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Mountain High


This week, two women from our area have embarked upon a heavy-duty journey for a noble cause. Florence resident and breast cancer survivor Ann Maechtlen and Missoulian Debra Parker are among the 33 men and women currently scaling California’s Mount Shasta—at 14,162 feet, the second highest peak in the Cascade Range—as part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s 2008 Climb Against the Odds.

The Fund, which focuses on raising awareness of and eliminating environmental causes of breast cancer, notes that no more than 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic in origin. For their effort to bring light to the fact that our increasingly poisoned world may be affecting women disproportionately, Maechtlen and Parker deserve our thanks and support. Check in on their efforts when you visit

And we move along swiftly this week, as the hopper’s overflowing. To wit:

Begin the week’s outdoor fun with a look at the critters you might be lucky to encounter in the coming decades when a trio of scientists hosts the panel discussion Glacier National Park in a Warming World: Wildlife at Risk at 7 PM on Thu., June 19, at the Roxy Theater. The event’s in conjunction with the traveling photo exhibit currently on display therein, Irreplaceable: Wildlife in a Warming World. Call 549-2848 ext. 13.

With that little dose of reality in your noggin, it’s time to head for the hills and enjoy the sixth annual Dirt Girls Overnight Ride in the Rattlesnake, which leaves town at 6 PM on Fri., June 20. The plan is to travel up the Beescove area, camp out with food, drink and tales, and make it back to catch the tail end of Saturday’s markets. E-mail

You’ll have good reason to get up at the crack of dawn on Sat., June 21, as it’s the longest day of the year—give or take—and there are about one billion things to do. If you can manage to rise and shine in time, you can hook up with the Montana Natural History Center for a day of Loon Watching on Seeley Lake. The journey begins with a 7 AM meet-up at 120 Hickory St., and there’s a fee involved, so call 327-0405. 

You’ll get no extra shut-eye from the Audubon Society when they leave at 7 AM on Sat., June 21, for an overnight birding adventure to Freezeout Lake and vicinity.  There are logistical roadblocks to surmount, such as making motel reservations, so call Paul at 721-7527 to get the ball rolling.

The Great Burn Study Group monitors weeds, trail conditions and other stuff by taking volunteers on weekend trips into the glorious wild. They’ve got a full roster of trips, including an overnight expedition to Heart Lake on Sat., June 21. To sign up or get more info, call Beverly at 240-9901 or e-mail

Also on Sat., June 21, but probably starting at a slightly more reasonable hour, the Blackfoot Challenge tests your canoe and kayak skills for two solid days. A variety of events and categories make this a race for everyone, and the way to get signed up is to call the Canoe Rack at 251-0040 or to visit

Those of you looking for a slightly more northern kayak experience will want to check out Kalispell’s Silver Moon Kayak Company, 1215 N. Somers Road, on the occasion of their Anniversary Sale and Annual Summer Party, beginning at 9 AM on Sat., June 21.  Games, giveaways, barbecue and loads of reasonably priced gear are yours for the taking. Call 752-3794.

The Five Valleys Fun Run/Walk Challenge Series continues as the South Hills 5k Fun Run/Walk takes off at 9:30 AM on Sat., June 21, from Meadowhill School. You’ve already blown it in terms of registration deadlines, so put on your groveling kneepads and call 721-PARK.

Point your curiosity in a different direction when you travel down highway 200 to Garnet Ghost Town, which hosts Garnet Interpretive Day beginning at 10 AM on Sat., June 21. Tours, gold panning, pie eating, and an overall taste of “the way we were” are on tap for the day, with fees charged for some events and not others. Just bring some specie and you should be all right. Call 825-3445.

Of course you’re aware that Sat., June 21, is National Skateboarding Day, so get down to MOBASH Skatepark at noon for a day of grinding, eating and hollering.

Moving on to the weekdays, you can take part in a Blodgett Overlook Hike on Mon., June 23, at 9 AM, which leaves from the corresponding trailhead and teaches hikers about the items essential to an on-trail survival kit. Call Fred at 375-9317.

The Canoe Rack’s next four-session offering of Intro to Kayaking: The Art of the Roll begins at 8 PM on Mon., June 23, in the Currents Pool at McCormick Park. If you’re aged 10 and above, you’re welcome to attend this initiation to the sport. Call 251-0040.

Finally, your deft little hands are needed at the Fort Missoula Native Prairie, where a Seed Collection Work Party begins at 7 PM on Tue., June 24. Learn to effectively and ethically collect seeds of all kinds of species, and e-mail for more info.

Clearly, there’s more going on out there than I had space to include. If I left you out, I apologize. If you venture off and find your own adventure beyond these inky confines, more power to you. Send me a report when you return to Babylon.

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