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Mountain High

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We’re all back now—some in class, some just in the rut of our workaday lives—and there’s an awful lot to do outside. Aside from preparing to slay an ungulate or, alternately, to make some tempeh, why don’t you try one of these activities on for size, eh?

First of all, here’s an urgent matter for all you gridiron fans who’d like to see a new generation of players: It’s time to offer up your kiddies to the altar of shoulder pads and mouth guards, aka Missoula Parks and Recreation’s Junior Playmakers Flag Football League, which has an extremely firm registration deadline of 5 PM on Fri., Sept. 7. The league is for girls and boys aged 8–10 and features seven-kid teams, non-competitive play and a focus on fun and fairness. They’re also looking for coaches, so you can go ahead and sign yourself up as well. Call 552-6266.

Once you’ve firmed up plans to turn your daughter into the next “Refrigerator” Perry, seek the solace of yon wilderness with the Rocky Mountaineers, who dish up an overnight adventure to Warren Peak (10,460 feet) in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness on Sat., Sept. 8. The route will approach from the south, from the direction of Edith Lake, which my sources at the Pentagon tell me is way mellow, and requires no special equipment, save for feet. Call Forest at 721-6384 or 240-7612.

If you feel like lingering around town this weekend instead, consider mounting your trusty—and, of course, registered—metallic steed for a two-to-four-hour bike ride with whichever fellows show up at Bernice’s Bakery at 10 AM on Sat., Sept. 8, and also on Sun., Sept. 9. The beginning pace could be described as “leisurely,” but don’t expect such kid gloves for the remainder—before you know it, subgroups will form within the group and factions will splinter off into multiple separate rides, leaving police escorts utterly confused. Just be there and you’ll see what they mean.

A less energetic, in-town option is served up in circular style when A Carousel For Missoula presents the Summer’s End Family Fling at 10 AM on Sat., Sept. 8. In addition to riding the wooden horses until they’re saddle-sore, your little ones can enjoy performances, demonstrations, mascots and food, and can even learn about getting a microchip implanted in their favorite house pet. The list goes on and on, so call 549-8382 for a complete account of the event that’s got all the pretty horses whinnying with anticipation.

As weekend turns into week, the bike tomfoolery continues unabated. Lewis and Clark, no great fans of the bicycle, supposedly took a break over in Lolo while collecting Manifest Destiny information for the feds. The Travelers’ Rest State Park Bike Parade pays homage at 3 PM on Mon., Sept. 10, with a nine-mile ride atop costumed chariots of the industrial age. You’ll meet up at the Florence School to pimp your ride 1800s style, perhaps with rawhide chips in the spokes for that rumbly Conestoga sound, then ride to the Park, where activities and games should keep everyone amused until the light begins to fail. Call 273-4253 for details.

Later that same day, Mon., Sept. 10, the Five Valleys Audubon Society teams up with Missoula’s intrepid urban forester Scott Stringer—who is apparently responsible for the health and well-being of the city’s 20,000 trees and shrubs—to present detailed information about the state of the city’s urban forests at 7:30 PM in Room L14 of UM’s Gallagher Building. Of course, all those Auduboners care about is birds, so he’ll be sure to tie it all into avian health while he describes the ways in which the urban forester’s office monitors the health of the city’s trees, intervenes when there are issues and encourages expansion of existing stands. Call 327-1525 should any of that raise yer bile. 

If forced to choose between “chickens coming home to roost” and “trickle-down economics,” I guess I’d have to go with the latter, which is why this Tue., Sept. 11, offers people like me the perfect opportunity. The Watershed Education Network (WEN) has kicked into furious training gear with the goal of establishing a pool of qualified volunteers for their in-school programs this season. WEN offers Fall Stream Monitoring Trainings throughout the month, with 4 PM sessions taking place on both Tue., Sept. 11, and Wed., Sept. 12, at Greenough Park’s pavilion area. Call 541-WATR or visit montanawatershed.org.

Alternately, there’s a rowdy bunch of mountain-biking mamas that would be happy to include you in their reindeer games, should you care to take up the challenge. If you’ve got a hankering for mud—or maybe just dust—and the companionship of other ladies with similar needs, you can meet up with the Montana Dirt Girls on Tue., Sept. 11, at 6 PM at the Rattlesnake trailhead for a nice ride around the premises. Visit mtdirtgirls.tripod.com or e-mail Julie at jhuck@adventurecycling.org.

Lastly, you can regale your peers with your summer’s mishaps and near-death experiences at the Rocky Mountaineers’ monthly meeting at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering on Wed., Sept. 12, where the “slide and photo potluck” format encourages sharing. Call Julie at 543-6508.

Whether it be by hook or crook, on hill or dale, or near bear or snare, I bid you all adieu ‘til next we meet.

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