Mountain High 

Running can induce an almost religious experience for those tapping into the glorious “runner’s high.” If you can relate, transcend your earthly body this weekend at the Cedar Rapids Existentialist Cup Classic on August 7 at 8:53 a.m. Yes, Cedar Rapids is in Iowa, but the race isn’t, although existential runners willing to let go of traditional space/time constraints are encouraged to believe as they wish. This 4.2 mile jaunt meanders along the Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda, just 1.5 hours east of Missoula. Call the essence of Tim Saylor at 563-2859 to find out if the sum total of your prior actions will procure you a place on the podium.

A one-day Glacier National Park science conference will outline recent research projects for students, educators and the general public on August 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Lake McDonald Lodge Auditorium. Expect 20 free 20-minute presentations focused on topics such as bear research, fishery investigations and global climate change’s effect on the park’s landscape. Those interested in meeting the head honcho himself, Superintendent Mick Holm, should catch his lecture at 8:00 a.m. Refreshments are available during breaks, but plan on bringing or purchasing your lunch. Call park spokesperson Amy Vanderbilt at 888-7906 for more info.

Skiing can be tough on the body, even for willow-boned whippersnappers. In two decades as a skier/snowboarder, I’ve broken multiple bones and dislocated fingers, a knee and both shoulders. I’ve even knocked myself unconscious (twice) and exfoliated multiple blue/black toenails. And while I’m no extreme skier, it’s difficult to imagine this 33-year-old body still being a viable vessel for quality schussing a half-century from now. Perhaps aware of my impending dilemma, Big Mountain is offering free season passes to octogenarians looking to shred the freshy fresh. Meanwhile, those of us in the 79-and-under set looking for a season pass must drop an alarming $690 through Halloween, when the price jumps to $990.

Or up the ante by making a minimum $2,500 charitable donation to the Whitefish Community Foundation and you can receive the All-Season Patron Passport. For more information on this and other, uh, “deals,” call Big Mountain at 862-2900.

But if the pass price seems steeper than the mountain from here, you can finance your pass for up to 10 months through the Glacier Bank of Whitefish. Call the bank at 863-6300 for applications and information.

Thrifty lift-serviced types can score $25 turns at said mountain from Nov. 25 through Dec.19, and $20 tickets are available March 28 through April 10. While falling squarely in the “Watch for Hazards” season, this deal has occasionally yielded some of the best turns of the season with remarkably few out-of-staters clogging the bottlenecks.

The Lolo National Forest (329-3814) is hosting a series of free public programs, starting with Nature’s Supermarket: Nez Perce use of Plants and Trees, a presentation by Sandi McFarland on August 5 at 7 p.m. at Travelers’ Rest State Park. And on August 12 you can join Sandy Kratville and Susan Reel for “Lewis and Clark: seeing wildlife then and now” at Fort Fizzle Picnic Area, just west of Lolo on Highway 12. Be sure to bring a chair, refreshments and bug dope.

FWP bighorn sheep expert Mike Thompson will give a free presentation at the Soloman Fishing Access Site, six miles up Rock Creek, on August 6 at 7 p.m. Bring binoculars and lawn chairs to observe rams and ewes from a distance while Thompson discusses behaviors, habitat and management issues of this showcase animal. Or learn about elk breeding patterns and calf elk mortality from Jared Raithel, a UM master’s student, during a free presentation at the Salmon Lake State Park amphitheater on August 7 at 7:30 p.m. Call Jay Slocum at 542-5533 for more info on either of these programs.

Disc golfers looking for some friendly competition can hit the Blue Mountain Benefit Disc Golf Tournament at Blue Mountain on August 7. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and play starts shortly thereafter. There’s pro, amateur, masters and women’s categories, and all proceeds go toward improving the course. Call Brian Bjortomt at 880-4491 to make it so.

Join Mountain Bike Missoula (formerly LIMB), for an informational meeting on proposed changes to the Missoula trail system at the Crystal Theater on August 11. The Missoula Ranger District wants to add 39.5 miles and obliterate 16.5 miles of the 56 miles of non-system trails on their map. Also on the docket is a proposal to build a technical mountain biking area near Missoula, as well as completely banning cyclists from certain sections of trail. All cyclists are encouraged to attend as the upcoming decisions could significantly affect your Missoula-based mountain bike experience. View the proposal and other information at:

The New Rocky Mountaineers are taking the nine-mile round-trip hike up to Palisade Mountain on August 8, a route dotted with granite hoodoos that may appeal to climbers in the group. Call Dan Arbach at 360-9057 for more information.

Or go big on an August 9–10 crank up the 12,325’ Mount Teewinot in Teton National Park. According to trip leader Shannon Bolton (273-2826), “The route… has some interesting route finding and 4th- and low 5th-class climbing.”

Or you can join the Sierra Club on August 7 for a Great Burn day hike during which folks will recall Lewis and Clark’s crossing of the Bitterroots 200 years ago. Call 549-1142 for more info.

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