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Mountain High


Last weekend’s monsoon was a harsh reminder of the frailty of the weather. Luckily, my prediction as your Comrade Calendar—a designation that outfits me with certain highly sensitive abilities of clairvoyance—is that on Thu., Sept. 4, a UM student, freshly hung-over from attending the Top Hat’s Wasted Wednesday kegfest, will wander out from a tumbledown shack and see its shaggy-maned shadow, thus ensuring that we’ll enjoy another four weeks of uninterrupted summer weather.

Thank you, nameless student.

And away we go:

Nothing prepares the eager mind of the stargazer like a strong and steady weather pattern devoid of even the flimsiest of cloud cover. That’s just what I’ve ordered up for Fri., Sept. 5, when the Blue Mountain Observatory hosts another in their unstoppable series of Observing Nights. The fun begins at roughly 9 PM, though you never know when clouds or smoke—remember smoke?—will dash in to ruin the day. Call 243-5179 before you leave the house just to make sure, and download directions at 

On the 15th anniversary of its founding, the Montana Campus Compact, which basically works to get more students helping out their communities, is looking stretch its legs a little. Actually, they’re looking to get you to stretch your legs, and to raise some cash in the process, as you take part in the Garden City Triathlon, which begins at 9 AM on Sat., Sept. 6, at Frenchtown Pond State Park. A 1.5K swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run make up the event, which you can tackle alone or as a team. Oh, and a kids’ triathlon begins as soon as the last adult crosses the finish line. Call 243-5177 or visit to register.

Another altruistic activity takes place at the same time as the final event of the Five Valleys Fun Run/Walk Challenge Series goes down in McCormick Park. The Run for Youth 5K/10K Fun Run and 5K Walk begins at 9:30 AM on Sat., Sept. 6. As is usually the case with these things, registration has officially closed, so you may have to sit this one out. Or, go ahead and make your case when you call 721-PARK.

Instead of getting exercise this morning, here’s a chance to exercise your ability to co-exist with the rest of the planet: The Grant Creek/North Hills Bear Fair begins at 9:30 AM at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek Road, on Sat., Sept. 6. Aimed at educating people to help bears keep from being killed, the free day-long event features films, hikes, bear print casting, fun with electric fences, bear spray practice and so on. Call 542-5518.

As part of the Bear Fair, the Montana Natural History Center offers a bear bus outing with Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Jamie Jonkel and the Rattlesnake Bear Task Force’s Erin Edge, who point out natural food areas, recently bear-raided dumpsters, migration corridors and more starting from the Bear Fair proper. $15/$10 members/family rates available. Call 327-0405 for meeting time. 

Get yourself to Lolo’s Traveler’s Rest State Park, where Traditional Trades Days begin at 10 AM on Sat., Sept. 6, and continue through Sun., Sept. 6. Spend some time learning about, practicing and appreciating the difficulty of traditional arts, skills and crafts undertaken by Natives and Europeans alike, along with kids’ activities, demonstrations and interpretive programs. Free. Call 273-4253 or 529-8211, or visit

Looking to bolster your knowledge and practice of growing your own food? Well, you’re not alone, as you and roughly 99 others can partake in Montana’s Alternative Energy Resources Organization’s final farm tour of the season, which takes place at 2 PM on Sat., Sept. 6, at Purple Frog Gardens near Whitefish. Tickets cost $15, or $12 in advance, and include a harvest meal after the tour. RSVP 862-0621.

If you’ve slacked on the roller-blading this summer, here’s a chance to get those ankles back in skating shape with some of the real thing: The Missoula Maulers, our homegrown junior hockey team, invite you and yours to take part in a free ice skating day starting at noon at the Glacier Ice Rink on Sun., Sept. 7. The bruisers also offer skating and hockey tips, and the shop’s tossing in free rentals, so really, what’s your excuse? 

Prepare your mental catalogue for future travels down south, or just revel in all the pretty plumage, when Jerry Dirnberger presents some of his 200 photographs of the birds of Colombia during the Mon., Sept. 8, meeting of the Five Valleys Audubon Society at 7 PM in UM’s Gallagher Business Building. Call Elizabeth at 327-1525.

As we enter into the twilight of this year’s boating season, the good people at Paddle MT have one last educational opportunity to offer: On Wed., Sept. 10, the three-hour Introduction to Recreational Kayaking class begins at 6 PM at the Canoe Rack by the California Street bridge. The $45 fee includes your boat and gear, so all you really need to do is call 251-0040.

Lastly, you’re invited to join the Rocky Mountaineers for their monthly meeting at 7 PM on Wed., Sept. 10, at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St., where you can hear about everyone’s summer adventures and start planning this fall and winter’s epic trips. Call 543-6508.

Go on—get it!

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