Mountain High 

No matter what your age, you're never too old to get intimate with wet exits, strokes and hip snaps. Think I'm talking about a bunch of arcane sex positions? Well buddy, get your mind out of the gutter and your body into some water, 'cause I'm talking about the glorious aqua-based sport of kayaking. I bring this up because this week, you can rock some slick peel-outs when the Zoo Town Surfers offers its Kayaking Clinic with Missoula's Best Kayakers, which meets from 9 AM–5 PM on both Sat., June 26, and Sun., June 27, starting Sat. at Frenchtown Pond. Here's what you'll get: A complete rundown of kayaking that includes flat-water basics, as well as instruction on strokes/braces and T-rescues, along with a practice session covering boat control, ferrying, and eddy turns. You'll also soak up info on river-running concepts and rolling your kayak, and the clinic culminates in an afternoon jaunt down a stretch of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. The class costs $200, but the feeling of river water rushing all up in your grill ought to be well worth the price of admission. Call Jason at 546-0370 to register and for more info.

And now, we move back a few days. On Thu., June 24, get your moppet ready to spend a night under the stars by signing them up for the National Wildlife Federation/ iMssoula Children and Nature Network's "Family Campout at Traveler's Rest State Park," which begins Sat., June 26, at 2 PM at the park, half-a-mile east of Lolo on Hwy. 12. It runs through 11 AM Sun., June 27, and features camping, food, and a wealth of outdoors merriment including fly casting, fish ID and wildlife track casting. The campout is free, but you must RSVP on Thu., June 24 by 5 PM. So call Ian quick at 396-9562 to reserve your spot.

click to enlarge CATHRINE L. WALTERS

You could also satiate your urge to hang out with dead wood on Sat., June 26, when the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club presents the service outing "Aspen Restoration in Sawmill Gulch," which begins at 8 AM on the main Rattlesnake Trailhead with a hearty breakfast of muffins and coffee. After refreshments, prepare to pull dead trees into a dying aspen stand, in order to make sure the Forest Service has plenty of kindling to fuel the stand's restoration burn, which ought to occur sometime in the fall or spring. Free, but liability signatures are required. Also, be sure to wear pants, a long sleeve T-shirt, good shoes, glasses and gloves. Call Bert at 542-7645 with your burning questions.

Let those freshly groomed biking legs—or un-groomed if you're a beast like me—feel the cool breeze on Sat., June 26, during Whitefish Mountain Resort's Early Bird Cross-Country Mountain Bike Race, a 4 to 5-mile race that begins with registration at 8 AM at the events office in the upper village of the resort. Wheels promptly hit the dirt at 9:30 AM with expert bikers getting muddy first, followed by sport riders and beginners. $45 per person. Visit calendar_of_events.php for a registration form and call 862-2900.

Later on Sat., June 26, take a survey of the 'root with a guided hike followed by a history lesson injection during the Bitterroot National Forest's Surveyor Moon presentation at Charles Waters Campground, which begins with the hike at 6:30 PM at the campground, 4.5 miles southwest of Florence. The outing is followed by a 7:30 PM presentation on the history of surveying in the Bitterroot Valley. Free. Call 363-7100.

Rise with the birds and perhaps a bowl of curds on Sun., June 27, so you can join the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club during its Spring Wildflower Hike to Packer Meadow/Lolo Pass, which begins at a TBA meeting time and place. This eight-mile hike ought to intoxicate you with wildflower appreciation as you witness what could be purple Camas blooms under the guidance of horticulturalist Adrienne Hopkins. Free, but you must sign a liability release and bring your own lunch/water. RSVP with Adrienne by calling 543-3755 or by e-mailing John at

All XX chromosome holders are hereby invited to bust a gnarly move with their bikes when the Montana Dirt Girls meet Tue., June 29, at 6 PM at the Lincoln Hills trailhead for one of its last native plant flower rides up Mount Jumbo. Free, but ladies only, please. Visit for upcoming rides.

On Wed., June 30, amateur botanists get leafy when the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society hosts a fieldtrip to the Blackfoot Native Plant Nursery in Potomac, which begins with a carpool meet up at 6 PM at the northwest corner of UM's Adams Center's parking lot. Once you're in Potomac, expect a delightful scene of some 150 species of native plants, along with a walk through a display garden. Free. Call Kathy at 244-5800.

Finally, I'll finish off with a heads up on something coming up next week for all you restoration freaks and geeks: UM's Wilderness Institute kicks off its series of weed monitoring trips up in the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area on Fri., July 2, with a trip to Bluebird Basin that runs until Mon., July 5. As soon as you reach the pristine scene, you'll map/monitor weeds, take inventory of campsites, roads and trails, as well as document the wild creatures you see. You'll also get some schooling on invasive species and native plants, as well as the lowdown on the history and wildlife of the area. Being wise in the ways of the backcountry is also helpful, but certainly not required. Visit to sign up and for more info, or call 243-5361.

Until then, go chug an Eddy Out Pale Ale and show me your best eddy hop. Maybe not in that order.

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