Mountain High 

In an effort to equip those affected by the recent bad weather in Louisiana and Mississippi for pedal-powered transportation, the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Free Cycles are planning the Tour de Montana—a one-day, 130-mile ride from Missoula to Butte that aims to raise money for donations of bike tools to Gulf Coast organizations interested in replicating Free Cycle’s successful bike salvage model in a place where transportation is needed and spare parts are likely to abound.

For the Tour de Montana to achieve its goal, it needs riders and pledges of support. The Sat., Oct 8, ride will include three food and water stops along the route as well as dinner in Butte and transportation back to Missoula. For more information on joining the ride, or if you’d just like to throw some support in the direction of the riders, call organizer “Bicycle” Bob Giordano at 880-6834 or e-mail him at Riders will need to contribute a $20 entry fee and raise $80 in pledges. Watch here for updates.

Some good training for the trip to Butte could be had by biking over Lolo Pass to the Wilderness Gateway on the shores of the Lochsa River. Do it this weekend and there are likely to be some people waiting for you when you arrive. That’s because Friday, Sept. 23, through Sunday, Sept. 25, is the Wild Rockies Rendezvous, a gathering of citizen and environmental activists discussing issues related to wilderness protection and forest restoration. They’ll probably be hiking and soaking and just generally enjoying themselves as well. Call 542-7343 for more information.

There must be something in the drinking water that’s got people thinking about celebrating riverside this weekend. If you can’t make it to the Rendezvous, the Friends of Two Rivers invite Missoula County residents to Community Day at the Confluence from noon to 5 PM on Sunday, Sept. 25. The event, which features food, music and a celebration of the future of the Milltown area, takes place at the Milltown Dam picnic area. Getting the EPA to commit to a plan for the removal of the Milltown Dam and a restoration of the Clark Fork was a terrific triumph for public input. Community Day at the Confluence is just another chance to revel in that victory while dreaming of what the area can be once restoration work is complete.

As it happens, Community Day at the Confluence—aimed at reveling in the pleasures of public ownership of one particular waterway—happens just one day after Glacier National Park celebrates national Public Lands Day by not charging you for access to public lands on Saturday, Sept. 24. Just so you don’t totally empty your wallet before arriving, be aware that only the entrance fee will be waived; other fees, like camping fees, will remain in effect.

Saturday, Sept. 24, is also the day The Glacier Institute sponsors a one-day course titled “Autumn in Glacier” that promises the opportunity to learn about the changes that the beginning of autumn brings to Glacier National Park. During a strenuous eight-mile hike, you’ll learn from both an instructor with 25 years of experience in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem and from first-person observation of flora and fauna along Firebrand Pass trail. Call 755-1211.

If you’d rather get your learnin’ in on the water, TGI’s Wednesday, Sept. 28, “Flathead Lake and Wildhorse Island Natural History by Sea Kayak” course is probably more your style. Course instruction will focus on the geological activity that created the Flathead Valley, the history and legends of Wildhorse Island and some basics of sea kayaking itself. Call 755-1211.

There are also a couple hiking trips this weekend to test your mettle and broaden your horizons. On Saturday, Sept. 24, the New Rocky Mountaineers have a plenty burly excursion planned when they head to Mount Calowahcan in the Mission Mountains. There will be about 5,500 feet of vertical gain over seven miles of trail, and reaching the north summit will require some exposed climbing with ropes. If you’ve got the goods, call 549-4769 and join up.

Within sight of Missoula, the Bitterroot-Mission Group of the Sierra Club sponsors a hike with local scientists in the Carlton Ridge Research Natural Area on Sunday, Sept. 25. The Carlton Ridge RNA, located in the heart of the Lolo Creek Roadless Area, was set aside in order to protect a unique forest community featuring hybrids of western and alpine larch. The hike to the RNA covers four rigorous miles and promises a glimpse of some mighty unusual trees. Call 549-1142.

Finally, if you’ve got a gun for hunting or for any other reason and it’s unsecured, you ought to swing by the Sportsman’s Warehouse, 2323 N. Reserve St., from noon to 6 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 27, or Wednesday, Sept. 28, and get a free gunlock courtesy of Project ChildSafe.

I gotta get out there and prepare for the ride to Butte. Got anything you’re training for? Let me know.

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