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Mountain High



The City of Missoula plans more summer fun for its residents than I could possibly fit in a whole year’s worth of columns. Seriously, the people at Parks and Rec put out a 40-page guide flush with information about all the activities sponsored by your municipality—from youth and adult recreation leagues to instructional classes and schedules for public pools and water facilities—and I couldn’t relay it all to you even if I wanted to. Not that I don’t want to but, yeah, neither am I itching to. So go get the guide; it’s the one with the toddler who looks like he’s about to scream in terror as he floats in a pool with some adult who’s obviously enjoying it more than he is. Call 721-PARK if those search parameters don’t strike you as particularly helpful. And listen up, because there’s more outdoor recreation impending.

For instance, you could join up with the Montana Wilderness Association, which offers free guided hikes—everything from backpacking adventures to evening strolls—throughout the summer. I’ll do my best to get the ones in Western Montana in the paper, but your best bet for a sure-fire hookup is to make contact yourself by picking up a copy of the compiled list of 119 events. They’re probably in your favorite outdoors store, but I’m not in the habit of listing those so why don’t you call 443-7350 to find out what’s closest to you.

Hiking is always a favorite activity this time of year for anyone inclined toward the outdoors, and that includes the Rocky Mountaineers and radical splinter group, the New Rocky Mountaineers. Here’s what they’ve both got planned.

The Rocky Mountaineers plan a trip on Sunday, June 11, up to their cabin to haul down some trash and whatnot. If that trip proves unnecessary, they’ll be retreading and heading to Blue Mountain for some off-trail hiking to areas of the mountain that recently burned to see recovery in action. Call 721-4686 to find out the mission, if you choose to accept it.

The contingent up for hiking on Sunday probably won’t go along with the Rocky Mountaineers who head to Glacier National Park on Saturday, June 10, for a 17-mile round-trip climb up Edwards Mountain. Call 721-3790 to find out how early you’ll need to be up for this one.

Opting to head to Trapper Peak in the Bitterroots with the New Rocky Mountaineers probably implies a later departure time on Saturday, June 10, since the road is clear to the trailhead and enough snow remains on the trail to expedite the climb with skis up and down. Call 549-4769 if this sounds like poison you’d like to pick.

If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to pick up, then perhaps a trip to Sawmill Gulch is in order. Get in on one when Hellgate Hunters and Anglers join forces with Five Valleys Land Trust at 10 AM on Saturday, June 10, to remove some old and rusted barbed-wire fence on which elk moving from Grant Creek to Sawmill Gulch have been known to catch themselves. Call 549-0755 to join forces with the joint force.

Should taking down fence prove so compelling a way to spend a day outside that you’re compelled to find even more ways to be Type A in the outdoors, I would suggest contacting Glacier National Park and getting on board with their volunteer loon monitoring program, a training session for which takes place on Monday, June 12, in West Glacier. Volunteers can work over the long term for a whole season or just dedicate Loon Day, July 15, to the birds. Call 888-7986 to get with it.

Saturday, June 10, is another day for finding feathered friends, because the Five Valleys Audubon Society is taking a half-day birding hike on Mt. Sentinel, Missoula’s favorite humps of elevated rock. The five-mile hike kicks off at 8 AM in the parking lot at the base of the M Trail. Call 549-5632 if you’re worried you might confuse the mountain with that other one with the letter on it.

Swimming is great, but not when it’s because you ditched your boat in the middle of some foamy whitewater. So learn how to roll upright with Paddle MT, which offers you all the gear you need and a heated pool too during their Art of the Roll class, which kicks off Tuesday, June 13, at 7:30 PM and continues Tuesday and Thursday evenings through June 27. Call 251-0040 and get rolling.

That reminds me, with this warm air and falling water, it’s about time for some Rattlesnake creeking. If your inner tube is inflated, and you’re not too prone to hypothermia, you’re welcome to join.

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