Mountain High 

For many of you, your days of flowing beer bongs, cramming for exams until 4 AM and sleeping in until 1 PM on the weekdays are over. Welcome to real life college grads—it only gets worse. Just kidding...sort of. But now that you're done with academia, I'm sure plenty of you are frantically searching for work, preferably in the rugged embrace of the outdoors. Well, if you're looking for some extra cash and have a hankering to do some backcountry field work this summer, here's an option: The Great Burn Study Group is looking for two hard-working individuals to join its field crew from mid-June through August. Your duties will involve implementing a pest management strategy that includes applications of herbicides, biological control releases, as well as pulling weeds in wild country. Pay is competitive, dependent on experience, and you can get trained if need be. But they do ask that you show up with a sense of humor. Send your goods (resume, references and cover letter) to Beverly Dupree at And do it quick, as I'm sure competition is stiff, especially in this economy.

And with that nugget of nature-related employment info out of the way, we move on to some Gaia-inspired action and satisfaction beginning with a reminder to all you birders to register by Thu., May 27, for the Lollapalooza of avian appreciation known as the Montana Audubon Society's Wings Across the Big Sky festival. The festival features a wealth of speakers and outings and occurs Fri., June 4–Sun., June 6, at Missoula's Holiday Inn–Downtown at the Park, 200 S. Pattee St. Prices to attend vary from $75 for both days to $55 for Sat. only, so visit to download a brochure and for a complete schedule. Call 443-3949.

On Fri., May 28, get into a paddling frenzy during the Deep Bay Kayak and Fitness Symposium, which begins at 4 PM and runs each day through Mon., May 31, at the Deep Bay Resort in Lakeside. It offers you the chance to enroll in sea kayak basics to advance skills courses to cover things like capsize recoveries and Eskimo rolling, as well as a slew of fitness and yoga workshops. E-mail for pricing or call 862-9010.

click to enlarge CHAD HARDER

Or you could get a rush from witnessing spectacular waterfalls and wondrous wildflowers Sat., May 29, during a moderate hike up Bass Creek Canyon with the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club, which begins at a TBA meet up time. Free, but it's limited to 15 participants and you music sign a liability release. RSVP for specifics with Mary by e-mailing her at or by calling 493-1139.

Then again, why not show the Mission Mountain range who's boss on Sat., May 29, when you join the Rocky Mountaineers for an overnight climb up McDonald Peak. Free. Contact trip leader Forest Dean at 240-7612 or at to finalize a departure time. Also, be sure you have a Salish Kootenai rec permit, and bring your trusty ice ax, crampons, harness, belay device, sleeping bag, tent and helmet. Visit

Those in the Flathead get to scope out their feathered friends Sat., May 29, when the Flathead Audubon Society presents a morning of birding in Glacier National Park, which starts fresh at 7 AM with a meeting at the Alberta Visitor Center in West Glacier. Once there, you'll stroll along McDonald Creek to listen and look for neo-tropical avians, and you'll make stops in places like the Fish Creek Campground to scan for those elusive warblers and vireos. Free, but a Glacier National Park entrance fee or park pass is required. Give Steve a ring at 892-7406 to RSVP.

Your other chance to be a James Bond-like birding sleuth occurs in Missoula on Sat., May 29, when the Five Valleys Audubon Society leads a hike to Spring Gulch in the Rattlesnake, which begins at 8 AM at the Rattlesnake Trailhead. Free. Expect to have your senses flooded with wood warblers, western tanager, thrushes and other hardcore denizens of the forest during this three to four mile jaunt. Call Larry Weeks at 549-5632 and visit

If you don't mind burning gas to burn calories on Sat., May 29, drive east to Bozeman's Run for the Rivers race, which begins with the 10k race at 9 AM. The 5k follows at 9:15, and a kids run occurs at 9:30 AM. $30 day-of/$25 advance/$5 kids' fun run. Visit for a registration form and a map of the course.

You can also hail the gods of summer by celebrating the intersection of art and wildlife on Sat., May 29, during Seeley Lake's 18th annual Loon and Fish Festival, which begins at 10 AM at Seeley Lake Elementary School, 200 School Lane. Free to attend. A host of family-friendly and outdoor-themed activities follow including an art show/sale, a screening of the film The World of K.D. Swan at 11:30 AM, along with discussions on fly fishing, bears and Glacier National Park. The fest keeps chugging throughout Sat. and begins again at 10 AM Sun., May 30, with brunch, followed by a wildflower hike, and more films and speakers than you can shake a fish at. Visit for a complete schedule of events, and call Carol at 677-6156.

Once the workweek slaps you upside your head, spend Tue., June 1, pulling up noxious weeds in order to help raise money for the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society during its Dyers Woad Pull 2, which begins with a meet up at 6:30 PM at the Mount Sentinel Trailhead. Free to participate. Wear sturdy shoes, bring rain gear and prepare to pull like a champ. Call Marilyn at 243-6642 and visit

Now go get to work, slackers!

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