthetics, and other things I can't even think of. This Sunday, The good people of MUD (Missoula Urban Development) are hosting Tour de Coop, a contest and bike tour of all the best chicken coops in the area. Chicken enthusiasts will meet at the MUD site at noon and take off on a guided expedition to all the coops in the contest. The tour ends around 5 PM at Free Cycles, where winners in multiple categories will be announced, such as "Best use of recycled materials," "Most sustainable," and "People's Choice."

My roommates used to have chickens, but then they stopped laying eggs and my roommates ate the birds. Sad.

Tour de Coop rolls out on Sun. June 19 from 12–5 PM from the MUD Site, 629 Phillips St. and ends at Free Cycles. Visit the MUD site for a map of participating coops, or check out mudproject.org.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY JUNE 16

Send your little one tiptoeing through tulips for the miniNaturalists at the Gardens program, which lets kids explore the natural world through hands-on activities and play, 10–11 AM at Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens (under the big silver water tower). $3/$1 MNHC members. montananaturalist.org.

FRIDAY JUNE 17

Lock, load and aim for a steel buffalo during the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match in Forsyth, a long range rifle competition where shooters use original or replica period firearms to shoot targets at distances as far as 800 yards. Get locked in by calling 346-2763 or by e-mailing coker6@rangeweb.net.

SATURDAY JUNE 18

Climb mountains, kid, and not just metaphorically, on the Cha-paa-qn Day Hike, an 8-mile round trip jaunt to an alpine summit west of Missoula, $30 includes transportation and guides. Register ASAP through the UM Outdoor Program, 243-5172 or email campusrec@mso.umt.edu.

Get high on endorphins as you pedal it up to the max during the Anaconda Bicycle Festival, a three-day fete that features events like the "Pedal the Pintlers"—a 25, 50 or 100-mile ride in the beautiful Pintler Mountains. Aim your wheels to anacondabikefest.org for details.

Pass the competition while taking in breathtaking rock formations in the Rockies outside of Butte during the Wulfman's Continental Divide-14k, a race between Homestake and Pipestone Pass that uses proceeds to build and improve trails in southwest Montana. Act quick and be one of 240 people to race by clicking to buttespissandmoanrunners.com/Butte Races/CDT-14K/cdt_14k.htm.

Go with the hydraulic flow during the Longest Dam Race, a run/walk competition where participants race across the top of Fort Peck Dam in Fort Peck, which is purported to "be the largest hydraulically earth filled dam in the world." Get watery details at glasgowmt.net.

What's everybody's favorite flower? The Bitter Root! Join the good people of Hamilton for their 31st Annual Bitter Root Day Festival, featuring arts, crafts, and food from local vendors, plus live music by Cabin Fever, 9 AM–1 PM at Ravalli County Museum, 205 Bedford St. in Hamilton. Visit brvhsmuseum.org or call 363-3338. Free.

Poison hath residence and medicine power! Join clinical herbalist Britta Bloedorn for a Wild & Native Plants Excursion, where you'l learn about regional medicinal and edible plants, 9 AM–4 PM at Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St. $40/$35 MNHCmembers. Registration required at 327-0405.

Walk on the wild side, of flowers that is, when Lone Pine State Park presents a series of spring wildflower walks at 11 AM starting with a meet-up at the Lone Pine Visitor Center, 300 Lone Pine Road outside of Kalispell. Free. Call 755-2706 Ext. 2.

SUNDAY JUNE 19

Hail the goddess of summer at the First National Bank of Montana Summit Solstice Triathlon/Duathlon, which takes place at Foy's Lake near Kalispell and features a half-mile swim, 12.7-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run. This popular competition fills up fast, so hurry and visit nwhc.org/summit/content/index.cfm?cm_id=596 to register.

Biking and beauty go hand-in-hand during Adventure Cycling's Cycle Montana Road Bicycle Tour, a 360-mile, week-long biking jaunt that begins and ends in Bozeman, and whisks you along scenic vistas with stops in Ennis, Dillon, Wise River, Butte and Three Forks. Push your cursor to adventurecycling.org/tours for details, or call 721-1776.

TUESDAY JUNE 21

A little bird told me about this event. Ha ha ha. The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula presents a talk by Dr. Richard L. Hutto called What Birds Tell us About Fire Ecology, 7 PM, Bldg. 322 at Fort Missoula, free and open to the public. Call 728-3476.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 22

Who's afraid of big bad rapids? Spend a full day running the river on the Blackfoot River Rafting Trip, $60. Registration required with UM Outdoor Program, 243-5172 or email campusrec@mso.umt.edu.

Trigger-happy people are welcome at Outdoor Scenario Paintball with City Life community Center. Everything's included but feel free to bring your own gun if you must, plus money for extra ammo if you're the type, ages 13 to 18 only, 7:30 AM–7 PM, $50/$40 members and dinner provided. Register at 1515 Fairview Ave. or citylifemt.com or call 532-1558.

THURSDAY JUNE 23

Your mission, if you choose to accept it: Rock Climbing and Rappelling with City Life community Center at The Heap at Lolo Pass. It's technical. You'll be harnessed and belayed, ages 13-18, $15 for members only, 7:30 AM–6 PM, Register at 1515 Fairview Ave. or citylifemt.com. Call 532-1558.

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