Mountain High 

The Foy's to Herron Paddlethon is a gnarly, off road, no-swim triathlon that organizers describe as a "unique race in a unique place." The places are Foy's Lake and Herron Park in Kalispell, and the race is unique in that as long as you don't tip your water vessel, you might just make it through the whole thing without getting wet. The race begins with a 3-mile canoe or kayaking trek. Next, you'll do a 5-mile mountain bike course through the Blacktail Trails. For those still standing, the race is rounded out with a 4-mile trail run. Take heart, you won't just be running for your health. The proceeds from the race will go towards the event organizer's three-fold mission: to secure historic access to trails and lands connecting Herron Park to the forest lands at Blacktail Mountain, to provide for long-term stewardship of these trails, and to accomplish this mission through voluntary and cooperative means. This ruins my plans to tip over everyone's boat, but I'm sure it's worth it.

The Foy's to Herron Paddlethon is a no swim, off road triathlon at Herron Park, just minutes from Downtown Kalispell on Sun. July 31. Race day registration starts at 7:30 AM, and the race starts at 9 AM. $15 solo/$40 team. Visit foystoblacktrails.org.

click to enlarge CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY JULY 28

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.

The man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a Weed Blitz sponsored by the Glacier National Park's Citizen Science Program from 10 AM–4 PM at the West Glacier Community Building. Call 888-7986.

FRIDAY JULY 29

You can do it if you put your soles to it during the Swan Crest 100, a 100-mile trail-run from Swan Lake to Columbia Falls that features a running surface of 90 percent single track, six percent dirt roads and a little pavement in between. Point your toes to swancrest100.com.

Tap into the source during the Headwaters Relay, a three-day, 232-mile team relay race on dirt and two-track trails that revisits Lewis and Clark's expedition from Three Forks to Beaverhead Rock, and ends at Hellroaring Creek, the source of the Missouri River. Drink up details at montanamtnrec.com/hwrelay.

Settle in for some folklore about the good old days of an Early Montana Trader at Beavertail Hill, off exit 130 on I90, 8 PM, told by Rebecca Timmons as part of the Women in Montana History series. Call Vernon at 273-4253.

Liven things up in your love life, or just take comfort in watching the cosmos, during public observing night at the Blue Mountain Observatory where you'll get to gander at nearby planets, stars and nebulae at an estimated observing time of 10:15 PM. Free. Call 243-5179 before you go and get directions by clicking over to physics.umt.edu/bluemountain.

SATURDAY JULY 30

The Race for Freedom is Montana Women's Outreach's first 5k, and it commences at Target Range Range Grade School. Check in is at 8 AM and the race runs 9 AM–Noon. $20 registration, walkers are encouraged, rain or shine is fine. 4095 South Ave. W.

Volunteers are needed for the eighth annual Blackfoot River Cleanup which meets at 9 AM at Johnsrud Fishing Access Site. Event runs until around 5 PM, followed by a free barbecue. For directions and more details, call 542-5500.

The Missoula Iris Society wants to sell you flowers straight out of the Fort Missoula Iris Gardens at very reasonable prices! Find them from 9 AM–12:30 PM, just west of the museum. Call Carol or Pete at 251-5833.

Take one of those magical, green spaces family jaunts the zoo is so famous for with Missoula Children and Nature (MCN), Adventure Cycling, and Free Cycle's bike Tour of Missoula's Parks, 1 PM to 3:30 PM beginning at McCormick Park. Call Ian at 396-9562.

Upland Game Birds and the wildlife biologists who love them are the subject of this talk at Salmon Lake State Park, 8 PM and free, 5 miles south of Seeley Lake just off Hwy 93.

TUESDAY AUGUST 2

In my experience, teens love salmon, lakes and hotdogs, so why not send yours to a day of fun at Salmon Lake with City Life Community Center, with activities like a fire roast, tubing, water skiing (brisk!) and more, ages 13–18 only, 7:30 AM to 7 PM, $40/$30 for members. Register at citylifemt.com or call 532-1558.

The house always wins when the University of Montana Flathead Lake biological Station invites the public to their open house, where you can explore the facilities and take part in special activities, 1–5 PM at the Flathead Biological station, 32125 Bio Station Lane. Free.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 3

Watch cowboys get bucked off of bulls the pro rodeo way at the Big Sky Professional Bull Riding event, 6:30–9:30 PM at Big Sky Town Center, 11 Lone Peak Dr. in Big Sky. For event schedule and ticket purchasing information, visit explorebigsky.com.

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