Mountain High 

Fact is, you don't know nothin' 'bout no Ekalaka, Montana. You don't know anything about a horse named Wildfire bucking out of chute number two during the Days of '85 Rodeo. Darn sure you don't know nothin' 'bout the house right next to Highway 7 covered in cats. It used to be a single-room schoolhouse when Willard was a town; now it's home to at least 127 cats and kittens. You probably don't know that B-52s cruise above a dirt road intersection called Mill Iron where the brothel and post office used to be, and that they drop invisible bombs on tanks that are made of plywood, adorned with painted scythes and red stars.

So if you don't know any of that, you probably are unaware of the spooky sandstone formations knows as Medicine Rocks. Unaware of the mud in the spring that will grip your tires and swallow a skidder if it isn't chained up. Of the rancher who built a celestial observatory out of pieces of a grain silo. Of the trapper who collects 8-tracks and lives in a triple-wide trailer that is stacked with so many alphabetized tapes that escape in the dark or a fire may be impossible. Of the black bear that hibernates under that trailer every winter.

All of this is real, and there's more, and it's nearer than Carter County. It's your responsibility to know this stuff. Seriously. This is your West. Your state. Your town. Your neighbors. Place matters. If it doesn't, I hear Phoenix is looking for a few more residents.

Rick Graetz will give you a talking-to at the Montana Natural History Center during his geography lecture This is Montana. 7 PM. $4 suggested donation for non–MNHC members.

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THURSDAY NOVEMBER 3

Get your little sponges down to the MNHC's miniNaturalists Pre-K Program so they can develop the necessary skills to cultivate a love of the outdoors. Kids ages 2–5 are welcome when accompanied by an adult. 10–11 AM. $1 for members, $3 for all others. montananaturalist.org.

You'll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center's Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 Student.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 4

Seek out winter birds during a flat two–mile stroll with the Five Valley Audubon Society at the Maclay Flat parking lot. Eagles, Clark's nutcracker and red crossbills among others will be flittering about. 10 AM. Free. Call Larry at 549–5632.

Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club's (formerly the Flathead Valley Over the Hill Gang) weekly meeting to talk about being awesome, past glories and upcoming activities. Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5

Winter is blowing and so are the savings at the S.O.S. swap. On Saturday bring in your gently used gear to sell from 9–5 PM. On Sunday come back and buy some new–to–you goodies from 10– 3 PM. Too easy. Big Sky High School. Call 541-2064.

We rock hard but rocks rock harder at the Geology 101 Workshop at Lone Pine State Park. The workshop will focus on Western Montana and all its splendor. 12–2 PM. $5. Call 755–2706 Ext. 2 to register.

Elk used to party with Ozzy, I heard. The Wild Life of Elk is a book by Donna Love and a kids' activity at the Montana Natural History Center that may dispel some of those unsavory rumors about the elk when she was an undergrad at Cornell. 2–3 PM. $1 for members, $3 for non–members.

To raise funds for Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center, a wilderness mentoring program, the fishing porn flick Connect will be shown at the O'Shaunessy Center in Whitefish. 7:30 PM. $10.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6

Winter is blowing and so are the savings at the S.O.S. swap. On Saturday bring in your gently used gear to sell from 9–5 PM. On Sunday come back and buy some new–to–you goodies from 10– 3 PM. Too easy. Big Sky High School. Call 541-2064.

Hoofin' it for Hunger is a 5K run/walk which benefits the Montana Food Bank Network and happens to start and finish there as well. 10 AM start time. $20 to register. mfbn.org.

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 9

Winter is a–coming and the Missoula Nordic Ski Club is having their annual meeting to get prepped for it. Let's talk potluck, ski swap, raffles and, of course, cross-country skiing. Stensrud Building. 6 PM. missoulanordic.org.

You don't no nothin' 'bout no Ekalaka, Montana, but you might after Rick Graetz's geography lecture This is Montana at the Montana Natural History Center. 7 PM. $4 suggested donation.

The Rocky Mountaineers host Sedron Jones, author of Peak Bagging Montana at the Trailhead. C'mon down and live vicariously. 7 PM. Free. rockymountaineers.com.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 10

Get your little sponges down to the MNHC's miniNaturalists Pre-K Program so they can develop the necessary skills to cultivate a love of the outdoors. Kids ages 2–5 are welcome when accompanied by an adult. 10–11 AM. $1 for members, $3 for all others. montananaturalist.org.

You'll be climbing up a wall at Freestone Climbing Center's Ladies Night each Thursday. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 Student.

Find out what gear you'll need when the pow–pow is the mow–mow at the big luau at REI's Backcountry Essentials clinic. 6:30 PM. Free.

Let's get our collective stoke on and check out Teton Gravity Research's latest offering, One For the Road. Roxy Theater. 7 and 9 PM. $10 adv./$12 door.

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