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Mountain High



Money in Montana isn’t nearly as easy to come by as a muddy bicycle ride into the Rattlesnake or a grueling hike up to the crest of the Bitterroot Range. These are the perks that we’ve decided are more valuable than money. We stay to hug trees and sniff flowers. When we’re not engaged in sensory stimulation in the outdoors, we toil for meager wages in various nooks about town.

But our humble lifestyles could be under attack if House Bill 3283 passes the United States Legislature. It calls for making the Recreation Fee Demonstration Project (known in shorthand as Fee Demo) permanent, which means you could be charged to access any federal land. The bill also criminalizes failure to pay the fee as a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and six months in jail. Well, there go our regional perks…Hearings to push the bill through committee were held on May 6, and the West Slope No-Fee Coalition was the lone voice of dissent at that hearing, according to the organization. Time to shift your focus from walking a million trail miles back to making a million bucks.

Ladies, time to show up the man in your life. Learn how to float your fly right into a trout’s mouth and land the lunker with as much ease as a downtown barfly. That’s right, this Saturday, May 22, hook some big dogs at West Slope Trout Unlimited’s Women’s Fly Fishing Clinic & Expo. The event takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and meets on the lawn of the Boone & Crockett Club. Bring your own rod; if you don’t have one, one will be appointed for you. Cost is $25 and the event is open to women 12 and older. Be prepared for any type of weather. For more information, contact Kate Olney at 642-3135.

Racers, you’ve been running against your GPS unit for weeks now, waiting for another local race. It’s here. On Saturday, May 22, take the Evaro Mountain Challenge, starting at Milepost 7 on Highway 93, just northwest of Missoula. The event features 10K and 5K runs and walks. For more information, contact Bob Hayes at 726-3695. Then rest up for Sunday’s Double Dip Epic Trail Run/Hike on Mount Sentinel. The race features both 12.5-mile and 4.5-mile races that start (at 1 p.m.) and finish on the UM campus Oval. Cost is $30 for the 12.5 mile, and $15 for the 4.5 mile. Relay teams are also permitted. Contact Kim Anderson at 721-2704 for more information.

If you haven’t been planning (and training) to ride the 254-mile TOSRV (Tour of the Swan River Valley) for months, you probably shouldn’t start now. But if you want to see the cyclists in action, they’ll be on Highway 200 and Highway 83 this weekend. Call Lech Szumera for more information at 543-4889.

This weekend the New Rocky Mountaineers will tackle Glacier’s 8,850’ Mount Vaught. The route and length of the journey will depend on snowplow progress on Going-to-the-Sun Road. The climb begins five miles up McDonald Creek from the head of the lake. Expect roughly 5,500’ of vertical gain. Snowshoes, crampons and ice axes are needed. Call Rick Hanners for more information at 892-8959.

The Rocky Mountaineers have two hikes this weekend, one for kids, and one for people who want to get away from their kids (or just don’t have any). The kid’s hike is a May 23 outing to Deadman’s Point in the Blue Mountain area. Touted as “tough for preschoolers,” it should be do-able for most others. After some time on a steep rocky trail to the point, kids can check out the Bitterroot River below. The grown-ups will head down to the Bitterroot Valley’s Rock Creek to tackle the Como Peaks, the three jagged sisters standing watch over Lake Como. Low fifth-class climbing may be required. Call Niday for more information at 721-3790.

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