Mountain High 

The Mad Mudder 6k is a grueling, mud-filled dirt trail course complete with10 military-style obstacles. Usually I like to write about how physically demanding these things appear and how anyone who would endeavor to get up so early in the morning to partake in them is crazy, but this one looks like just about the funnest thing I've ever seen. You should see pictures of last year's participants on their website. They are filthy. They are covered in mud. The mud accentuates the whites of their eyes and teeth and I'm reminded of Gary Busey in a war zone, but they're smiling because it's just a bit of fun and nobody gets shot or dies or anything. Anyone is welcome. There's a 100-yard mud dash for kids 13 and under. According to the organizers, "The Mad Mudder is where you can expect the unexpected. Mudders will be up, down and upside down and will definitely get dirty. Hints about the obstacles will be given leading up to the event, adding to the excitement and intrigue." Word.

The Mad Mudder goes down this Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10 AM. It's a "maddening" 6K course on a dirt trail at Marshall Mountain (5250 Marshall Canyon Rd) that includes 10 military-style boot camp obstacles. To sign up and learn more, go to madmudder.com.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15

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.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 17

Let's take care of this thing once and for all at the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer's, 8 AM at Fort Missoula. All of the money raised goes towards research to end Alzheimer's, education, and support for individuals with this debilitating disease. Call 541-6577.

The future is now and this is your chance to see how sustainable living works at SLS's Annual Bitteroot Green Home Tour, 9 AM–4 PM. Meet at either the Super 1 in Stevensville or the Kmart in Hamilton. $10. Call Gretchen at 207-3738 or Jill at 642-3601. sustainablelivingsystems.org.

Find your way at a 2-part series, beginning with Map and Compass Orienteering, 1–5 PM at Lone Pine State Park, 300 Lone Pine Rd. in Kalispell. The second class is Introduction to GPS Navigation, Sun. Oct. 15 from 1–5 PM. Cost is $10 or $15 for both. Call Mary Beth at 755-2706 to register.

At Natures Treasures: Crystals and Gems, kids learn the tools of a geologist to sift through gravel and pan for their own treastures, 2–3 PM at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St. $1/$3 non members. For ages 5 and up. MontanaNaturalist.org.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18

Death can be beautiful. Join Lois Crepeau on a hike to enjoy Fall Colors in the Rattlesnake, which will meet at the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead. Call 728–5321 to reserve your spot.

Join Todd Cross for a two-hour strenuous mountain bike ride in the Rattlesnake, which meets at the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead. Call 970-471-9895 to reserve your spot.

John Flore invites you on a leisurely 3-hour mountain bike ride in the Rattlesnake, which will meet at the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead. Call 549-5283 to reserve a spot.

Clean up the river with your friends and family at the Rattlesnake Clean-Up, which will meet at 10 AM in the Doubletree Parking lot. Call Katie at 203-6433 or learn more at rattlesnakecreekwatershedgroup.org.

Saddle up with the Backcountry Horsemen of Missoula for a trail ride over Strawberry Ridge via the Wallman Trail. Call Ken Brown at 207-6067 to preserve your spot. Group meets at the Rattlesnake horse trailhead at 10 AM.

Kids and adults can learn more about aquatic bugs in Rattlesnake Creek during this outing by the Watershed Education Network, starting 2:30 PM at the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead. Call Kitty at 541-9287.

What better way to celebrate a day of tromping through the wilderness than with the Rat-tlesnake Wilderness Celebration, 4–8 PM at Ten Spoon Vineyard + Winery, 4175 Rattlesnake Dr, with food, wine and music by Blue Mountain Makers, Alley Cats Bluegrass Band and Broken Valley Roadshow.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22

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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