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Mountain High



Alright, Labor Day’s over, get off yer butts. Judging by the number of events trying to cram their way into this post-holiday space, everybody else has already gotten off theirs. Jeez, you take one measly day off and already you’re playing catch-up. Well, up and at it then.

Start with birding—many good things do. The Audubon Society is sponsoring a half-day shorebird-seeking trip to Smurfit-Stone Containers’s wetlands on Saturday, Sept. 9. You can meet them at the UM Adams Center parking lot at 8 AM or at the main Smurfit-Stone gate at 8:30. Larry Weeks is leading the trip, and it’s free. Call Larry at 549-5632 to reserve a view of the best birds.

Or make like a shorebird and fish. We didn’t get the news until too late to print it last week, but Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks lifted its fishing restrictions for the Blackfoot and Little Blackfoot rivers Sept. 1. So you can go fishing again to celebrate the coming of fall.

Or you could pop up to Big Mountain and celebrate a few last days of summer. Just do it quick, because the Big runs the last of its summer operations, including the Glacier Chaser gondola, Sunday, Sept. 10. After that it’s all waiting for snow. That was fast.

To get yourself thinking about hibernation, make an appointment to learn a lot more about bears than you probably already do from bear biologist Chuck Jonkel. The bears of the Rattlesnake are Jonkel’s specific subject this time out, which is why you’ll meet at the Rattlesnake Trailhead at 7 PM on Tuesday, Sept, 12. And you don’t literally need to make an appointment

The Rocky Mountaineers, too, are kicking off their fall monthly meetings at 7 PM Wednesday, Sept. 13. The “members potluck” is a bring-your-photos affair, free and open to anyone, at Pipestone Mountaineering on Front Street. Go see what there was no good reason for you to be missing.

Or just go get out there with them. Your first chance is Friday through Sunday, Sept. 8-10, when the Mountaineers head north to camp at Bowman Lake and then climb Rainbow Peak and traverse to Mount Carter. Sounds like a tough trip. Call Steve Niday at 721-3790 if you want to get in on it. Or if it’s too late to make that plan, get ahead of yourself by joining a Sept. 16-17 overnight to Unnamed Point in the West Cabinet Mountains. Steve Schombel’s been there before, and he describes it as rugged and little-visited. Call him at 721-4686 if you want to go see for yourself.

Are you impulsive enough to want to go out and run a 5K race without having any idea how to actually get to the finish line? Are you anal enough to actually pay for an eight-week course to learn? Wow. That’s some personality you got there. Put it to good use at Campus Rec’s How to Train for Your First 5K. You get a group run every Tuesday, weekly workouts, entry fee for Campus Rec’s 5K Turkey Trot, a race T-shirt and coaching from a pro. All for $25. You had us at T-shirt. The first installment is Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 4:15 to 5:45 PM at UM’s Fitness & Rec Center Conference Room on the third floor. Call 243-2802 for info. Your feet will thank you. Mine would scream at me, but yours must be different. You might even follow up with a free trail-running clinic at REI, 2230 N. Reserve St. That’s at 7 PM on Thursday, Sept. 14. Work those dawgs.

Once you’ve finished torturing your feet, go to work on your ass with Tuesday night Dirt Girls mountain bike rides through October for beginners and intermediates. Check out for info, or e-mail

If later in the week works better for you, e-mail Larry at and ask about the Thursday night mountain bike rides. Larry calls the rides intermediate, and they usually involve about 10 miles and 2,000 feet of so of elevation. Butt hurt yet?

You could always park it in room 106 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building and learn something about fire and post-fire management in the Northern Rockies. “Salvaging Science” is the topic when the WildWest Institute kicks off its 2006 Northern Rockies Nature Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 PM, and four scientist/panelists will be there to address it. Four more WildWest forums are scheduled between now and Christmas. Get the whole schedule at, or just watch this space as the dates roll around.

And finally, the Canoe Rack’s got something cooking that you might want to start thinking about, even though it’s outside the strict 8-day purview of this issue. But coming up Saturday, Sept. 16, in conjunction with the River City Roots Festival, the Canoe Rackers are hosting a combo Poker Paddle, 30th anniversary party and Clark Fork River cleanup. How does a poker paddle work? It involves cards, and speed. I’m gonna leave the details to the guys at the Rack. Just know that it starts at the Sha-ron FAS in East Missoula at 11 AM and it’s free. Call 251-0040 for the rest.

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