Mountain High 

Perhaps you’ve heard about Missoula’s new public water park, Splash Montana. If, like me, you find the idea of shooting through plastic tubes on a stream of water enchanting, you’ve probably been there already. Unless, that is, you’re also like me in not wanting to share the slides with children.

Perhaps I’m just childish. Or maybe it really is undignified to be competing with kids for scarce and precious aquatic resources. Whatever my problem, from 6 to 8:30 PM on Monday, Aug. 28, I will have no reason not to head to Adult Night at Splash Montana, during which the waters will be restricted to people 18 and older.

Actually, I will have a reason not to go, but it has nothing to do with outdoor recreation in Western Montana, so you probably wouldn’t be interested. Still, I think Adult Night is a brilliant idea. In fact, the whole notion has got me wondering if there’s some way to fuse the event with MAM’s Artini Thursday sometime. Pour some martinis down those chutes. Alternately, the museum folks could just set up a Slip ‘N Slide on Pine Street—you know, aquatic recreation as art or something.

Either way, I’m sure it would require some cleanup, like most things do. Teller Wildlife Refuge is no exception to that rule: humans leave traces, and it’s best if we try not to. Since the Refuge gets a fair amount of human use, some housekeeping is in order. To help out, get down to Teller Wildlife Refuge for a volunteer workday taking place from 7 to 11 AM on Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Refuge, which is located just outside Corvallis. In exchange for four hours of your labor, you’ll receive a whole mess of gratitude, and if that’s not enough, you greedy little grubber, you can have a free lunch too. Actually, they’ll be much nicer about the lunch than I was. Hear for yourself by calling 961-3507 to get more information.

I bet you’re wondering about the traditional sorts of back-to-nature hoo-haw that usually shows up in this space by this point. Well, it seems like most people are using this coming weekend to take a deep breath and wait for Labor Day. Or maybe it has something to do with it being the weekend before school starts in a college town. It doesn’t really matter; what I know is that there aren’t many public-domain excursions being planned as far as I can tell. There are exceptions, of course, and you’ll find them in the next few paragraphs.

Case in point, the Great Burn Study Group heads out for one last regularly scheduled look at the wide stretch of wildlands that they’ve chosen to turn their attention and affection toward when they head to Meadow Creek near Rawhide, Idaho, from Friday, Aug. 25, to Sunday, Aug. 27. If you haven’t been yet and want to go now, you best get in on this trip, and you can do that by calling 240-9901.

The Rocky Mountaineers come through with two trips this weekend, one for the day-trippers and another for the overnighters, so if you’ve got to get out, you’ve some old stalwarts on whom to rely. A climb up Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, by way of a route to be determined by participants, is being planned for Saturday, Aug. 26. If you want in on the planning or just the hiking, call 721-3790.

If you’re up for hauling some gear and sleeping under the stars, you can get away to the West Cabinets near Scotchman Peaks on Saturday, Aug. 26, and Sunday, Aug. 27. The trip starts with about four and a half miles of on-trail hiking to Little Spar Lake, where the camping will be sweet and silent, and continues with about three miles of bushwhacking to a saddle above the lake where some ridgeline hiking will be on the agenda. If that just sounded like a heck of a good way to pass some time, give a call to 721-4686 for the departure details.

And it’s not like I need to remind you (but I’m going to anyway): fire season isn’t going anywhere just yet. That means most of Western Montana is under Stage II fire restrictions with some hoot-owl restrictions that should keep you off Missoula city lands during the afternoons as well. Be sure to keep the sparks under control when you’re out and about. The last thing I want to find when I come back is the whole place burned to the ground.

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