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Mountain High

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When it comes to cooking and camping, I'm a burgers-for-dinner and eggs-for-breakfast kind of guy. My motto is to keep it simple and, I'll admit, I get a little lazy with my food when I'm getting my camp on. I mean, I could try making a Thai curry, but it just seems like too much work, you know what I mean?

Thankfully, you and I can snag some wicked outdoors culinary tips—and perhaps become the Wolfgang Puck of outdoors cooking—when REI Missoula hosts a free camp cooking basics course on Thu., June 17, at 7 PM at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. The class gives you a tasty rundown of tips from what foods to bring, to how you can broil and braise your ingredients into a scrumptious campsite meal fit for an outdoors king or queen. Registration is required, so click to rei.com/stores /72. Call 541-1938.

If you have even more time to kill on Thu., June 17, and you're in the mood to slaughter weeds, skip the cooking course and leave the house a half-hour earlier so you can join a weed pull at the Black Bridge on the Blackfoot River in Milltown, which runs from 6:30–8:30 PM. Free. Get to the bridge by turning onto First Street in Milltown, across from the Town Pump gas station's main entrance, and take the first right turn. Bring water, work shoes, tools and be ready to pull like a pro. As a bonus, some ice cream and socializing is in store after the pull. RSVP with Gary by e-mailing gjmatson@montana.com.

I know you also like to get wet, so why not do it for a good cause on Fri., June 18, during the 6 PM kickoff clinic for The Blackfoot River Challenge, a weekend long watery soiree that benefits the Missoula Food Bank and features canoe/kayak races on Sat. and Sun., along with clinics and more aqua-based fun than you can shake your paddles at. $25 for two to three events/$20 for one event/$10 for clinics without a food donation/$5 for clinics with a food donation. Pre-registration for the clinics is required, so e-mail Brandon ASAP at blackfootriverchallenge@gmail.com. Visit blackfootriverchallenge.blogspot.com.

Or give avians all the attention during the Five Valley Audubon Society's overnight trip to Freezeout Lake near Choteau on Sat., June 19, which departs at 7 AM. Once at the lake, expect an avian ogling fest on Sat., along with an epic birding expedition at the Rocky Mountain Front on Sun. $10 per person. You are asked to bring your own food/snacks, and to make your own accommodations at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau, so call 1-888-466-5900. Call Larry at 549-5632 to coordinate carpooling.

Then again, you could also spend Sat., June 19, sweating and giving your legs a benevolent beating during the Montana Made Run, a race that celebrates Montana made products and begins with registration at 8 AM at McCormick Park. A kids' race follows at 9 AM, and all 5k/10k runners and walkers hit the gravel at 9:30 AM. Once you catch your breath, expect an awards ceremony and a lip-smacking barbecue to follow. $25/free for the kids run. Visit montanamaderun.org to register.

For something on the intellectual side, dig into a tunnel of beetle-based knowledge with UM entomology prof Diana Six on Sat., June 19, during the Montana Natural History Center's (MNHC) Saturday Discovery Day titled "Bark Beetles–Natural History and Future Impacts," which runs from 9 AM–4 PM and begins at the MNHC, 120 Hickory St. Six plans to guide you around several sites in Missoula that have bark beetle infestations, and aims to help you understand why this little bugger isn't such an awesome friend to our forests. $20/$15 members. Call 372-0405 to register.

Covering yourself in pollen thankfully isn't a requirement to check out the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society's Palladini Pollinator Party, which begins Sat., June 19, at 1 PM at the home of Mike Young, 529 Evan Kelly Road. Free. Expect a steady buzz from bee expert Jennifer Palladini, who plans to point out native bees in Young's garden, while you witness the splendor of Young's plants. Free. Call Mike at 721-7615.

Any and all geezers who enjoy pushing their pedals ought to join the rolling mob known as Missoulians on Bicycles on Sun., June 20, during the Geezer Ride to River City Grill, which departs from the Greenough Park parking lot, on the corner of Monroe and Locust Streets, at 10 AM. Free. Call Gayle or Ernie at 240-9279.

As you settle back into the week, spend the evening on Thu., June 24, learning how to attract members of the pollinating set during the MNHC's Community Pollinator Workshop, which runs from 5:30–7:30 PM at the Nature Adventure Teaching Garden at Fort Missoula. Local experts will be on hand to fertilize your mind with info on how to make bee-nesting boxes, as well as how to ID the good insects from the bad apples. $5 suggested donation. Call 327-0405.

You could also learn how to avoid becoming a bear's next meal on Thu., June 24, during REI Missoula's free Bear Safety and Awareness Clinic, a class that covers bear ID and defending against a gruesome attack at 7 PM at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Space is limited, so RSVP by clicking to rei.com/stores/72. Call 541-1938.

Finally, hunters can set their gun sights on a potential hunt by registering for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park's Game Damage Hunt Roster, which is open for registration until July 15. Here's the deal: The hunts are designed to help landowners mitigate the effects of their damaged crops and property, and could occur anytime between Aug. 15 and Feb. 15. Visit fwp.mt.gov/hunting/seasons/damage.htm to register and for more info.

Now head to the woods and cook me up an order of eggs benedict, pretty please?

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