News » Opinion

Mountain High


Music and the outdoors do make for a happy marriage. I found this to be particularly true last Friday night, while taking in the maddeningly awesome sounds of the Mountain Computer Music Festival, a showcase of avant-garde electronic music, nestled just near the base of Mount Sentinel. It was the perfect mix of sunny weather, good acoustics, great performers and a beauteous view of the M. So before the weather dips south, I urge you to check out any remaining outdoor concerts while you can.

And while we're on the subject of stimulating your senses, I found something titillating for your eyes, hands and feet as we begin this week. Specifically, those with a compulsion to cycle ought to head out with members of Mountain Bike Missoula tonight at 6 PM for a ride on Hidden Treasure Trail, up to the top of Mount Sentinel, and then to Crazy Canyon Road and back to the trail. Free. Plan to meet at the corner of Maurice and South streets at the aforementioned time. E-mail Alden Wright at or give him a ring at 243-4790 or 542-1966. Also check for updates.

As Friday hits, I must bring you some unfortunate news, especially if you like stargazing. It's the last time this year you'll be able to focus your eyes up into the surrounding stars and nebulae with a powerful telescope as part of Blue Mountain Observatory's Public Observing Nights, which finishes this year's run with an observation starting time of 8:55 PM. Free. Call 243-5179 and visit\index.html.

After snoozing the night away with stars on your mind, start Saturday with a cup of coffee and some benevolent slogging with those crazy workhorses of the Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Group, who head up a creek cleanup at 10 AM in the group area of Greenough Park. If you're dressed to sweat, bring gloves, boots, waders (if you have them) and a walking stick for balance. Your studious stewardship will be kindly rewarded later that day with a pizza party at the Double Tree (I'm guessing that means Finn & Porter). Give Greg Peters a ring at 471-3363 or e-mail him at for more.

Once you've worked 'til you've bled, take a few hours to relax by heading down to the Second Annual PEDal Festival, a celebration of pedestrians and bicyclists which rocks Caras Park from 11–6 PM and features a parade, music by bands like the Dead Me Downs, Wartime Blues and Lil' Smokies, as well as "cycling craziness," games and libations. Proceeds from the fest go to local cycling groups like the Bike/Walk Alliance of Missoula, Free Cycles, Mountain Bike Missoula and Missoula in Motion. Call Marlana at 721-5357 or e-mail at

Perhaps you'd rather spend your Saturday doing some seriously ass kicking hiking. Well, you've that option as the Rocky Mountaineers venture out with two trips today. The first was mentioned last week; it's a 70-mile cycling and 26-mile trail run from Missoula up to Lolo Pass and through the Elk Summit Turnoff. Word on the street is that the trip is going to start early, and you'll definitely need a mountain bike or cyclocross bike for this jaunt. Let Joshua Phillips know you're down for realz and call him at 543-0898 or e-mail him at

Maybe you're not as interested in biking this week. If so, join up with another crew of Rocky Mountaineers for a 10-mile, 5,000 foot elevation-gain climb up Holland Peak in the Swan Range on Saturday at 6:30 AM. It's a rough trail, apparently, and you'll pass Rumble Creek Lakes before you gain on a ridge with some exposed spots you should be able to navigate. If that piques your hiking boots, call Paul Jensen at 728-6881 on Fri., Sept. 18.

If you're really feeling physically or mentally sluggish, jolt your intellect with Roderick Nash, the renowned outdoorsman and author, when he gives the talk "The Meaning of Wilderness and the Rights of Nature" at Hamilton's Civic Auditorium, 223 South Second St. in Hamilton, at 7 PM. Free. Call Dawn Serra at 542-2048 or visit

If kids are an issue concerning this weekend's outings, you'll be glad to know there's a free camping activity in store for them when the Missoula Children and Nature Network present its "Got Nature?" campout at Fort Missoula, starting at 2 PM on Saturday and ending at 10 AM on Sunday where kids participate in activities like games, apple pressings, fire tower tours and more. It's free and all food is provided, as are limited amounts of camping gear. RSVP by visiting, or calling Maria at 531-9959.

As you trudge back to your work week, here's a quick reminder about another Rocky Mountaineers trip coming up on Wed., Sept. 23: It's a Smith River floating and camping trip that runs until Sun., Sept. 26. There's limited room for the outing, so quickly contact permit holder Steve Schombel at 721-4686.

Also, I recently got a glut of e-mails from UM's Campus Recreation Department about several outdoor items of interest, but I can't list 'em all. Among them include a two-day Whitewater Rescue 3 Technician Course which costs $295, as well as a bike maintenance program that costs $50. You need to register for both by Sept. 21, so visit for a full rundown of courses and call 243-2804 to register.

Now, head onward reader. I'll be eagerly awaiting your return, as well as your next round of event information. So be sure to send it to me by 5 PM on Fri., Sept. 18. Also, as an extra nod to your appreciation for nature, be sure to peep the Montana Matters benefit if you can (see Agenda in this issue for more details).

Add a comment