News » Opinion

Mountain High



Wow, it must be something about the last weekend of the month. There are more ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors with your fellow Montanans than there were float tubes on the river between Whittaker Bridge and Johnsrud last Saturday. Most of those opportunities are in the mountains but we’ll start with the Blackfoot since it’s so close to my heart.

Whether it’s bad judgment or just bad luck, trash seems to find its way from people who float the Blackfoot into its waters; hence, the shores of the Lower Blackfoot River get a little littered by this time of the summer. Join Bob and Marietta Pfister for a Blackfoot River Clean Up Day July 30 and help remediate the situation. Clean-up crews depart from the Pfister’s house at 3898 Rainbow Bend Drive, eight miles east of Bonner, at 9 AM, and will return for a barbeque at 1 PM. Call Chris at FWP for more info at 677-6804.

Most of our outdoor adventure opportunities this week point uphill instead of downriver. For starters, the Sierra Club sponsors a July 29–31 trip into the Great Burn Roadless Area. The 15-mile trip will trace Meriwether Lewis’ route through the Bitterroot Mountains along what is now the Montana/Idaho border. Some off-trail travel will be required on this moderately strenuous trip. Call 549-1142 to register ahead of time.

If you feel like not just blazing trail but cutting it, join the Bob Marshall Foundation as their volunteers open trails to the Bob Marshall Wilderness on the Rocky Mountain Front. On July 30 and 31, volunteers will work alongside N. Fork Dupuyer and Potshot Creeks while camping near the trailhead. Visit for more information or call 863-5411.

In the same vein (which is dying metaphor from the days of mining, if you’re interested in that sort of thing), the Rocky Mountaineers have two very different trips planned this weekend. For the family with kids, there will be a trip to Morrell Falls, located northeast of Seeley Lake. The first falls is reachable via two miles of easy trail; the next two falls will require some short, steep climbing. Get in touch with Julie Kahl at 543-6508 if you’re interested. Hardier hikers can join Steve Niday for a July 29–31 trip to Glacier that will attempt to summit Rainbow Peak and/or Mt. Carter. Both routes will be physically demanding but not technically challenging. Call 721-3790 for info.

There’s even a chance to push your limits without leaving town when the Adventure Challenge Ropes Course materializes in McCormick Park Sat., July 30. Bring a group or go solo. The Parks and Rec-sponsored event costs $25; you can get more info by calling 721-PARK.

If you get thrills from pushing your body to its limits, imagine the fun of throwing your brain into the mix. On that score, there are plenty of chances for outdoor education this week. One such opportunity is your chance to get the “Bear Facts” from Chuck Jonkel on July 29 at 8 PM at Beavertail Hill State Park. He promises to tell you the difference between Ursus americanus and Ursus horribilis during this free program, which will take place about 26 miles east of Missoula.

Up in Montana’s national park, The Glacier Institute offers the chance to walk what Vladimir Nabokov called the “high ridge” between art and science that appeals to both aesthetic and intellectual pleasures equally with two classes this weekend. July 29–31 you can learn the “Geology of Glacier National Park” during three full days of hikes through the high country with Jeff Kuhn on what promises to be a strenuous excursion. Alternately, July 30–31 you can learn about watercolors with Cristina Eisenberg at the open and amply inspiring vista of McGee Meadow. Visit or call 755-1211 for more info.

For young ’uns, the Montana Natural History Center sponsors a couple more summer day camps this week. One promises to turn any 4–5 year old’s back yard into an outdoor adventure while the other makes science into an adventure for 11–14-year-old girls. The latter camp will also include an overnight camping experience. Call 327-0405 for registration information.

And for adults, you can learn about organic gardening while you work by spending an hour or two at the Garden at Teller Wildlife Refuge in Corvallis by volunteering with gardener Sandy Gates. Pick up some skills and transport them to your home plot. Call 370-0808 to get scheduling information.

One thing you can do with that home plot is put some native plants in the ground. If that sounds appealing, Prairie Keepers welcomes you to the Nature Adventure Garden at Fort Missoula for a free lesson in Wildflower Gardening Aug. 2 at 6 PM.

And you’re gonna need seeds. If you’ve got ‘em or think you might want to help others get ‘em, get involved with the Montana Seed Savers Network, which is forming to grow, package and store Montana-grown seedstock. Email to get involved with this project and help preserve the integrity of Montana’s food supply and native species.

I’m off to Bowhunter Ed class. Let me know where you’re going.

Add a comment