This weekend, old trees and unspoiled streams are yours for the taking. Or, more precisely, the taking in. You can soak up the splendor Sat., Aug. 7, and Sun., Aug. 8, when the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club heads 30 miles west of town for the Great Burn Old Growth Western Red Ceders Backpack, a 10-mile roundtrip overnight backpacking trip up the West Fork of Fish Creek, in the Great Burn Roadless Area. Besides seeing stunning peaks, lush meadows and old-school western red cedar trees—some of which are rumored to be up to 500 years old—you'll have plenty of time to take a swim in the creek, or let your fly rod go wild trying to catch a westslope cutthroat trout. This trip is free, but space is limited, and a liability signature is required, so e-mail trip leader Bob Clark at email@example.com ASAP to RSVP.
Once you've clicked "send," make sure you're ready to head outside, since I've got a restoration outing in store for you on Thu., Aug. 5. Specifically, from 5:30–8:30 PM, you can join the Missoula Ranger District and Lolo Restoration Committee for a field trip to check out and discuss potential restoration treatments for the still-in-development Marshall Woods Restoration Project. Free. Meet at the Rattlesnake Trailhead at 5:30 PM for a walk through the project area, and prepare to share your thoughts on topics including fuels reduction, stream bank restoration and invasive weed treatment. Call Tami at 329-3731.
If you're yearning for yet another way to give back, you can be a super steward during the UM Wilderness Institute's fifth trip to the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area in the Kootenai National Forest. This week's trip takes you to the Whitefish Divide Trail, and runs Fri., Aug 6–Tue., Aug. 10. Once there, mapping and monitoring weeds is what's in store, as well as a bit of inventory of campsites, roads, trails and critters. The views are also marvelous, from what I hear. Visit www.cfc.umt.edu/wi to sign-up or call 243-5361.
Better yet, stick around town and get lost in the milky-ness of the Milky Way Galaxy on Fri., Aug. 6, at 10 PM when the Blue Mountain Observatory hosts another public observation night. Free. Visit www.physics.umt.edu/bluemountain for directions and call 243-5179 for weather/cancellation updates.
Afterwards, slip into a short coma so you can rise with the birds for when the Five Valley's Audubon Society leads an all-day trek to Glenn Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, starting with a meet-up at 7 AM at Rosauers parking lot. Free. Bring lunch, plenty of H2O, and count on getting your birding on with Western Tanagers, Clark's Nutcrackers and Mountain Bluebirds. Call Larry at 549-5632.
You could also sprint it up for a good cause on Sat., Aug. 7, during Run for Wishes, a 3.25-mile race that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation and begins with day-of registration from 7–8:30 AM at the Rattlesnake School playground, off of Mountain View Drive. The race follows promptly at 9 AM and will whisk you through city streets and trails. $15–$10 depending on race category. Visit runmt.com/cal1.html for a downloadable registration form, or stop by Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. Call Pam with questions at 214-6896.
Although bears can sometimes get a pretty bad rap—that recent mauling incident near Yellowstone Park probably didn't help much—the Swan Ecosystem Center's third annual Bear Fair on Sat., Aug. 7, aims to celebrate the ursine. It includes bear-a-riffic presentations about living with bears and bear management, and even features a good old bear pepper spray demo, from 11 AM–3 PM at the Hungry Bear Steak House in the Swan Valley, on Hwy. 83 between mile markers 38 and 39. Free including bratwurst, beer and beverages from noon–1:30 PM. RSVP requested by calling 754-3137.
Your kid gets a tour of organic delights, and can also meet a farm animal or three, during the Missoula Children and Nature/Garden City Harvest youth field trip to the PEAS Farm, which runs from 1–3 PM Sat., Aug. 7, at the farm, 3100 Duncan Drive. Free, but you'll have to accompany your kid, so don't just push them out of your car, okay? RSVP by calling Jason at 239-5524.
These geezers aren't aimless, I swear: Missoulians on Bicycles takes a trip to someplace to eat a certain something on Sun., Aug. 8, during its Geezer Ride to Some Restaurant Somewhere, a 10–14 mile ride that departs at 10 AM from the Greenough Park parking lot, on the corner of Monroe and Locust streets. Free. Call Gayle at 240-9279.
Even if you don't have post-Missoula Marathon depression, Run Wild Missoula wants any and all runners who participated in the race to check out the seminar So You Ran Your First Marathon or Half Marathon. Now What?, a talk with those who have made running a part of their everyday life that begins at 7 PM Mon., Aug. 9, at Runner's Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. Free. Visit runwildmissoula.org.
While we're on the subject of heavy breathers, why not join the Run Wild Missoula Trail Running Class, which, pardon the pun, runs each and every Thu. from Aug. 12 until Sept. 30 at 5:30 PM at Momentum Athletic Training, 214 1/2 Main St. The class is geared towards people interested in getting an intro to trail running, or for those training for races like the Sentinel Hill Climb. $50/$25 Run Wild Missoula members. Register at runwildmissoula.org.
Finally, figure out how to orientate yourself in the right direction when you're deep in the backwoods during REI Missoula's Map and Compass Basics class, which starts at 7 PM Thu., Aug. 12, at REI, 3275 N. Reserve St. Ste. K-2. Free. Visit rei.com/stores/72 to RSVP.
Until then, keep your bear goggles on.