Mountain High 

I ran the inaugural Missoula Marathon. So did a lot of other people. In fact, over a half-million folks complete marathons each year in the U.S. You know what, though? It's still a big deal to finish. For me, the best part of the marathon wasn't the sense of accomplishment at the finish line, the beer at Red's, the blood in my urine after the beer; instead, it was not running again for two years. Not even once. Not down the steps. Not after the 10 dollars that blew out of my hand during a fishing trip. Cripes, I barely even walked anywhere. I returned to my beloved bicycle. It has gears; I do not. Yet, I am fascinated by the ultra-marathoners. Jealous, really. People who have toenails removed by doctors. People who say stuff like, "I'm more impressed by folks who take five hours to run a marathon. That's tougher than running it in two-and-a-half hours." Condescension never sounded so good. But there they are. Completing Colorado's Leadville 100 in 16 and 18 hours (that's 100 miles). If this sort of thing intrigues you, or if you are one these "runners," then the documentary film Unbreakable: The Western States 100 is for you. In the documentary, four undefeated ultra-marathoners compete against one another to see who is the best on that day. The screening is a fundraiser for the Five Valleys Land Trust, the Missoula-based group that facilitates conservation easements and has helped protect more than 64,000 acres of open space, wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in the 40 years of its existence. Three of the four runners featured in the film will be in attendance at the fundraiser including, Geoff Roes, Hal Koerner and Anton Krupicka. Much like marathons, this film will either frighten you into exercise or confirm what you already think about running and runners.

The Five Valleys Land Trust fundraiser screening of Unbreakable: The Western States 100 takes place at the Wilma Theatre on Sun., April 29, at 6 PM. $13/$10 advance at Runner's Edge.

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THURSDAY APRIL 26

Get ready for camping with the lady at REI's Backpacking Basics, where you can learn the minimum you need to have what is essentially a cruddy time. 3275 N. Reserve. 6:30–8 PM. Free.

This week's Ninemile Wildlife Workgroup Lecture Series topic is Creek Restoration in the Ninemile Valley and is presented by Trout Unlimited's Heather Whitely. 701 Railroad, Alberton. 7 PM. Free.

FRIDAY APRIL 27

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.

Get back in shape and learn something new at Freestone Climbing Gym's Intro. to Bouldering course, which introduces basic techniques, safety stuff, ethics and more. Class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and two weeks of unlimited climbing. 935 Toole. 7–8:30 PM. $40.

SUNDAY APRIL 29

See what's right in front of you during the Five Valley Audubon Kim Williams Trail Hike, where bird peepers can look for warblers and osprey. Meet at the M trail parking lot. 10-noon. Free.

Get back in shape and learn something new at Freestone Climbing Gym's Intro. to Bouldering course, which introduces basic techniques, safety stuff, ethics and more. Class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and two weeks of unlimited climbing. 935 Toole. Noon–1:30 PM. $40.

MONDAY APRIL 30

At Slacker Mondays, from 6 PM until close, slackline fans can come to Freestone Climbing Center at 935 Toole Ave. to test their balance. $13/$10 for students. Visit freestoneclimbing.com.

TUESDAY MAY 1

Join the good eggs from the Davidson Honors College for UM Global Grizzlies Night at REI. The group disperses aid to countries in need. This month they begin their community gear drive to distribute goodies to those in need throughout the world. 3275 Reserve. 6:30–8 PM.

THURSDAY MAY 3

Drop the controller and check out this month's theme at the Montana Natural History Center's miniNaturalists Pre-K Program. This month's theme is Osprey. Pliny the Elder would approve. 120 Hickory St. 10–11 AM. $3/$1 for members. montananaturalist.org.

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

Before you get all tuned up, Mr. Pastorious, you should know that the Montana Native Plant Society's event Mt. Sentinel Budburst has nothing to do with anything but discovering native plants. Meet on the south side of campus, at the corner of Beckwith and Madeline, at the picnic table east of the Forest Service lab. 6:30 PM. Free.

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