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Jun 19 2015

Six Wild Ways to Spend Your Summer

From the Pryors to the Cabinets, we've got you covered

Exploring Montana, Featured

1. Volunteer with CDT Montana
Okay, so almost all of the CDT volunteer trips for 2015 are full already, but if you’re really fast, you might be able to sign up for one of the last available spots. Alternatively, you can check availability to volunteer as a camp cook by calling (406) 499-2309! You’ll find a whole new sense of purpose while cooking for hungry CDT volunteers. Trust me; anything you cook will be amazing to these tired trail dogs. If you missed out this year, be sure to join the Hiker Hoopla Event on September 18 at Marias Pass (stay tuned for details), celebrating the CDT and welcoming thru hikers about to finish the entire Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

2. Take a hike in the Pryors on July 12th
Tired of finding yourself in a busy parking lot on a weekend hike? Try a lesser-known, more infrequently traveled Montana gem and astound even your most hiking literate friends with your Instagram pics. I suggest getting out in the Pryor Mountains on July 12. This Montana Wilderness Association-sponsored Wilderness Walk leaves at 7:30 a.m. from the Albertsons in Billings at Rehberg Lane and Grand Avenue, and it will be an adventure from minute one. You might see bighorn sheep, black bears, and fossils on the walk through Douglas fir and limber pine. Snap a selfie and astound your friends. Better yet, bring the friends. Pre-register here

3. Venture in The Bob
Volunteer trips are filling up fast over at the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, but there are still a few you can get in on for a satisfying working vacation this summer. I recommend one of the “Walking in Bob’s Footsteps” trips, either on the South Fork of the Flathead or all the way to Big Prairie. These trips offer a glimpse at one of the largest congressionally designated Wilderness areas. It has been preserved for more than a hundred years — it was initially a Forest Service “Primitive Area” before the Wilderness Act — not to mention there’s world class fly fishing on the South Fork. It doesn’t get any wilder than that, and you never know when you’ll see a bear, a herd of elk, or a wolf in the Bob. And visiting Big Prairie should be on everyone’s bucket list. Register here. Also, check out our friends at the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation for more summer volunteer trips.

4. Yoga in the Woods on August 8th
One of the great things about hiking is getting in the zone. While out on a long hike, sometimes I’m startled to realize I was pretty far into my head, envisioning my ideal superpower in an imaginary Hunger Games-type book I wrote. You know the feeling? Sometimes this is great, but often we really go into nature to focus on our surroundings and end up getting distracted. To hold you accountable for something you truly want to try, put Saturday, August 8th on your calendar for a Mountain Meditation and Yoga Day. There’s a moderate hike with guide Brian Baxter, who will discuss plants and wildlife, followed by a vinyasa yoga practice lead by yoga instructor Danielle Spillman. Explore this all-levels practice in your hiking capris before heading out, this time with a clear mind to really enjoy those views. Hike meet up is at 9 a.m. at the Treasure Mountain Restaurant in Libby. You can pre-register for mountain nirvana here.

5. Be a Citizen Scientist
The more you know about the natural world, the more you’ll enjoy hiking in it! Learn about identifying wildlife, weeds, wilderness impacts, and wilderness character through this partnership between the University of Montana Wilderness Institute and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Foundation. On Citizen Scientist trips, you’ll record American pika sightings, inventory recreation impacts, learn about invasive and native plants, and help maintain the pristine, wild landscape. Join in the trip on August 15-20 to the Box Canyon/Hicks Work Area for one last hurrah of the summer. Sign up and view other trip dates here.

6. WILD Fest on September 12th
Don’t miss this now annual Montana celebration! This event attracts an energetic crowd of all ages. This year, enjoy the unique beauty of the Fairmont Hot Springs area while listening to jammin’ music and chowing on local food and drinks. There are hikes, presentations, and fun exhibits during the day and music and dancing at night, and it’s FREE! Grab a group and bring a tent to camp, or find lodging available at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The WILD Fest has something for everyone—it’s time to add it to your “Summer’s Not Over Yet!” September calendar. Click here for more information. 

- Allison Linville, MWA state council member