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Mountain High



The theme this week appears to be indoor versus outdoor. While this column’s goal is to highlight the region’s weekly opportunities for you to appreciate the out-of-doors into nature in an organized way, there are also plenty of events that take place indoors, yet have outdoor implications. And for someone sitting at a computer, writing about being outside while watching the rain pour from a gap in the gutter, the veil between the two can seem especially transparent at times.

Consider that fascinating blend of inner and outer, Internet hunting. You get some of the thrill, none of the chill. Perhaps there will be other combinations in our near future, like sleep bowling, with the attendant muscle development coordinated by electroshock. Or somebody could develop a way to give people the experience of a lovely downtown rickshaw ride through the wireless safety and anonymity of their laptop. It could happen.

While the interface to our first event is indeed digital, there is a strong outdoor component, so give me a sentence or two: Special Olympics Montana’s online auction is currently underway, and some of the prizes will be near and dear to Mountain High readers’ hearts. Lift tickets, hunting and fishing trips, bikes and other recreational paraphernalia are on the block, so support the cause and check it out at before the whole thing wraps up on Fri., Nov. 10.

Now, for purists who like their outdoor activities to occur outside, we take a step into the fresh air. The New Rocky Mountaineers have decided to peek at the site of the proposed Bitterroot Resort. The plan is to ski/snowshoe to Lolo Peak on Sat., Nov. 11, which involves all kinds of elevation gain, and loss, and more gain. This area will be considerably more difficult to access once the road closes Dec. 1, and while the snow may not be sufficient for great alpine skiing, the word is that snowboarders will probably be in luck, snow-wise at least. Call Gerald Olbu at 549-4769 if this has tickled your fancy.

Not to be outshone by the upstarts in that “other” mountaineering group, the Rocky Mountaineers have two events on offer this weekend. Those of you interested in paying tribute to bipedalism should consider jumping in on a hike over the Walman Trail in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area on Sun., Nov. 12. If you’re interested in the eight-mile jaunt, give Fred Schwanemann a call at 542-7372. And should you prefer to glorify your brain’s ability to use tools, there will be a ski trip to “wherever there is enough snow,” led by Steve Niday at 721-3790, also on Sun. Nov. 12.

You had to know from the introduction that this week’s column would be a mixed bag. If you’ve been drawing rapid breaths at the thought of venturing away from the central heat, these next few are for you. Montana’s amphibians and reptiles will be under the magnifying glass—good thing the inversion’s back—at the monthly meeting of Five Valleys Audubon at 7:30 PM on Mon., Nov. 13, in room L14 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. Dr. Kirwin Werner of Salish Kootenai College presents a free multimedia show that will fill the gaps in your knowledge about the cold-blooded creatures of Montana. It’s obvious that an election-related snipe would have fit perfectly there, but I think I’m ready to begin letting it go.

Cavers may be the perfect ambassadors between indoor and outdoor cultures—they go outside to go inside. If anyone can resolve this schism, or at least help us broker a cease-fire, it will be the spelunkers. The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto of the National Speleological Society will meet at 7 PM on Wed., Nov. 15, at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. in Missoula. After a little bit of caving business, Joe Oliphant will present a slide show on a 2006 expedition to Hagengebirge, Austria. Lovers of Karst topography, limestone and Bavaria in general will revel in the details of this and five previous expeditions.

Finally, your plump little cherubs are in need of help, and the Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) is just the government organization to turn to. As part of their Be Active Passport program, the BNF will present “Childhood Overweight” at 7 PM on Thu., Nov. 16, at their Supervisor’s Office on Highway 93 in Hamilton. Pediatric nurse practitioner Devry Garity will offer an overview of the obesity issue and detail some forest-related solutions. Remember, they’re your public lands and you have the right to make your kids play in them.

You also have the right, and the duty, to send word of your indoor/outdoor carpeting, and/or events, to:

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