Mountain High 

This week, my dear friends and readers, your Comrade is heading for the West Coast on a serious recon mission. I’ll be sailing on the schooner Adventuress, a 100-foot wooden boat originally built for Arctic specimen collection in 1913. These days, the beautiful vessel serves Puget Sound as a floating outdoor school where students learn about the delicate ecology of the area.

And while I’m taking a “vacation” from the paper, 10 hours in a car packed with 13-year-olds ain’t exactly my notion of a respite from the trials and tribulations of the workaday life.

Ah, well.

In my absence, I’ve collaborated closely with state, local and private organizations to ensure that you’re left with plenty to do. To whit:

Mario Locatelli is a man of the mountains, which will become abundantly clear when you attend his presentation “A Lifetime of Adventures in the Bitterroot Mountains” on Thu., May 17, at 7 PM at the Lolo Community Center. After the slide show and talk, stick around for a community discussion intended to organize opposition to Tom Maclay’s proposed ski hill on Lolo Peak. Call 549-1142.

In that vein of long-lived outdoor pursuits, here’s an offering with a 36-year history: the Missoulians on Bicycles present the 37th annual Tour of the Swan River Valley (TOSRV) bike ride on Sat., May 19 and Sun., May 20. The route is more of a ride than a race, and two mileage options—188 or 254 miles—make this a fun and flexible event. Registration begins Fri., May 18, at 6 PM at UM’s Miller Hall, and continues at 6 AM on Sat., May 19. Call 543-4889.

Another option to move through time and space with a crowd is the Evaro Mountain Challenge at 9:30 AM on Sat., May 19, at Mile 7 on Highway 93 North. You’ll raise money for the Evaro Community Center whether you run or racewalk the 5 or 10K course, and there’s an incentive for early registration, so call 726-3695.

Inspect the results of your taxpayer money at work when you meet up with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologist Ladd Knotek at the south end of the Rattlesnake trailhead parking lot for a Bull Trout Restoration Tour at 10 AM on Sat., May 19. Bring your friends, bring your enemies, but to bring fishing gear would be in extremely poor taste.

For a more active role in restoration, get down to Darby’s Bud & Shirley’s Motel by 10 AM on Sat., May 19, for a chance to help spruce up the Slate Creek Campground and get it ready for the upcoming season. Tools and supplies will be provided, all you’ve got to do is call 381-2951. Actually, all you really need to do is show up.

The first six people to sign up for this next event are the lucky ones, as numbers seven through infinity will be turned away: the Rocky Mountaineers leave on a three-day trip to Glacier Park’s Gunsight Mountain on Sat., May 19. This one’s not for beginning skiers/backcountry skiers, so know your limits, and contact Jim at

On Sat., May 19, take a journey up to Flathead Lake and demo all kinds of watercraft when the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks sponsors the Flathead Sea Kayak Symposium at Wayfarer’s State Park just south of Bigfork. Details on this event remain quite mysterious, so give a call to FWP at

If you missed out on a shot at Gunsight Mountain, don’t fret—there’s plenty of room on the Rocky Mountaineers’ Sun., May 20, trip to Goat Mountain in the Bitterroot. The six-mile hike will lead you to the not-so-high heights of 6,000 feet, and sprinters and leisurely saunterers alike will enjoy the company of the Bitterroot’s favorite wildman, Mario Locatelli, who will regale attendees with his intimate knowledge of the mountain’s every nook and cranny. Call 721-4686 for meeting time and carpool info.

A couple of days later, fans of native plants and the notion that people can restore anything they set their minds to will find a suitable outlet when the Montana Native Plant Society hosts Dyers Woad Pull #1 at 6:30 PM on Tue., May 22 at the Mount Sentinel trailhead. As you pluck the sturdy invasive from the earth, you’ll earn the Society $10 per hour and you can feel good about the fact that you’ll be helping them control the plants without herbicides. Call 243-6642.

And in a final nod to ski season, here’s a way you can stay involved: it’s time for you to vote in the final round of Moonlight Basin’s Shoot the Moon Photography Contest, which is offering $17,000 in prize money to winning shutterbugs. Visit by Wed., May 23, for a chance to make, or break, someone’s hopes and dreams.

Of course, you are free to simply amble about the hills and hollers of our incredible bioregion in my absence. In fact, I’d encourage that kind of behavior, for as we all know, a random and erratic populace is much more difficult to subjugate and grind up into kibble.
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