News » Opinion

Mountain High



Bicycles and pedestrians beware: the runners are taking over the riverbank on Saturday, April 29. While it won’t be more dangerous than playing in traffic on any of Missoula’s riverside roadways, trying to negotiate the section of riverfront trail between the Van Buren footbridge and the finish line in McCormick Park during Saturday’s YMCA Riverbank Run is not going to be any easy feat. That is unless, of course, you’re one of the participants in any of the 1-mile, 5K or 10K variations off the race, which should last from 9 AM when the 10K kicks off until about 1 PM when any final stragglers should be cleared off the course. If you’re interested in running, visit

Missoulians on Bicycles present a couple of velocentric options this weekend. There’ll be people on bikes circling something called the PERMA loop up in the vicinity of Plains on Saturday, April 29; call 728-4963 to join in. If Sunday, April 30, is better for you, maybe you’d like to explore the foothills of the Sapphires on a 45-mile ride that leaves from the IGA parking lot in Florence; call 728-8722 to have them save you a parking space.

Even if you don’t regularly head out on long-distance rides, there’s a decent chance you’re one of Missoula’s many bicycle commuters. If not, maybe you’re a walker. Either way, you’re invited to a Bike/Walk Commuter Party being hosted at Free Cycles Missoula, at 732 S. 1st St. W., from 5 to 7 PM on Friday, April 28. In addition to free food and music, you’ll have access to information about what’s being done to make Missoula a more friendly place for people-powered transportation, an issue likely to also be part of Jim Sayer’s talk on “How Bicycling Can Save the World (and Missoula),” taking place Thursday, April 27, from 7 to 8:30 PM in room 333 of the University Center on the UM campus.

While we’re on the topic of education, a subject to which I’m pretty generally amenable, I’d like to mention a few other speakers doing their thing this week with the aim of getting you a little more in touch with the dirt and water around you. Friends of Lolo Peak have a special relationship with that big old mound of dirt south of town, and not just because it’s a place that supports trees found nowhere else in the world. Those trees, located in the Carlton Ridge Research Natural Area, and the geological features into which they’ve sunk their roots, are the topic of a free talk with Dr. Steve Arno, Dr. Clint Carlson and Gary Morrison that takes place Wednesday, May 3, from 7 to 9 PM in the North Underground Lecture Hall on the UM campus.

If water is more your thing, I’d encourage you to check out this week’s cover story, which has something to do with what happens when the stuff gets all riled up and naked apes cruise it for thrills. I’d also encourage you to check out a lecture on the Hetch Hetchy Valley—a section of Yosemite National Park submerged by 1923 dam that sends power and water to San Francisco; the lecture takes place on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 PM in the North Underground Lecture Hall on the UM campus. The story of water in the West is a fascinating one, and understanding the legacy of Hetch Hetchy will get you a little closer to seeing the big picture.

Part of the really big picture is young people getting outside during the summertime. If you’ve got a young lady age 11–17 who’s interested in outdoor exploration, you’ve got until Monday, May 1, to sign her up for one of the Girls Using Their Strengths! (GUTS!) summer sessions, which take place throughout the summer months and can be tailored to all ages and levels of adventurers. Call 543-3747 to get more information.

Actual outdoor adventures are also what I’m supposed to be peddling in this column. Thank goodness the New Rocky Mountaineers are here to supply me with wares. They head out Sunday, April 30 for a ski or snowshoe trip to Ward Mountain in the Bitterroots. So, if you’ve still got a hankering for tele skiing, consider heading southward with them. Call 549-4769 for more info.

If you feel more like driving than walking, you might instead consider a trip west to Idaho’s Silver Mountain for one of their Silver Saturdays, the next of which takes place Saturday, April 29, and promises $20 adult tickets and bluebird snow sports on between 74 and 124 inches of snow. I know I’m thinking about going.

Anything on your mind?

Add a comment