News » Opinion

Mountain High



Here at Mountain High, we consider every day Trails Day. There’s no need for special occasions to supply a cause for excursing to the hiking, biking and horse trails that are part of the rich public domain of the West. But, since National Trails Day is an official occasion, it might as well be celebrated.

So be it known that Saturday, June 3, is National Trails Day, an occasion for lovers of the unpaved and partially trodden right-of-way to get out and enjoy those stretches of public lands and perhaps even do some improvements along the way. Among those expressing their affection through service are the folks of the Bob Marshall Foundation, people who spend a good deal of time improving the bits of the outdoors through which the public wanders. On Saturday, June 3, the Bob Marshall Foundation plans a project focused on trails in the Middle Fork of the Flathead River drainage, winding up with a barbecue at Devil Creek Campground in the Flathead National Forest. To join in, call 863-5411 and be sure to ask about planned future trips so you can put in for time off if you’re a working sap.

No time off is needed for the weekday nine-to-fiver who wants to tag along on an easy two-mile stroll through the low-elevation, old-growth forest alongside the Sprunger-Whitney Nature Trail on Saturday, June 3. Call 258-5439 to get information about the carpool to Sprunger-Whitney, located in the Swan River riparian zone.

If your time in sight of the Swan gets you thinking about water, you’ll likely be thinking about how to get out on it. A kayak is certainly one way, and you’ll be pleased to know, no doubt, that the activity is not just about barrel-rolling through whitewater.

Kayaking can also be a good way to glide placidly across lakes and even larger bodies of water, as well as a method for paddling flatwater stretches of river. That’s about as much as I know. Find some folks who know more by checking out a class or two from the Canoe Rack. For instance, on Monday, June 5, from 6 to 9 PM, you can experience an “Introduction to Recreational Kayaking” and, if you’re already acquainted you can get into “Sea Kayak Fundamentals” from noon to 6 PM on Saturday, June 3. Both classes take place on the water and neither one is free, so visit for details.

There’s nothing costly about watching birds, an activity that may or may not be part of Bill Gabriel’s scheduled excursion to the Big Hole Battlefield on Sunday, June 4. The trip announcement doesn’t mention anything about birding, but since it came from the Five Valleys Audubon Society, I’d be surprised if there weren’t binoculars and a field guide somewhere among the attendees. Call 273-6880 to arrange a carpool and find out what sort of avian observation, if any, is on order.

If you just can’t see yourself in a car this weekend, you’ll probably be on a bike. You are not alone. Missoulians on Bicycles take it to the hills this weekend with the Marshall Grade Ride on Saturday, June 3, which aims to “catch the grade of the old ski area.” Call 543-4889 and you too could catch a grade and find yourself sittin’ on top of the world. And, if a one-off weekend excursion doesn’t fit your schedule or style for some reason, Missoulians on Bicycles also have enough weekly ride nights that you could easily do nothing but pedal with your velocentric pals all week long. So check out and find out what they’ve got that you can join.

Got kids? If you’re nodding yes, well, they can have more fun with water than anytime since yours (or your baby’s momma’s) broke during the Watershed Education Network’s Rattlesnake Creek Science Adventure Camp, a week-long session of experiential learning in the Rattlesnake and Blackfoot River watersheds that takes place the week of Monday, June 19. But you need to get your young one signed up pronto. Call 542-9924 to find out how your burgeoning fourth- to eighth-grader fits in.

It wouldn’t be right to leave a free chance to fly out of Mountain High. So—heads up and goggles on—the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Chapter 517 sponsors free airplane rides for kids ages 8 to 17 who want to get high wholesomely. Send your young one up and away between 9 AM and noon on Saturday, June 3, at the Museum of Mountain Flying at Missoula International Airport. Call 543-0315 if you’re incredulous.

And finally, for years, you turned here to the see the outdoor photography of Chad Harder. Occasionally, it still finds it way onto these pages. And, this week, Chad Harder exhibits his pics on the walls of Chocolat, the Missoula confectionary located at 119 S. Higgins Ave., during a First Friday fund-raising reception for the WildWest Institute beginning at 5 PM on Friday, June 2. And if one of those prints should “fall off the truck” on the way downtown and wind up in, say, my mailbox, it’ll be our little secret.

Add a comment