Mountain High 

What can I say. You Montanans are crazy. This Saturday marks the arrival of the long-awaited Garden City Triathlon, which will begin at 9 AM at Frenchtown Pond State Park. A number of in-shape morning people have probably been training for months for the privilege. Here's what they'll be doing. Contenders start out with a 1.5-kilometer swim (that's very nearly a mile). Then, sopping wet and exhausted, the racers hop on bicycles for a 40-kilometer race (around 25 miles). I checked the weather, and it looks like Frenchtown can expect clear, sunny skies and a high of 79 degrees on race day, but the bike race starts early, morning air is chilly and they're going to be all wet! Moving on. After the bike race, the racers will be feeling super spry and in the mood to round out the morning with a 10-kilometer race on foot (6 miles). Last year, 30-year-old Adam Jensen finished in first place in 1 hour and 55 minutes. If history repeats, that would have this year's winner crossing the finish line at around 11 AM, right about the time when I'll be just getting out of bed and cursing the lack of a coffee maker in my new apartment.

Travel quite a distance on purpose using your own steam as part of the Garden City Triathlon, sponsored by Montana Campus Compact, beginning 9 AM at Frenchtown Pond State Park. "Run on over to" mtcompact.org/GCT.htm for all the race day details.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1

Draw your guns for the opening day of hunting for all upland game birds (excluding pheasants). Fly on over to fwp.mt.gov.

The MiniNaturalists Pre-K program lets young people explore the world through hands-on activities, games and play in a natural setting, this and every Thu. through Sept. 29. Cost is $3/$1 for MNHC members. Learn more at MontanaNaturalist.org.

Let REI Missoula human whisper you at their free class, Hiking and Camping with your Dog, 6:30–8 PM at 3275 N Reserve St. Call 541-1938.

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2

A river runs through the 9th Annual Ennis on the Madison Fly Fishing Festival where the Madison River Foundation celebrates fish and boats alike, Sept. 2–3. Reel in the facts at madisonriverfoundation.org.

Let Sharon Lamar show you a thing or two about Mountain Wildflowers for Young Explorers at Fact & Fiction for an art exhibit and signing, 5–7:30 PM, 220 N. Higgins Ave. Free.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3

Why not check out some music while you wait for winter at Big Sky Resort's Spruce Moose Festival, which features music by The Clintons, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The John Butler Trio and more! Show runs Sept. 3–4. Scope the lineup and ticket info at bigskyresort.com.

Take a 15-mile hike through jagged wilderness carrying a bunch of stuff on your back on purpose for the Great Burn High Country Backpacking Trip, Sept. 3–5. To sign up, email the trip leader at bob.clark@sierraclub.org.

Earn your badge in archery all over again when bow season opens for antelope, black bear, mountain lion, deer and elk. Follow the arrows to fwp.mt.gov.

Fans of purple majesty unite for Mountain Fest at Big Sky Resort, with the Big Sky Trail Challenge 5k run at 9 AM, a cardboard boat regatta at 11 AM, and all sorts of ongoing activities for the kids until 4 PM. 1 Lone Mountain Trail in Big Sky. Learn more at bigskyresort.com.

Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint, but in a fun way, at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Outdoor Ethics Traveling Trainers Workshop, 2–3 PM at Lone Pine State Park, 300 Lone Pine Rd. in Kalispell. Free.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 5

Big horn sheep open season kicks off today. Ram it into gear at fwp.mt.gov.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6

signing up for the Montana Natural History Center's Fall Master Naturalist Class provides an excellent opportunity to increase your naturalist skills and learn to identify trees, flowers, birds, insects and skulls! The six-week course includes field trips andcan count as college credit. Classes are Tue.–Thu., 4–7 PM now through Oct. 13 for $395. Visit MontanaNaturalist.org or call 327-0405.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 8

The MiniNaturalists Pre-K program lets young people explore the world through hands-on activities, games and play in a natural setting, this and every Thu. through Sept. 29. Cost is $3/$1 for MNHC members. Learn more at MontanaNaturalist.org.

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