Mountain High 

It's spring. Lady Slippers are appearing on hillsides. Cats are staring at squirrels from the safety of the front porch. And the bears are up and about. That's great about the bears and all. Unless you're a 'Snaker who consistently leaves trash outdoors or owns an apple tree with a few rotten cores mingling among the blades of revitalized grass. Rather than pooh-pooh the bears' arrival, we should celebrate it. After all, they were here first and they are still a powerful reminder of how amazing the wild world is. Imagine if you slept for a week, let alone if you slept for three months, and awoke to the smell of people-food wafting through the air. Even the garbage might smell gourmet at that point. To honor the power and spirit of the bear, the Great Bear Foundation holds an annual International Multicultural Bear Welcoming with events in Missoula, at the Kicking Horse Powwow and at Glacier Park. The foundation's goal is for people to coexist with bears: We learn to live with them rather than vice versa. One way to do that is to check out the Bear Foods Buffet and Rattlesnake Creek Walk. Attendees can join GBF president Chuck Jonkel on a walk along the creek, where he'll talk about the emerging spring bear foods. Afterward, a "bear foods buffet" of nettles, berries, elk, and fiddleheads is served while various speakers discuss the cultural and ecological roles of bears. Sounds like a beary good time.

The Great Bear Foundation's Bear Foods Buffet & Rattlesnake Creek Bear Walk takes place at the Greenough Park Picnic Shelter, Fri., May 4, at 5 PM. $20 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away. Visit greatbear.org for more info.

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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.

FRIDAY MAY 4

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.

SATURDAY MAY 5

Help support the 1846 Hudson's Bay Trading Post during the Fort Connah Open House Rendezvous, which encourages old-timey dress, camping and black powder action. Located 6 miles north of St. Ignatius at mile post 39. Call Scott at 381-0759 for more info.

Five Valleys Audubon would like you to greet the spring arrivals during their all-day foray to Brown's Lake. Waterfowl, cranes and curlews are scheduled for arrival. Meet at the UM Field House parking lot at 8 AM. For more info., call 549-5632.

Learn to hunt like a truffle pig at the Nine-Mile Spring Mushroom Workshop led by Garden City Fungi. Nine-Mile Community Center. 10 AM–2 PM. Call 626-5757 for more info.

The Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Group is holding the event Community Stewardship in Our Own Backyard, which teaches people the differences between intact and degraded habitat and how to improve things in general with a bit of planting action. Greenough Park Pavilion, 1629 Monroe. 10 AM–3 PM.

Become the local expert on all things Milltown at the Milltown State Park Bluff Tour. Catch the ASUM bus at the E. Broadway Park and Ride at 1 PM or at the Sha-Ron Fishing Access at 1:15 PM. Free.

SUNDAY MAY 6

Leave the vainglorius etymologies and bellocose verbiage behind and join 50,000 humans for Spokane's annual Bloomsday Run, 12K of mellow and one wicked hill. Starts at 8:40 AM (PST). Go to bloomsdayrun.org to register.

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 MAY 7

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.

WEDNESDAY MAY 9

Hunter's Education at Seeley Lake begins today from 6–9 PM for three nights, with a field course the morning of Sat., May 12. To register, go to fwp.mt.gov or call 542-5518.

THURSDAY MAY 10

Dudes, come get your climb on during Freestone Climbing's Dude's Night. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.

Always wondering who is doing all that wharbling or going "caw-caw-caw"? Head to the Ft. Missoula Native Plant Gardens and find out who the bastages are that make all that noise during the Beginning Bird Identification Party. Binocs provided. 5:30-7:30 PM. $5 suggested donation.

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