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Mountain High

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Well, hey there, all you college grads. Congratulations on your years of toil, all the beer bongs you smartly avoided and all the times you fled campus for jaunts into the Rattlesnake. You did take plenty of trips into the Rattlesnake, right?

Good. And now that your days of lolling around the Oval and occasionally making it to class are over, it’s time for you to get a frickin’ job. Or so they keep telling me…

One sweet option for the two-wheeled set is to take a job with the city. The Missoula Bicycle Pedestrian Office is currently seeking the perfect duo to be Bicycling Ambassadors this summer. Basically, you’ll spend your summer days interacting with cyclists, offering handy little tips on how to more effectively and legally ride a bike, and doing your best to defuse any tense situations. And really, those situations almost never happen. Unless you don’t have your facts straight. But that’s another issue entirely. Applications are due Wed., May 20, with the job kicking off on June 15. Interested parties are to contact Phil Smith at psmith@ci.missoula.mt.us for more details and an application. Godspeed.

And we jump straight into this week’s bulging folder of events with two that take place promptly: At 7 PM in Bigfork’s Swan River Hall on Thu., May 14, famed defender of the wild and hill tromper Walkin’ Jim Stoltz presents Forever Wild, a multimedia celebration of wilderness. You’ve the option to donate at the door, and you can call 755-1379 or visit swanview.org.

If your aim is more to be proactive than to be entertained, familiarize yourself with the plight—or lack thereof—faced by some of our more famous local critters. At 7 PM on Thu., May 14, the North Hills Elk Working Group meets at the Grant Creek Inn to discuss fluctuations in elk numbers and locations, and to discuss the efficacy of various hunting plans.

Once you’ve gotten your elk on, the next day holds this cherished li’l nug: On Fri., May 15, a coalition of interested people and organizations invites you to meet at 4 PM at the main Rattlesnake trailhead for a tour of Mountain Water’s fish ladder. The event is linked to Endangered Species Day, which takes place annually on the third Friday in May and is often celebrated by spending the day with a North American pika in one’s shorts. Call 543-1192 or 721-0476, ext. 3. 

The next day we’ve a perfect storm of events, both of which compete with one another and originate from the same source, The Rocky Mountaineers (TRM). On Sat., May 16, you’re invited to scale Grey Wolf Peak in the Mission Mountains, a snow climb that requires all the necessary equipment you’d expect. Call 240-7612 or 721-6384. Alternately, you could take part in TRM’s Lochsa Lodge Cycling Trip, a 113-mile ride through some really sweet country. The ride begins at the Lolo Conoco, features a lunch stop and turnaround at the Lochsa Lodge and is a great warm-up if you’re considering participating in this year’s RATPOD. Call 543-0898 or e-mail mysurveyor@gmail.com.

Now, when the Rocky Mountaineers start offering bike rides, it’s only a matter of time before somebody from Missoulians on Bicycles (MOBI) takes it upon themselves to settle matters. Here’s hoping they put off their revenge until after the weekend, as Sat., May 16 features MOBI’s seventh annual Sula to Wisdom ride, an 80-mile roll that promises “double your divides and quattro your passes” after the 7:30 AM K-Mart meet-up. Our southern cyclists can sleep in and meet at 9 AM at the Sula store. Call Norman at 370-3876.

Another job option springs to life just as soon as something around here bursts into flame, so be ready once you attend the Bitterroot Wildfire Contractors Association’s Fireline Safety Class and Pack Test, which begins at 8:30 AM at the Corvallis Grange Hall on Sat., May 16. See some great scenery this summer, and spend a little time trying to extinguish it. Call 523-7887 or visit bitterrootwildfire.com.

The MOBI appear in full glory again this weekend, as Sun., May 17, features two bike rides: The 87-mile ride to Painted Rocks Reservoir leaves from K-Mart at 7 AM (Call 728-8722), and the 12-mile Geezer Ride to the River City Grill leaves at 10 AM from the Greenough Park parking lot (Call 240-9279.) And see if you can head off that imminent blood feud with the Rocky Mountaineers, okay?

As green little buddies are popping up all over the place, it’s fitting that the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society should spring back up as well: On Tue., May 19, your dexterous digits are called upon to help with a Dyer’s Woad Pull at 6:30 PM at the Mount Sentinel trailhead. Marilyn awaits your call at 243-6642.

And finally, let’s take a moment to remember our fallen friends who just wanted to ride their bicycles. On Wed., May 20, meet up at 6:45 PM at Caras Park for the Ride of Silence, an annual global roll in honor of two-wheelers who’ve met with the business end of the automobile. Please wear a helmet, be prepared to ride slowly and silently and do your best not to be among next year’s honorees.

Oh, and before you head into the wild this week, all I ask is that you drop off a few dozen fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies at the Indy office, care of Comrade Calendar. Happy trails!

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