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Mountain High


If ever there was a week that I would’ve rather spent outside, even if it meant losing a finger or two to hypothermia, it would have to be this one.

Thankfully, there is a light breeze cascading down the corrugated steel insert that holds the earth back from our egress window. The soothing hum of cars motoring south on Orange Street blends with the varied typing tempos throughout the office.

Still, I would rather have been outside.

To resolve this discrepancy between reality and fantasy, I shall undertake the following: I will engage in nothing but Mountain High activities for the next week. From the moment I hit “Delete”—er, I mean “Save”—upon completion of this document, I’m out the door.

My plan:

I will travel henceforth and with great speed to the University, where I will register for two courses ahead of their Fri., April 6 deadline. The first, a Leave No Trace Trainer’s Course, takes place on Sat., April 14–Sun., April 15, and will equip me with the tools and knowledge to both attain sylvan invisibility and to pass such understanding on to others. The second course, a Birding and Canoeing Overnight, takes place at the same time, but that is of little concern to me, for I have such great desire to be divorced from this computer that I shall attend both. I’ll call 243-5172 for help arranging myself.

After that, it’s time to pump up the tires and light the fires—I’m jumping in on Missoulians on Bicycles’ Skalkaho/Sleeping Child Ride on Sat., April 7. I’ll meet with the group at 9:30 AM in the K-Mart parking lot or at 10:30 at the Coffee Cup Restaurant in Hamilton, depending upon where I end up sleeping Friday night. Despite the ride’s scheduled late lunch in Hamilton, I’ll bring snacks, as the 40-mile ride could have me feeling downright peaked. Lech will hear from me at 543-4889.

There’ll be no rest for me on Sun., April 8, as I forego my normal penitent knee-walk to the Cathedral in Helena for the 15th Annual Easter Ride Around Missoula with those same Missoulians on Bicycles. We’ll gather together at the Eastgate parking lot at 10 AM for a brisk ride up—and down—the Rattlesnake, Grant Creek, Miller Creek and Pattee Canyon, with prize drawings at the top of each climb. I’ll call Shirl at 728-4963 to sign up for the 55-mile ride.

The instant I finish up with that brisk warm-up, I’ll be off to Big Mountain in Whitefish, where I’ll register for the Sun., April 8th Pond Skimming Event. The incredible speeds I attain will shoot me across the artificial reservoir and straight into the hearts of Whitefishians everywhere. And I will also win $1,000 for being the greatest pond-skimmer this planet’s ever seen. Oh, and after that, I’ll grab two of the 100 plastic eggs that will be strewn across yon mountain, only the ones I grab will have the winning raffle tickets in them, and I’ll go home with a season pass as well. Not a bad day.

I’ll arrive home Sunday evening fairly spent, so after sleeping for a good 19 hours, I’ll be off again on more outdoor-themed adventure. This time I’ll partner with the Five Valleys Audubon Society, who will massage my sore bunions while I listen to Pat and Sharon Sweeney narrate their slide show “Birds, Wildlife and Landscapes of Southern Africa,” at 7:30 PM on Mon., April 9 in room L14 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. As I’m not the type to barge in unannounced, I’ll call 327-1525 first.

Have you ever noticed that once you learn a new word, you begin to see it everywhere? That will happen for me with birds this week, as I take the excitement generated by each slide of South African avian life and bring it local with the help of my new best friends, the Five Valleys Audubon Society. I’ll sign up for their Intermediate Birders Workshop, which begins Thu., April 12, at 7 PM at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks office at 3201 Spurgin Road, and includes a field trip on April 14 and follow-up classes on April 19 and 26. I’ll call Shirley at 543-5728 to sign up.

Finally, while I’m at the birding class, I’ll split again into two entities so that I can attend the Clark Fork Chapter photographers’ presentation “Western Montana Grassland Wildflowers” on Thu., April 12, at 7:30 PM in room L09 of UM’s Gallagher Business Building. I’ll call ahead—721-7615—to make sure they brew up a little extra coffee for me.
After a week like that, I’ll be good and ready for some more office-chair time. While I’m gone, you can keep sending your outdoor events listings to me via the electronic mail.

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