Mountain High 

I got out of town last weekend for a couple of days in the countryside. Normally, it’s not something I would be talking about in too much depth here, but most organized outdoor recreation has been cancelled in honor of Tuesday’s Independence Day celebrations. So there’s space for me to tell you what I learned.

Here it is: the fish have ears. Not literally, of course, and not even really proverbially, since what I’m saying has more to do with them reading print than listening to anything. Either way, it seems like the trout of Upper Camas Lake read me calling them and their backcountry cousins “naïve” some time ago and so treated me to a long spell of fishlessness during my trip to the mountains.

Getting shut out was more than an injury to my pride, which is pretty well nonexistent when it comes to fishing; it was also an insult to my stomach. Having budgeted to eat what I caught, I brought about half as much food as I would have thought adequate to sustain me. Turns out I can live on much less than I thought, and I didn’t even resort to frying up the flour I brought for breading in order to make it. More importantly, I learned that fish can be vengeful little creatures—and I’m going to have to plot my next approach with a little more care and attention to deception. Or maybe I should try thinking about flattery.

While I’m trying to decide, here’s a couple of fun outdoor events for you to think about.

Many people will be enjoying a lengthened weekend because of Tuesday’s holiday. If you’re one of them, maybe you’d like to give something back to the public lands you love by doing some trail maintenance. It’s a good excuse to get out and there’s no reason you couldn’t stay for some prolonged relaxation in the outdoors. If my little speech about the intersection of civic virtue and outdoor recreation has you just itching to go be the change you want to see in the world, try joining the Bob Marshall Foundation on Saturday, July 1, for a day trip to Grant Ridge in the Great Bear Wilderness. Call 863-5411 to get your marching orders.

Here’s a way to spend a day: run 10 kilometers, canoe eight miles, road bike 27 miles, mountain bike eight miles, kayak three miles and run another five kilometers. Sound like fun? If you’ve got Saturday, July 8, free you can have it all at The Glacier Challenge—a 55-mile race in and around Whitefish that offers a little something to exhaust every muscle in your body. And if you would prefer to have some teammates to help, you can go that route as well. But either way, you need to register by Friday, June 30. So call 250-9899 to get signed up.

If riding 27 miles on the road sounds like too much for you, the people who ride 2,700 miles probably seem like freakin’ aliens. Well, they’re not; they’re people who aren’t that different from you, at least in the sense that they’re not superhuman or anything. You might still not believe me. I know. So prove it to yourself when the Adventure Cycling Association throws a bash in Kiwanis Park from 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Friday, June 30, in honor of 30 years of adventure cycling. The party costs $35 per person or $20 for little people ages 12 and under. There will be many adventure cyclists in attendance, all of them un-enhanced homo sapiens and therefore examples of what you could be if you spent less time reading about outdoor recreation and more time recreating.

Cutting brush doesn’t exactly count as recreation but it is something people do in the outdoors. And so you might want to know that no more permits for outdoor burning will be issued come Saturday, July 1, at least until the summer fire danger passes. So get that slash roasted up before the weekend and remember that you still need to ask the local fire department’s permission to set the fires.

While we’re on the subject of fire, I might as well note that fireworks are a great way to start them, so you might want to watch yourself and anyone you see brandishing explosives over the Fourth of July weekend. I probably didn’t need to remind you of that but I’ve been worried that the nag content of this column’s been a little low lately.

Thank God I had a chance to take care of that.

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