News » Opinion

Mountain High



Let’s start this week, just for giggles, with a brief cautionary tale: a good way not to partake of this pleasant fall chill. Don’t wake up in the middle of Sunday night with a burgeoning sniffle. Don’t ignore it and continue doing all the unhealthy things you do anyway. Don’t wait until Tuesday morning to notice that though you’ve had the furnace on all night, there’s nothing in the least bit warm about the house. Do take a look at the filter for the first time in the two years you’ve owned the house. Do throw it out and replace it. Don’t confuse this action with having addressed the fact that there’s no air coming up the vents. Don’t, for God’s sake, go poking a lighter around the furnace’s innards to see if maybe that’ll solve the problem. Do call NorthWestern and shiver as they tell you there’s a two-week wait for a maintenance check. Just put on a sweater and settle in and wait until it’s time to go back to the office. In the meantime, you can pretend you’re outside. You might as well be.

Now that that’s out of your system, go hang out with some people who are smarter than that. You can probably find a few checking out “Bark Beetle-Fungus-Conifer Interactions in Forests of North America,” presented by UM forest pathology prof Diana Six on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 in Room L09 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. And in case “Bark Beetle-Fungus-Conifer Interactions in Forests of North America” leaves you wanting more, know that this is just the first of a series of second-Thursday lectures being brought to you by the Clark Fork Chapter on the Montana Native Plant Society through April. Call them at 721-7615 for help filling up your calendar.

But don’t go back to that cold, cold house yet, because there are birds to watch. Watch them with guide Larry Weeks when the Five Valleys Audubon Society spends half a day at Smurfit-Stone Container looking for lingering shorebirds and waterfowl. Weeks is doing wildlife restoration work around the mill, so he knows his birds and his turf. Call him at 549-5632 to find out where to meet and tweet on Saturday, Oct. 14.

If it’s pumpkins you prefer, and if you’re 12 and under or know someone who is, preferably a relative, take ’em to Missoula’s Pumpkin Run. It’s a 5K run/walk and 400-meter sprint for the kiddies at 9:45 AM on Saturday, Oct. 14. Pumpkin awards and prizes are promised. Call Ben Schmidt at 542-1257 or check out for more info.

Half-days seem to be all the rage this week—gotta save some time to watch the furnace not work, after all—and the Rocky Mountaineers are headed out on a hike of their own on Blue Mountain the next day, Sunday, Oct. 15. They’re going to follow some re-established trails, look at the leaves and hike through a burned area. Call Steve Schombel at 721-3790 if you want to go along.

But if Blue Mountain isn’t far enough away to let you feel like you’ve really gotten out, pop up to Seeley Lake Oct. 14-15 for a six-mile family bike ride. E-mail for more. And if you want to make a weekend of running around up there, the Seeley Swan YMCA can accommodate. They’re hosting 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun runs, a Macho (Wo)man Non-competitive Bike Ride, and the 3rd Annual Tamarack Festival Races, all in Seeley Lake, all on Sunday, Oct. 15. can tell you all about it. That should keep you warmed up.

If the heat’s still out come Wednesday, go poach some Pipestone warmth when Daryl Greaser presents “Caves of the Scapegoat Wilderness” Oct. 18 at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering. It’s also the Northern Rockies Mountain Grotto meeting. If you don’t know what that’s all about, you’re probably not a member, but it’s free and open to the public anyway. Call 303-842-7415 for more info.

More free heat is on tap when the WildWest Institute and the National Network of Forest Practitioners host an all-day (finally) forest restoration workshop in DeBorgia on Friday, Oct. 20. The workshop is free and open to all but geared toward landowners, and there’s plenty you ought to know before you go. Get it with a call to 542-7343 or an e-mail to

And finally, you can tell it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, because ski-pass news has started trickling in. For instance, Big Mountain’s got something called a Buddy Pass deal that, oops, sorry, costs $1,100, and a whole slew of various pricing systems and structures, but the gist of it is that the offers end Oct. 31, after which things get really expensive. can surely tell you how to pay up front. So find a buddy, quick, and convince him to help you rob a bank.

Meanwhile, over in Helena, Great Divide is putting an end to the $299 price on its own season pass Dec. 1. After that, it’s $399. They’ll take your call at 449-3746, or check out

That’s it for this week, but remember, Sunday, Oct. 22, is the start of hunting season as most of us know it. Be careful out there. And stay warm.

Add a comment