Mountain High

| July 27, 2006

This week in water starts (if you’re thinking narratively), or maybe concludes (if you’re stuck on chronology), on the shore when a screening of the short documentary film Nomads: Wandering Women of the Whitewater Tribe ambles into town on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. The film tells the tale of three females of the froth who travel to Africa for expeditions on the Zambezi and White Nile rivers. While there, they decide to help out a Ugandan village with some ideas for battling malaria and other development projects. So, in addition to delivering some thrills, the film should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside—that, and the free beer organizers are including in the $5 admission fee.

Speaking of feeling warm, the water sure seems that way, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks affirms it. That means as of Thursday, July 27, fishing on the Little Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers is restricted, so you best not cast a fly from noon to midnight until Sept. 15, or whenever water temperatures allow it again. So head for higher ground or just find something else to do with yourself outside.

One of those things you won’t be doing is smoking anywhere in any of Missoula’s open space properties, as the city has imposed Stage 1 fire restrictions around town, including on Mount Jumbo, Mount Sentinel, the North Hills and Greenough Park, as well as anywhere else there’s enough cured grass and tinder to turn into a wildfire. Technically, you could probably still light up if you were sitting in the middle of a creek, since the rule exempts smoking that occurs in a 3-foot circle clear of any flammable material. But this could also be just another excuse to quit. I mean, I’m no nag, but isn’t the air you’re breathing warm enough already?

In other news of what some will surely characterize as paternalism, Glacier National Park has closed Morning Star and Oldman campgrounds in order to recondition some grizzly bears who have apparently learned that people in the park aren’t supposed to pack heat but they do pack some tasty vittles. So factor those closures into your travel plans when you head north.

But rather than head to Glacier this weekend, I would encourage you to go to the Blackfoot on Saturday for Blackfoot River Cleanup Day, an opportunity to walk, wade, float or snorkel along the river you said was your favorite during last year’s Best of Missoula and pick up what others are leaving behind. Show up for the cleanup at 3898 Rainbow Bend Dr., located off Hwy. 200 between mile markers eight and nine, at 9 AM on Saturday, July 29, and stick around for the afternoon barbecue, scheduled from 1 to 4 PM. Call 244-5442 if you need more information.

If a couple hours of river cleanup isn’t going to get you caught up on your community service, try joining the Bob Marshall Foundation for an overnight trip into the Great Bear Wilderness lasting from Saturday, July 29, to Sunday, July 30, that’s purposed with restoring a campsite at Elk Lake. Call 863-5411 to get your restoration on.

Should you happen to be in the Bitterroot instead of up by the Blackfoot or in the neighborhood of the Great Bear this weekend, and you prefer biking to picking up trash or rectifying that which man has sullied, Mountain High has something for you, too. Saturday, July 29, there’s a free course called “Introduction to Off-Road Biking” convening at the Coyote Coulee Trailhead, located north of Darby, at 9 AM. The event comes to you courtesy of the Bitterroot National Forest, which is interested in getting you active and enjoying the outdoors. To learn more about the biking class or the general premise, call 375-0956.

Once you’ve got the basics down, you can join a pack of bikers from the Canyons Athletic Club for a regular old ride departing from the Coyote Coulee Trailhead that takes place from 4 to 6 PM on Tuesday, Aug. 1. If you want to carpool from Hamilton, give a call to 363-1555 and let them know you’re coming.

Also, it would be polite to tell them whether you’re coming in any case, and if there’s anything I value, it’s propriety and manners. Obviously.

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