Mountain High 

There’s nothing like combining your bliss and your bill-paying. A couple of people who manage to do that in the outdoors are coming through town this week and you’d do well to stop in and listen.

First, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz visits the University Center Theater on the UM campus at 7 PM on Saturday, May 20, to talk about his three decades of wandering the wildlands with a guitar. See the Spotlight in this issue for more on him. I want to get on to mentioning the other visitor, Florian Schulz, a photographer who’s behind the images in Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam, a beautifully illustrated book about creating a seamless ecosystem for the health of the wildlife within that includes hundreds of photos, including the one reproduced here, which was taken in Yellowstone. Florian Schulz speaks about his work in the Yellowstone-to-Yukon region during a talk, sure to feature many stunning slides, with wildlife biologist Douglas Chadwick at 7 PM on Sunday, May 21, at the University Center Theater on the UM campus.

But, hey, enjoying the outdoors isn’t just an indoor sport. We’ve got hiking and biking to get to.

Let’s begin with the biking. The Tour de Montana turns three years old with an 80-mile trip to Alberton and back this Saturday, May 20, departing from Free Cycles, 732 S. 1st St., at 10 AM. The trip’s main purpose is recreation but, of course, a little policy will get slipped in as Bicycle Bob reminds one and all how pedal power can change lives—or lifestyles, anyway—and everyone keeps an eye peeled for spots on the road that could use better shoulders or other improvements to the benefit of bicycle travellers. Call 880-6834 if you’re interested or need a kick in the butt to get that way.

There are no kicks in the butt needed to get Missoulians on Bicycles onto the roads this time of year. As usual, they’ve planned two day-trips this weekend: on Saturday, May 20, MOBsters point north to the east shore of Flathead Lake for a Polson-to-Bigfork ride, while on Sunday, May 21, they head south to the best left turn in Montana for an 84-mile ride from Sula to Wisdom and back. Call 543-5270 for a piece of the Flathead and 544-5270 for a pole position on the Big Hole run. Also, check out MOB’s website——for information on the overnight trips they’ve got scheduled for most weekends, which trips require reservations made far out ahead of what this column can cover.

I’ve been covering the Rocky Mountaineers like it’s my job, which it is. So I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that they offer easy, medium and difficult hikes this weekend. For a leisurely stroll through the woods, consider joining the Crazy Canyon excursion on Saturday, May 20, by calling 543-6508. Or turn it up a notch by calling 542-1966 to get in with the contingent heading to Stuart Peak from the Rattlesnake trailhead on the same day, Saturday, May 20. Also scheduled for May 20, but possibly sliding to the 21st, is a snow climb up the north side of the Como Peaks in the Bitterroot Range for those who are well-conditioned and acclimated to ice axes and rope climbing. Call 240-7612 if you’re up for it.

There are folks in Evaro who’ve been getting up their mountain every spring for 20 years now, and that’s just during the Evaro Mountain Challenge, which takes place Saturday, May 20. Registration is from 8:30 to 9:45 AM at mile marker 7 on Highway 93 in Evaro, and the Challenge offers 5K and 10K walks and runs up the big hill, as well as a good deal of timeless camaraderie. Call 726-3695 to hear the tales of ascents past.

And there are trails future to consider as well. As far as those are concerned, this spring and summer the Bitterroot National Forest sponsors a series of activities designed to entice you into the unexplored called “Be Active Bitterroot.” They vary in intensity and duration, but all start from your favorite Bitterroot Valley trailheads and promise outdoor excursions on public lands. Like, for instance, the one scheduled for Saturday, May 20, from 10 AM to noon when botanist Linda Pietarinen leads an easy “Weeds to Wildflowers” walk along 2.5 miles of trail connected with the Bass Lake Day Use area. Call 363-7172 for more information about this walk and to get yourself a booklet outlining the whole list of summer fun the forest service has in store.

Enough hiking, on to miscellany, which this week includes boating and birding.

On the latter score, I’ll remind you that “vireo” is not a new model of Pontiac, though you could be excused for thinking so if you just learned the word. There will be no excuses available, however, after you bird with the Five Valleys Audubon Society on Saturday, May 20, when they head to Deer Creek, Crystal Creek and Turah in search of warblers and vireos. Call 549-5632 for carpool information.

Complimentary carpooling is the theme of a float on Wednesday, May 24, when Paddle MT takes care of the shuttle for a boating trip from Bonner to Missoula during this year’s initial Wednesday Night Float. Call 251-0040 to get on the shuttle, which departs from the Canoe Rack at 6 PM sharp; it’s free with your own equipment or $5 to use theirs—a heck of a deal either way.

Why don’t you send me the sweetest deal you’ve cooked up this spring?

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