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Mountain High



Flathead Lake is the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi, and paddlers have long known that there is no better way to find the hidden beaches of rarely-visited islands than from the cockpit of a sea kayak. These stable, efficient and high-capacity craft require little training, and once you’ve got the basic strokes the rest comes easy.

So if you’ve got a few strokes beneath your belt, consider joining Silver Moon Kayak Company for a three-day session with an emphasis on safety awareness and paddling skills. The June 22, 26 and 27 class will be taught by American Canoe Association-certified instructors, with two days of the course taking place on Montana’s most popular lake. Call 752-3794 to register.

The Montana Natural History Center (MNHC) will host its Summer Science Camp FOR GIRLS ONLY June 21–25, and for $135/$185 (members/non-members),11–14-year-old girls will have a chance to participate in an “eco-mystery.” Every good mystery needs a detective, and campers will spend the five days solving the eco-mysteries that compromise our water, soil, weather and animal populations. Hypotheses will be offered, tests will be conducted and the young grrrrrrls will gain insight into the world they will soon inherit— sometime like the day after tomorrow. Space is slim, so science-savvy sisters seeking summer sleuthing situations should sign up at, or call 327-0405 for more beta.

The MNHC will also team up with the Western Montana Astronomical Association on Saturday, June 19, at 10 p.m. After the presentation, astronomical voyeurs will turn their glass to the sky to discuss the constellations visible from Missoula. Anyone with an interest in the night sky is invited, and $2 donations are accepted. Call 543-4448 for more info.

The intrepid Gerald Olbu will lead a posse of New Rocky Mountaineers and friends up, up, up the Northwest Couloir of Warren Peak in the Pintler Mountains near Georgetown Lake on Sunday, June 20. Count on five miles of quick trail cruising on the approach, followed by a steep assault up the 1,000’ snowbound couloir. Ice axes and footwear capable of kicking steps into hard snow are required for the journey, and don’t forget your birthday suit, as the route passes a plethora of beckoning-but-frigid lakes—just the ticket to finish off the epic in style. Call Olbu at 549-4769 to get in the loop.

Calling all road runners! Pavement junkies can get in a 1-mile, a 5K and a 10K on Saturday, June 19, as part of the 2004 Bitterroot Charity Run in Hamilton. Previously known as the YMCA Fun Run, this fundraiser will donate profits to support a Bitterroot Aquatic Center. Call Linda Fike (363-2570), and run, Forrest, run!

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is hosting another summer interpretive series at various locations around the state. On June 18, join Vickie Edwards for some bare facts on the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project at the Harper’s Lake Fishing Access just north of the Clearwater Junction. Or on Sunday, June 19, consider tuning into the wise words of “park interpretive specialists” at Fort Owen as part of “Western Heritage Days.” The discussion will focus on the history of the Bitterroot Valley and particularly the history of the Fort—it’s the first permanent settlement of Euros in the Big Sky State, you know. Call Jay Slocum at 542-5533 for more information.

Bird and animal lovers have a chance to turn their curiosity into volunteerism as the Audubon Society monitors the life and times of cavity-nesting birds in areas of the Bitterroot National Forest burnt in the massive fires of 2000. All with an interest in the Bitterroot’s plants and wildlife are invited to this large-scale survey of the forest’s cavity nesters. Whether you’ve got a few days, a few weeks or the entire summer, volunteers will spend 5–7 hours per day hiking along roads and off-trail, looking for nests, and recording relevant data. All skill levels are welcome, so call the Audubon Society at 777-0780 and get a bird’s-eye view of avian recovery in a local, post-fire zone.

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