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• Karaoke makes a comeback • Tips for fun family backpack trips • Community gardens in full bloom

[596] life in the helena area

Digging Up Fun

Making a Mecca How the Prickly Pear Land Trust trail crews are slowly turning Helena into a mountain biking destination

Randy Rickman publisher Butch Larcombe editor Sheila Habeck art director Eliza Wiley photo editor Jim Rickman advertising manager Shawna Swanz special projects manager contributors Dylan Brown John Doran Martin J. Kidston Marga Lincoln Alana Listoe Butch Larcombe Peggy O’Neill

[contents] editor’s note 6 gear Selecting the perfect pair of sunglasses 8 food & drink Red or White? Summer wines come in both shades 10 features Helena’s big backyard for mountain bikers 14 Karaoke makes a comeback to Helena 20 Backpacking with kids can be fun ... really! 28 Community gardens sprouting up in Helena 38 Master gardener paves the way for veggie plots 40 Slow and steady wins the race for Miller Mathews 46 7 reasons why Blackfoot River Brewing firkin ales are not to be missed 50 my office Sherry Cladouhos’ office reflects a lifetime of adventures 52 laughs chance gulch 53 last call 54

cover photo Emmett Purcell and Jonathan Krauss at work on trail maintenance in Helena’s South Hills. by Eliza Wiley

life in the helena area


[editor’s note]


Most nice communities have an element that defines and separates

them from others. In Helena, which has more than its share of amenities, including mountains, nearby lakes and distinctive architecture, pinpointing a defining element may be subjective. But for a plenty of residents, the friendly, accessible trails woven

through the South Hills stand apart. John Doran, the editor of the Independent Record and an avid trail user, in our cover story, recounts some of the key moments in the development of the remarkable Helena trail system, focusing on the work of the Prickly Pear Land Trust. Interwoven with the story of trails is Doran’s more-personal account of mountain biking and how the growth of the trail system has allowed him and others to piece together long, memorable rides across the backdrop of Helena. It’s great reading and offers plenty of inspiration for heading to the hills that make Helena special. These weeks of late summer are the time of great reward for gardeners. And those rewards are being spread more broadly, thanks to the growing number of community gardens in Helena. Marga Lincoln shares the story of the development of the gardens, the people who use them and the challenge that comes with community gardening on public land. As a bonus, Lincoln tracks down Les Clark, the local resident who played a key role in the development of the Cruse Overlook Community Garden and achieved the status of “Master Gardener” in the process. It’s all earthy, wholesome reading for those moments not occupied by weed pulling. While the hills of Helena may be alive with grunts and yelps of mountain bikers, a number of area taverns are singing the praises of another popular pastime: karaoke. Angela Brandt gives us a look at this world of public performance that takes place almost every night someplace, somewhere in Helena. Whether it’s a timeless version of Build Me Up Buttercup or a cover of I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas, the lure of the stage and microphone appears to be strong in the Capital City. For some, the singing is therapy. For most everybody, it’s entertainment. Trails, tasty tomatoes and tunes. It’s all in a summer’s day (and night) in the zone we call 596.

By Butch Larcombe Editor

PHOTO BY ELIZA WILEY summer/fall 2010


[gear] Oakley

Getting the right sunglasses is time well spent in sunny Montana

It sure is sunny in the Treasure State. That’s good news for sun worshippers, river zealots and general outdoor enthusiasts. We like the sun and we’d better, considering 60 percent of the year here is sunny, according to the National Weather Service. But while sun may put smiles on the faces of local residents eager to take a stroll on the walking mall or climb Mount Helena, eye specialists say too much sun can be trouble. Sunlight is non-polarized light that vibrates in all directions, which can damage the eyes. Polarized lenses block horizontal light, reduce glare and are the most recommended types of sunglasses. Tinted lenses are typically less expensive, but while glare is reduced, it’s not eliminated. Owning a pair of sunglasses in Montana is almost as important as having a winter coat. The range of styles varies widely, as do prices. Sunglasses are available just about everywhere: department stores, drug stores and gas stations. But getting professional advice is important. Diane Hanson, the frame buyer at Montana Eye Care, says a good share of customers initially want to purchase tinted sunglasses, which tend to be more economical. “We try to ask as many questions as we can about what their main use is,” Hanson says. Maui Jims are one the top sellers, as well as Oakley, Fossil and Ray-Ban. The store carries about 90 styles of Maui Jims that range from $149 to $300; prescription lenses add significantly to the price tag. Lenses come in a variety of colors but most common is brown, gray-green and copper. Brown provides good contrast and improves clarity and depth perception. Brown is a good choice for water sports. Gray-green lenses maintain natural colors and eliminate distortion. It’s best for driving since it reduces road glare, eye strain and fatigue. Copper provides high contrast for the best vision and maintains good color balance, a good option for motorcycling, swimming and skiing. Montana Outdoor Sports offers a wide variety of sunglasses at a reasonable price. The store carries Coyote Eyewear, Optic Nerve and Guide’s Choice models that start at $12 and top out at $48. “You don’t have to have a $300 pair to be successful at doing what you need,” store manager Damon Peters says. “I’m always looking for good, economical sunglasses for the consumer so it doesn’t hurt their feelings if they drop them in the water.” Kendra Stewart of Helena says sunglasses are an integral part of her wardrobe because she’s so active. The 26-year-old wears them to wakeboard on Hauser Lake; snowboard at Great Divide; and while driving. “I pretty much wear them anytime I’m outside,” she says. Stewart doesn’t like shelling out much cash for her eyewear. “I only spend $10 to $20—no more than that usually,” she says. “In case I lose them, I don’t want to lose a $200 pair of sunglasses, and I break them a lot. As long as they are polarized, that’s all I care about because it protects your eyes a little more.” Whether it’s fashion or function, there’s a pair of sunglasses for every type of person. The biggest question is how much you want to spend. [!]

Flak Jacket carbon-fiber detail $140

Kate Spade Ola deep purple tinted lens $134

Maui Jim Sand Doll polarized $259

shady Story by Alana Listoe Photo by Eliza Wiley

Maui Jim Hanalei polarized $179

Ray Ban RB 3362 aviator $259

Kate Spade Ola 2 gradient tint $134 All sunglasses courtesy of Montana Eyecare

[8] / 596magazine

summer/fall 2010


[food & drink]

White or Red? Local wine experts offer the best bets for warm weather entertaining Story by Peggy O’Neill

Photos by Dylan Brown

The only thing better than drinking summer wine is talking about summer wine. And when you’re talking about summer wine, you’re likely to throw in some words that appeal to your summertime senses—freshly cut grass, tropical fruits, flower bouquets. Art “Topper” Galloway, owner of Topper’s, a wine and beer shop on Helena Avenue, loves to talk about wine. “You can accent everything with wine—food and company,” Galloway says. “Open a bottle of wine with someone and it opens us up to a conversation of the wine and who we are.” Summer is a great time to take your taste buds on a world tour. And luckily, for Helena wine drinkers, the world can be found within our city limits. Several stores and restaurants around town have excellent selections. Galloway starts his tour with a Portuguese wine called Vinhoo Verde ($9), which means of course, green wine. The wine itself, from the Broadbent winery, is not green but has the essence of green—think about sitting in a field overlooking the countryside. Lay down a blanket, uncork this wine, pour it over ice with a slice of orange and sip to the sparkling sun. “It’s crisp and refreshing,” Galloway says. “It’s low alcohol, which is a factor in the summer heat. Alcohol makes us sleepy. We want to feel light on our feet in summer.” Sauvignon Blanc—both the New Zealand style and the French style—is a good summer wine. The New Zealand style (several available for $12-$17) has hints of tropical fruit and spice and tastes best well-chilled. French Sauvignon Blancs (nice ones between $10 and $12) are more subtle, Galloway says, and they are not as robust in the nose or as pronounced in flavor but more complex in structure. Ray Spooner, maître d’ at Lucca’s, describes Sauvignon Blanc as a “chameleon of a grape.” One of the more popular Sauvignon Blanc’s on Lucca’s wine list is Honig, from the Napa Valley. X This page: Lucca’s Maitre D’ Ray Spooner pours a glass of Picpoul de Pine, while making sure the label is visible. Facing page: Vinho Verde with a slice of orange is always a good wine choice in the heat of summer.

[10] / 596magazine

Spooner would add some ad“It’s got melony fruit characters,” ditional stops in California and the Spooner says. “It’s sometimes grassy Pacific Northwest to the wine tour. with a more mineral taste.” And he would include some reds. Next on the world tour is wine “Helenans are likely to order red from Austria. Galloway recommends wine from Washington, Oregon and Berger Gruner Veltliner ($15). This some from California,” he says. “In wine comes capped in a fashion this restaurant, we serve a lot of Italsimilar to a beer bottle. This wine has ian wine—Chiantis, Pinot Grigio. In floral hints and is low in alcohol. general, Helena people are red wine “These are gorgeous,” Galloway people.” says. “It’s meant to be drank with a Pinot Noir is a frequent choice of vengeance.” diners at Lucca’s. Spooner recomFrom Spain, there’s Paso y Paso mends one made by Jacuzzi Family ($12), made from the Verdejo grape. Vineyards in Carneros, Calif. This is a little heavier on the tongue “It’s got a hint of cherries,” but is textured with a nice crispness, Spooner says. “It’s a little better Galloway says. It’s a great accompaniserved at ambient temperature.” ment to salads, fresh fruit and other A light red wine, such as a L’Ecole No. 41, goes well with cheese and a good bread on any warm summer night. Spooner said the Pinot Noir is good finger foods. with everything from burgers to filet From Spain, we head to South Africa, mignon. where Steen ($10)—a blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, Another favorite, which Spooner recently added to the restauis a good option. rant’s wine list, is L’Ecole Recess Red No. 41. It’s a blend from Walla No wine tour would be complete, of course, without a stop in Walla, Wash. It’s got a label anyone would love—a third-grader’s Italy. One of Galloway’s year-round favorites is Est! Est! Est! ($11). crayon drawing of the old schoolhouse where the winery originated. It’s from town called Montefiascone. Galloway describes it as hav“I chose it because I liked it,” Spooner says. ing lemon in the nose and a nice tropical fruit flavor. Other Italian That’s reason enough to buy any wine. choices are Soaves and Orvietos. A suave classico Galloway recomAs Galloway likes to say when he’s talking about wine: “It should mends is Gini ($20), which has some weight and a complex texture. always be pleasing. You’re supposed to enjoy it.” [!] For Orvieto, a good choice is Campogrande ($15).

[12] / 596magazine

summer/fall 2010


Epic&Trails Epic Rides

These pages: Emmett Purcell, left, and Jonathan Krauss at the top of Mount Ascension where their team of volunteers have improved and built trails on this section of the South Hills in recent years.

I story by john doran photos by eliza wiley

Prickly Pear Land Trust’s trail designers have helped create Helena’s mountain biking Mecca

If there’s one knock on Helena’s prominent mountain biking scene, it’s the lack of epic trails from the heart of town. Indeed, we have everything else, with an incredible, buff single track network minutes from downtown. But that Moab or Sun Valley-type of ride that combines a sustained 25-plus miles of single track, severe technicality, tough climbs and downhill frills is missing. Or is it? Depends on whom you ask, or rather, whom you follow. If you link up Helena’s extensive South Hills trail network, utilizing some of the new connector trails built recently on land acquired through the Prickly Pear Land Trust, all the great rides you could ask for are here, begging to be ridden, challenging the power in your legs and the capacity in your lungs. Finding your own epic route is as easy as following the red dotted lines on the PPLT trails map, or by following someone who knows how to push the envelope of what this mountain biking haven has to offer. X

summer/fall 2010


Tour of the Trails #1

Emmett Purcell, left, and Jonathan Krauss at the top of Mount Ascension

Helena is no stranger to protecting open space. Since 1902, when Mount Helena was replanted with trees after fire and a gazebo was built atop its summit, our people have proactively preserved our natural landscape. Buoyed by the city’s first open space bond issue in 1996 for $5 million, the past 10 years have seen tremendous growth of our prestigious trail system. Over the past nine years, Prickly Pear Land Trust—backed by broad public support—has succeeded in raising or securing more than $1 million in private funds or grants. Together with the city, more than 1,000 acres have been purchased and added as open space or easements. The most expensive and perhaps most sought-after acquisition was in 2000: the 141-acre Timberline property on Mount Ascension for $700,000. The city secured that piece of land from developers in a settlement with property owners. It reaches across the backdrop of Helena, connecting other open space purchases. In 2006, with funds provided by the city, the Montana Wildlife Conservation Trust, Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Recreational Trails program and generous donors, PPLT purchased the first of several more parcels south of the Mount Ascension summit that enabled further access to its peak and the mountain’s existing trails. Parcels 14 and 14A paved the way for Pail Rider and 2006 trails, connecting the city-owned park and the spider web network of trails lower on the mountain. “Fourteen-A really made it possible to connect to Mount Ascension,” says Andy Baur, PPLT executive director. “That was isolated. There was no public access to that until 14A.” Since that time, PPLT has been able to secure other key parcels below Mount Ascension’s summit, and a huge effort is now under way to obtain more. In January, the city purchased the 21-acre Porter parcel from PPLT through a Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust grant for $75,000. That acquisition enabled PPLT to build a new loop trail below the rocky summit that connects the 2006 Trail with Entertainment Trail from the south. The acquisition of the rectangular Porter parcel was instrumental in not only connecting the existing trails, but in forever protecting the city’s forested backdrop. [16] / 596magazine

I’m a creature of habit. I love to ride. I love to ride Ridge Trail. I love to ride Ridge Trail a lot. Thus to me, Mount Ascension has been the forgotten stepchild. She’s been Cinderella minus the Fairy Godmother’s charm. But after discovering the 2006 Trail up to its mile-high peak, I’m begging the clock breaks just before midnight and the climb up Pail Rider and 2006 trails, then down Entertainment Trail, could last all day. Fortunately, this sweet up-and-down is just the first leg of my four-pronged ride. Entertainment Trail is just that if you’re heading down: pure entertainment. But there are brief sections of that trail that aren’t meant to be climbed unless you’re Herculean. Thank goodness for the 2006 Trail, a route carved that year leading—more gently, anyway—to the top. Accessed via the Beattie Street trailhead and Easy Rider Trail, the 2006 Trail is a middle-chain-ring climb all the way, unless you’re saving juice for later in this long ride, where dropping it into granny gear might be a good idea. After punching it to the rocky overlook atop Mount Ascension, it’s an all-white-knuckle ride from there down Entertainment, one of the finest descents in town. There’s a fabulous new section of trail completed in 2009 that extends Entertainment by nearly three-quarters of a mile, winding ever so nimbly on a swooping downhill through a thick stand of trees before reconnecting with the mother ship. Continue past the intersection of Archery Range Trail—a hard-to-swallow bypass—and twist through the tight switchbacks down to Davis Gulch.

Raising money to purchase property is only one aspect of PPLT’s influence on Helena’s open space. The other is its enormous corps of volunteer trail builders. Emmett Purcell is PPLT’s lead trail builder. He’s responsible for the vision, design and maintenance of many of Helena’s trails. But even he can’t do it alone, and thankfully, he doesn’t have to. PPLT averages nearly 400 hours of volunteer labor every year. When you combine it with paid hours put in by the Montana Conservation Corps and the city of Helena, roughly 1,500 hours are devoted every year to build and maintain trails. Much of the recent trail building has focused on linking and expanding Helena’s network. “People love their trails and when they get a chance to piece something together they’ve been thinking about, they get excited like the rest of us to finally see it happen,” Purcell says. The terrain determines much about the trail character, but even that has diversified and progressed over the years. “The parcels dictate it a lot,” Purcell says. “We’re always trying to follow good, sustainable practices. We’re trying to build a trail that will have very little maintenance, that can handle the next 100 years of use, that

keeps safety up.” The more trails the volunteers build, the more the trails are used. That presents a challenge, but one PPLT has thankfully been able to overcome. “We don’t have motors, but you have everything from that casualhiker family to the national-level triathlete,” Purcell says. “You have the speeds of your walkers and the speeds of your riders, and (we) definitely try to keep that safe ... and keep that conflict level down.” ■ It’s easy to forget the lasting contributions of former U.S. senators. One of the many good things former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns did for Helena, with unanimous support from the remainder of the delegation, was secure Land, Water and Conservation Fund dollars in 2005 to help purchase the Spring Hill Mining Claim Block—a 457-acre parcel that had 26 individual mining claims subdivided into the property. The $125,000 appropriation from the offshore oil and gas mining royalty fund was instrumental in securing the property, which stretches across three ridgelines between Orofino and Grizzly gulches. PPLT purchased the property for $495,000 in 2003, and with the LWCF funds secured by Burns and other funding, PPLT was able to

pay off its loan and turn it over to the U.S. Forest Service — forever protecting the land now known as Wakina Sky. It was a complex deal to make it all work. The Montana Discovery Foundation and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust — created from sale of cabin lots at Canyon Ferry Reservoir — also provided funding. As part of the deal, the Montana History Foundation acquired 1.5 acres near the Helena Ranger District station, off the Cedar Street exit. The federal funding was necessary because the exchange value did not cover the total purchase price. Without the Wakina Sky area, Helena’s trail system would be fragmented, with less ability to link ridges together for longer hikes, bike rides or runs on single track. “That was a huge leap for a land trust that at that point was a pretty young organization,” Baur says. Once the purchase was complete, PPLT volunteer trail crews again got to work. They built the new connector trail from Wakina Sky Meadows to Grizzly Gulch, plus the Barking Dog Trail from the meadows to Orofino Gulch. “That’s a great example of where there was an old road that went straight down the hill, crossed private land, and we were able to use chunks of that road and make it sustainable single track,” Baur said of the newer Wakina Sky Trail. ■ As if that weren’t enough, Baur and PurThe second stage of this ride crosses Rodney Ridge to spit you out on Orofino cell marvel at what’s possible. The Eddye Gulch. McClure Trail in the forested hills between X From Entertainment Trail, hook a left and climb up Davis Gulch, turn right on Dry Gulch and take the second unmarked trailhead to the right (Roger Fuchs Trail on the map). The trail — nicknamed “the rock” — climbs quickly before its colloquial namesake throws you to the wolves. The trail comes to a blind knob, and right in front of you is a nearly four-foot vertical drop down a spiky boulder that you can’t even see until you’re right on top of it. It’s almost better not knowing it’s there, relying upon your riding skills instead of the amped-up anticipation of the technical drop. Take the middle line, sit back behind the saddle, stay off the brakes and let your bike do the work. If you hit the far right side, it’ll throw you off trail. If you take the high left side, the fall line is perpendicular to the trail and you’re in trouble. Purcell recently completed a spur around the rock, but the technical challenge is worth the effort. After the “whoa” factor subsides, get back in your groove by linking up Waterline Trail from the big, beautiful meadow atop Rodney Ridge. Take the Rodney Ridge Trail, descend Don’t Fence Me In, and take a left on Waterline — a great contour trail that slowly but surely S-curves along the (what else?) water pipe to Orofino Gulch. Most riders would call it good here and hit the pavement to the Blackfoot Brewery for a post-ride thirst-quencher. Not us. We’re pushing Helena’s epic scene. And to do it, we’re linking up another middle slice of pie — Wakina Sky. Hitch a left on Orofino Gulch, and keep an eye out on the right for Barking Dog Trail — which isn’t going to seem all that fun going up, but it’s worth it. If you’re up for it, do the Wakina Sky-Stairway to Heaven loop, which affords incredible views of the back side of Mount Helena. Either way, descend the upper Wakina Sky Trail to Grizzly Gulch — also a new connector trail that’s much more fun than riding gravel roads. The Wakina Sky to Grizzly Gulch trail is another fun descent, switching back and Mountain bikers forth gradually through the dense forest of the old Spring Hill mining claim. enjoy the extended downhill of the By exiting here, you’ll miss the downhill fun the lower Wakina Sky Trail offers, but Mount Helena Ridge you also cut off about three miles of riding back up Grizzly Gulch. Trail, maintained and Tradeoffs, tradeoffs. improved by Prickly

Tour of the Trails #2

Pear Land Trust volunteers.

Tour of the Trails #3 Any great ride has to link Mount Helena’s trails, so why not Ridge? And why not the full Monty? It’s not until the last pull up Grizzly Gulch that the enormity of this ride sets in. I bust out a lukewarm Rock Star and Snickers Marathon bar at the Ridge trailhead, perusing the billboard map. Following the red dotted lines doesn’t do this ride justice unless you also scour the contour lines of what you’ve climbed and descended. It’s impressive. And some of the best trail riding still awaits. The great part about making Ridge Trail the finale of this long ride is the number of exit plans. Want one of the best downhills in the region? Take E Trail, Mini Ridge or Show Me the Horse. Too tired to push your pedals over the rock garden on the back side of Mount Helena? Come back down Dump Gulch or switch-back down Diretissima to the west side. Want that grand view of the Helena Valley to “drive” home to? Take West End to Prairie, as I do here. About four hours and roughly 26 miles — and nearly 5,000 feet elevation gain — after departure, you’ve set in motion one of two things: Either your soupy legs are screaming to never do this again, or you’ve just solved your own E=mc2 and flicked on the light bulb to bigger and better riding in Helena. Like Obi Wan Kenobi says, “Who’s the more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?”

[18] / 596magazine

Martinez Gulch, Arrowroot and South Hills roads is easily one of the best new trails in the Northwest for its riding diversity, trail building technique and scenery. The trail crosses through private land, but thanks to its owners, has been granted easement. Linking Helena’s east side to the back side of Mount Ascension, it gives mountain bikers yet another long-ride option. Then there’s talk of reestablishing the Brooklyn Bridge trail to Park City and the new trails up on the Continental Divide. PPLT is working with the Forest Service, landowners and the High Divide Trails Partnership to make that a possibility. “Then you have a really epic, 30- or 40-mile loop,” Baur says. “That’s a truly wild place up there and connecting that in to the existing system, and then to the greater Continental Divide, then we have an incredible (ride).” It’s vision like that of Baur and Purcell that has transformed Helena into a true mountain biking paradise. “I’m a big believer of that ‘If you build it they will come’ scenario,” Purcell says. “We’ve made them so that, from going ‘Oh, I wonder if that’s any good?’ and trying to figure out if I should go, it’s more about you’re already going, now it’s like ‘Can I go for two hours or can I go for three hours?’ “You start picking out mountain bike towns in the Northwest, Helena just kind of keeps climbing to that upper echelon of those towns in that, wow, they have all the pieces of the puzzle going on.” [!]

summer/fall 2010




COMEBACK For some it’s a chance to perform and for others it’s a chance to listen, cheer and sing along. Whatever the reason, many are enjoying the resurgence of karaoke night at several local bars

[20] / 596magazine

Theron Ludlow dons his distinctive singing attire when he sings at Riley’s Irish Pub.


Whether the tune is a Tammy Wynette ditty or a Guns N’ Roses jam, everyone has a song in their heart, says karaoke host Troy Ferris. “I think everyone secretly wants to be that screaming rock star,” he says. Ferris is in the business of helping people free their inner rock stars. Business is good. Ferris says he saw karaoke was huge in other places and didn’t understand why it wasn’t popular in Montana. He wondered if people in the Treasure State just weren’t being given the option to sing their favorite tunes. So, about three years ago, Ferris, owner of Jam Entertainment, bought some karaoke equipment. Since then, he’s expanded to having a karaoke night in the Helena area nearly every night of the week. These days, about 50 regulars follow his karaoke nights from bar to bar each week. Their song selections vary about as much as their style and ages. Many of the regulars have true talent, Ferris contends. “The regulars are awesome,” agrees 21-year-old Chelsea Kirby, who says she can’t pick a local karaoke venue that’s her X

Pictured clockwise from top: Ryan Whalen sings to a packed house at Riley’s Irish Pub during their weekly Wednesday night karaoke. Taylor McQuesten, left, and Theron Ludlow sing Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter. Karaoke-goers wander in and out of Riley’s. Regular Bobby Goetsch sings Build Me Up Buttercup by Fountain Kristin Lonnes sings Together Again by Janet Jackson.

favorite. She likes them all, but prefers those where the singing rotation is shorter. The wait to sing can be upwards of an hour-and-a-half at times. But, Kirby says, it’s worth the wait to belt out her tunes like I Love Rock ’n Roll and Pour Some Sugar on Me. Her sometimes duet partner, Brandy Dullum of East Helena, agrees on the lack of a favored karaoke spot. “We go to all of them,” says Dullum, who got into karaoke about seven months ago. Bobby Goetsch, 53, prefers Haps on Sunday nights because the rotation is small and the crowd is fun. Build Me Up Buttercup is one of his go-to songs. “I wasn’t going to do it tonight,” he says. “I thought I might be burning it out but someone asked me to do it.” Goetsch admits he had a bit of stage fright until recently. “I just like to sing. I never thought I had a great voice.” Trying a new song can be nerve wracking, Goetsch says, but the karaoke hosts help cheer on the singers. The hosts know what it’s like to pick up the microphone for the first time with trembling hands. Piper “DJ Piper” Jackson sang karaoke for the first time in January. He started hosting after Ferris caught one of his songs and approached him. “The rush of getting on stage—it still gives me a rush,” Jackson says. “You’re what the crowd is paying attention to.” Jackson and the other hosts cycle through each karaoke night. “Riley’s has the most variety of characters,” he says of the Wednesday-night karaoke gig. “It’s a huge variation here.” On Thursday nights, the karaoke crew takes over the V.F.W. in East Helena and Lakeside Bar. Saturday night’s gigs are Smith’s Scott Hamilton gets into Counting Crows’ Mr. Jones Wednesday night at Riley’s Irish Pub. Photo by Dylan Brown.

Bar, which offers mostly country and rock fare, Jackson says, and Chubby’s Bar & Grill in Clancy, where country and hip hop are the most popular genres. Hap’s Bar on Sunday nights offers mostly rock music. Some of the most popular songs karaoke enthusiasts sign up for locally, Jackson says, are Suds in the Bucket by Sara Evans, Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert and I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas. As for Jackson, his top choices to belt out are Nickelback’s Something in Your Mouth, Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive and Enter Sandman by Metallica. Theron Ludlow, 72, prefers country western and bluegrass. Ludlow heads to Riley’s Irish Pub every Wednesday and sings karaoke an average of four times a week. Ludlow is known for his singing attire, which is “kind of a rebel or Confederate outfit.” “I’ve been dressing in it so many years, I’m just used to having it,” he says of his [24] / 596magazine

black hat, red scarf, high boots and sidebutton shirt. Jackson says Ludlow is a fixture in the Helena karaoke scene. “You’ll see him at most of the shows,” the host says. “He does it because he loves to sing.” Zach Bain began as a karaoke host about a year ago. He said he first sang when Ferris, his uncle, was getting started in the business. When singing for himself, Bain often picks something from Hootie and the Blowfish or Disturbed. For the crowd, he opts for more 80’s rock like Alice Cooper’s Poison. “Typically the ones geared more toward sex,” he explains. “You’re in a bar drinking, so that’s what is on everyone’s minds.” Ferris agrees with his nephew about the addictiveness of karaoke. “Each time you sing, you gain more confidence,” he says. “I understand what music does for me and what it does for other people. It’s definitely my therapy.” [!] summer/fall 2010


welcome to

townsend August 21, 2010: ABATE – Matt Guthrie Run (Motorcycle) at the Fish Tale Tavern. Contact Charlene Guthrie at 266-3073. August 27, 28 & 29, 2010: Fish Tale Invitational Slow Pitch Softball Tournament. Contact Mike Delger at 266-5501 or Pat Hamilton at 266-3818. October 2 & 3, 2010: Townsend Fall Fest & Antique Car Show. Contact Laura Obert at 980-1648 or Jamie Williams 266-4336 (Car Show inquiries only).

[26] / 596magazine

Sheriff’s Department County Solid Waste County Treasurer County Weed Rural Fire Department Justice of the Peace

266-3441 266-5877 266-9215 266-9243 266-5535 266-9230

Townsend City Services 266-9225 266-5535 266-3911 266-5441 266-5144 266-5441

December 4, 2010: Christmas Stroll 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Townsend Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Mary Upton at 266-4101.

City Attorney City Fire City Hall City Judge Pool Public Works

Townsend/Broadwater County Services County Attorneyrney 266-9225 County Commissioners 266-9203 County DES 266-5214 County Extension 266-9242 Health Services 266-5209 County Museum 266-5252 County Sanitarian 266-5014

Other Community Services Ambulance 266-3441 Hospital & Emergency 266-3186 District Court Clerk 266-9236 State Highway Maintenance 266-5571 Library 266-5060 Elementary School 266-3942 High School 266-3455

summer/fall 2010


Hikes with Tykes Story & Photos by John Doran Graphics by Denny Lester

Hard-core outdoor dads dial it back a bit to introduce their kids to the joy of backpacking

This page: A group of dads and daughters leads the rest of the pack through dense forest on the trail into the Blackfoot Meadows. Facing page: From left, Aase Hahn, Ellie Doran, Astri Hahn, Willa Bishop and Finn Doran warm up by the fire after arriving at camp.


I’ve joined the lightweight backpacking revolution with the fervor of scores of millions of screaming Beatles fans before me. I’ve sawed toothbrushes in half, purchased a 3-ounce titanium stove and 10-ounce cook pot, slept in bivy sacks under weightless tarps in the driving rain, eaten Top Ramen five days straight in the middle of nowhere, pared down every piece of gear-head gear to a bare minimum — all to cut weight. I’ve traded a 60-pound pack lugged with axes, camp chairs, kitchen pots and pans for a 30-pound go-anywhere, do-anything cruiser. I’ve added years to my life, robbed potential dollars from chiropractors, increased durations and distances on hikes. But I’ve never backpacked with two children. go to page 34 X Until now.

This page: Aase Hahn giggles at a sticky s’more while roasting another marshmallow during a backpacking trip in mid-July. Facing page: Ellie Doran, top, packs a sleeping bag, pad, jacket and her camera. By age 6 or 7, most children can carry up to 10 to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack. But keeping it light is key. Bottom: Cold creeks are perfect for chilling adult beverages, like a 12-pack of PBR.

e k a M ! n u F It

Camping with children undoubtedly brings highs and lows, and you need to be ready for both. To make it all that much easier, here’s our list of trail-tested advice for backpacking with children.

hn D By Jo


6 months to 2 years Whenever your baby is old enough to hold his head up and be carried in a backpack, he’s ready to go backpacking. Some parents fret over taking a baby on overnight trips, but they’re really the ideal hiking companion. They’re reasonably light and rarely complain. Call to action: Just do it. You can pack babies almost anywhere, so long as you are prepared and take caution to shield your little one from the elements. Challenge: Diapers. Pack ’em in, pack ’em out. Sleeping: There’s no need to worry about your child in the tent. Snuggle her up next to you, and she’ll be warm, comfortable and safe. You can also zip together two bags, or bundle up that tyke in a puffy down jacket. Be sure your baby wears a hat, and cut a small sleeping pad from some cheap foam to keep her warm. Tips: Never skip a nap. Your whole life depends on it. Plan every day around the nap. Your life, and your child’s, will be miserable without it. Essential gear: The single best piece of gear you can own is a sturdy, comfortable child-carrier backpack. Kelty and Deuter make excellent models with varying degrees of stuff-ability. You’ll want an internal frame that is sizeable to the child and the parent. Go with all the bells and whistles here.

8 to 12 years Let the fun begin. You now have little backpackers on your hands. Call to action: Think natural wonderland — choose a spot with a fun destination that will keep kids’ interest piqued throughout the trip. Lakes, creeks, waterfalls, wildlife, boulder fields, caves. Keep the hiking distance short, and reserve the entire afternoon for exploration. Take a daypack — let them carry one, too — stuff it with food, water, maps and gear and leave the base camp. Challenge: It’s the yin and the yang. They’re energetic and optimistic, eager to do “big kid” things, yet they’re not quite capable of the most extreme activities. Fishing for hours without reeling in a trout, or realizing their limitations in bouldering, for instance, are bummers. Sleeping: Get a real backpacking tent. Choose the double-walled, three- or four-season backpacking tent. Split up between two adults, even the largest of tents is light enough to cart into the wild, and you’ll need the space. Tips: Let them carry their own packs, stuffed with light items and overflowing with snacks (if it’s readily available to them, they won’t be bugging you to unhitch your pack all the time). They’re old enough to carry 10 to 20 percent of their body weight, and it gives them a sense of purpose. Plus, it lightens your load. Just be sure your child’s pack fits well and is suitable for backpacking. Essential gear: Aside from a worthy backpack, hiking shoes are a must. As soon as children begin to carry their own pack, they need rigid foot support. Merrell, HiTech and Garmont make sturdy and fashionable junior hikers that offer better traction and higher ankle support. Key item to pack: Tent games or child-oriented gear. Toys are big: a compass, magnifying glass, thermometer, bug jar, or Frisbee can provide activities throughout a camping trip.

3 to 7 years This is the most challenging age for backpacking. They’re too big to carry, too little to walk long distances, and prone to meltdowns. But it’s also the time when they’re bursting with curiosity and develop their first memories of the outdoors. Call to action: Go on short trips. Look for good camp sites around three miles or less with natural features. If possible, plan trips with other kids or families. It’s much easier to keep children entertained when they have a friend to share the experience. Challenges: Staving off the meltdown. Children love adventures. Keep them engaged in their surroundings. Make a big deal out of wildflowers, animal tracks or scat. And be creative. Sleeping: Stick to normal sleep habits. There are also plenty of outdoor retailers who make toddler sleeping bags, and it’s high time older children get their own bag. Tips: Consider trails where you can load up your jogger stroller with as much gear as possible. This gives tired tots a chance to rest while you still make tracks toward the camp site. Also, pack a couple bottles or cans of your favorite beer or wine. Once the kiddies go night-night, you can enjoy them by the campfire. Essential gear: A modified first-aid kit with children’s or infant’s acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen; children’s antihistamine (pour each into smaller bottles and label each with the proper dosage); plenty of kid-friendly Band-Aids; sunscreen; and a pack or two of antibacterial wipes. Key item to pack: Two trail-tested pieces of gear that help pull children out of a funk are trekking poles and headlamps. Both are available in kid sizes. Pick a lightweight LED headlamp with a large on/off button so little fingers can trigger it. Trekking poles are adventuresome and give children a sense of adulthood. [32] / 596magazine


ics by h p a r G er y Lest n n e D

This can be the most fun age group of all. They are old enough to explore on their own, and able to do most — if not all — activities, including camp chores. This age is the time when deep relationships with nature form. Call to action: Give them their own space, but give them also a sense of duty. Let them set up the tent, or gather the firewood, or purify the water. Let them venture off on their own, well-defined adventures. And let them become involved with the decision-making, on choosing where to hike, what route to scramble or what activities to do at camp. But keep them in check, too. They’re often over-ambitious. Challenge: Remaining positive and spontaneous. There’s always the challenge of the teenage disposition, and to cure that, bring a friend. If they’re sulking, they can do it together. Sleeping: Two words: two tents. Teens don’t want to sleep with you, and you don’t want to sleep with them. Tips: Pack lots of food, way more than you think you’ll need. When they’re as active as in backpacking, they’re going to need plenty of energy. Essential gear: By this time, teenagers need to be fully outfitted for backpacking: a worthy pack, hiking boots and all the necessary clothing. They should have their own compass, pocket knife and other smaller gear. Or get them hooked on outdoor-friendly devices, like GPS units. Check at to see if there are any geocaching opportunities near your destination. Key items to pack: Inexpensive digital or disposable camera, and a journal. Why not let Mother Nature inspire emotions other than “awesome” and “cool, dude?”

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reaching the meadows, giving you lots of options to play your hand. The trail is mainly flat, gaining just 500 or so feet in total elevation. It starts out on wide and rolling double track just past the Kading Campground, and meanders up a wooded valley in the proposed Electric Peak Wilderness along the Little Blackfoot River, which is only 10 feet wide or less and very shallow in places. Wild iris, Indian paintbrush and just-sprouting bear grass line the landscape. It’s a perfect trail in which to load up a jogger stroller or bike trailer—a good idea for giving smaller children a rest or for packing all the extra gear you’ll need for the kids. Plus, you can put the beer in the undercarriage tote! Only a few washed-out sections are tricky. (However, if the proposed wilderness area is designated, strollers or bike trailers would not be allowed.) At about 1.5 miles in there is a good camp spot in a small meadow

near a bridge crossing, and another a bit farther up the trail on the right overlooking the creek. We selected the beauty by the bridge — “Indian Village,” the girls called it — as the clouds grew dark with imminent rain. The dads quickly set up the tents and rain flies while the kids huddle under the shelter of a few pines that haven’t been hit by beetles. They’re snacking and giggling while Matt stocks our “fridge” with some beer in the ice-cold creek before setting up his own tent in a lush spot under the pine canopy. The meadows, where there are more well-developed campsites at 6,700 feet elevation, are a beautiful spot to picnic, fish or camp, too. Trout are small in the pond and river, but are plentiful and hungry —giving tykes a chance to get hooked on fly-fishing. Andy catches a little brookie about every other cast while Jamul X

Finn Doran, top, takes a crack at a wiffle ball on a tee. Packing in fun (and light) toys or games is a must for backpacking with children. Jamul Hahn, bottom, serves up some eggs, sausage and peppers to Caroline Baur while her dad, Andy, sips some morning joe.

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That lightweight revolution thing? Forget about it. Depending on the age of your child, you’ll be packing at least twice as much of the heavy stuff—food and clothes— and more of what you never expected— diapers, dolls, toys, games and anything else to keep them, and you, happy. After all, a happy child is a happy parent, especially in the wilderness. And who’d want it any other way? In early July I took our daughter, Ellie, 6, and our son, Finn, who just turned 3, on a backpacking trip near the Blackfoot Meadows. Ellie has been backpacking a handful of times, but for Finn, our little spitfire, it was his first overnight trip. We’d been car camping, of course, but that offers two bits of paradise a pack does not: a car loaded with every desirable luxury, and Mom. Neither was anywhere close on this trip. Fortunately, however, Ellie’s good friends Caroline, Aase, Astri and Willa were. And so were their dads: Andy Baur, Jamul Hahn and Matt Bishop. Four dads. Six young children. Two days and one night in the woods. We couldn’t have pulled it off any better. There are dos and don’ts, however, to make each backpacking trip with children smooth sailing. It’s vital for children to enjoy the experience now, so they’ll be excited about doing it again in the future. Do pack more than you think you’ll need; do find creative ways of lightening your load—which is no doubt going to be heavy. Don’t shortchange your list of items [34] / 596magazine

and ideas to keep your children comfortable and happy. You want the experience to be good, and skimping on the proper planning, clothing, gear or kid-centric activities is a no-no. But there’s all that gear, all that planning, all those meltdowns (theirs and, potentially, ours) and all that effort. So why do we do it? Is it even worth it? Everything is a little more work when backpacking with children, but the payoffs are double, too. And considering all the places a child could spend her time and develop her interests, there’s no better place than in Mother Nature. It doesn’t get much better than the trail to the Blackfoot Meadows for that first—or any—backpacking trip with little tykes. It’s close to home; is only five miles total on an easy trail; and the destination is a virtual wonderland. There are several ace campsites along the Little Blackfoot River before the summer/fall 2010


and Matt, well, better luck next time. Beaver dams abound at the meadows, where the pond was formed by an old log and rock-filled dam. The spillway is a snarl of dead trees, raising the pond level and flooding the meadows during runoff. The main swampy areas are above the pond, so if you’re planning to camp at the meadows, be sure to load up on bug juice. Skeeters aren’t too bad down lower where we camp. Once you’ve set up camp, the bounty is boundless. The creek offers all-day sanctity and a never-ending source of fun for children. Skipping rocks. “Painting” downed logs with pine needle cluster “paint brushes.” Wading. Fishing. Keep the children well fed and let them explore all this area has to offer. If you’re lucky, they’ll easily transition from one activity to another. Don’t overlook your role as a parent to keep them engaged and enjoying each other, however. We bring a wiffle ball, bat and

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tee that Finn crushes “homers” with all afternoon. By dusk, the glowstick necklaces keep the girls going strong. As the sun hugs low against the mountainscape, finally breaking through the clouds and constant chance for sprinkles, we stoke the fire and settle into our tents to put the kids down. It’s almost 10 p.m.—way past bedtime—but the kids are exhausted. Soon, they’re fast asleep in their synthetic bags. Even the tent zippers don’t wake the worn-out rugrats. After the day they’ve had, it’s no wonder. The dads crack open the last of the creek-chilled beers and BS by the fire until the firewood and our energy are both zapped. We cover the gear for the potential rain, grab our last few items to take inside the tent, pour some water over the embers and put head to pillow ourselves. It may have been a hard day’s night, but in moments, we’re all sleeping like mossy logs. [!]

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By Marga Lincoln

G Helenans finding friendship, sense of community and fresh food in co-op garden projects Local gardeners Edna Ahl, left, Sara Coffey and Sarah Bhimani take a break from picking radishes to enjoy the sunshine during a day of gardening. Fresh radishes harvested from one of Helena’s community gardens. Photos by Ben Coulter, Independent Record.

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growing PLACES

Gardener Kathy Shuck holds a bunch of large, white turnips she’s just harvested from her plot at the Food Share Community Garden. “I’ve gardened every place I lived,” she says on a sunny morning. “These gardens are real important for me for fresh organic produce and the mind and soul part when you’re out gardening.” She’s not the only one relying on a community garden space. Currently, there are five community gardens, four of them built and managed by the Growing Community Project, and another operated by the city of Helena on Waukesha Avenue. Altogether, the gardens offer 100 community garden spaces. But demand is steadily growing. Each garden has a waiting list, and the city, in response, is expanding gardens into three new city parks. Shuck, who lives on disability, relies on plots at three different community gardens to provide her food. In addition to the turnips, she grows tomatoes, corn, snap peas, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, Swiss chard, spinach, tatsoi, squash, shallots, beans, lettuce, basil and herbs. Another gardener who stopped go to page 41

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so I think it’s good for grandchildren to be involved with it.” Ahl, who has spinal stenosis, is looking forward to new raised-bed by the garden is Sarah Coffey, a young mom. She is number 29 on a garden spaces opening up at Janet Street Park next year. “I live in a waiting list for a plot at the Waukesha community garden. senior apartment building,” she says. “When you live in an apartCoffey is lucky, though. A lady volunteered her back yard this ment building, this is the only way you can do it. year as a garden space, and Coffey’s been using it. “Gardening is very “I just want to say Helena should be very proud of their commuimportant to me, so we can get fresh nity gardens,” Ahl added. “I love organic food that’s available and to the way they do it here that they Gardens that feed body, mind and soul teach my children how to grow food,” have gardens in different neighHere’s a list of the community gardens in the Helena area. Several she says. borhoods.” churches and youth/group homes also have gardens that are not listed It’s not just the healthy food she For Ed Cowan, the community here. Check with your parish cares about, but also a healthy planet garden is a good way for him to • Exploration Garden, which is half ExplorationWorks and half and reducing our ecological footprint. give back to the community. He community garden, behind the YMCA, 1200 N. Last Chance Gulch. She wants to teach her daughter, stops by the Food Share garden • Food Share Community Garden, (half of the beds are for Maya, about how to grow food without every other day to help weed and community gardeners and half are Volunteer for Veggie plots for Food using pesticides and the value of eating water. He particularly likes the Share), 1616 Lewis St. local food. “I try to buy organic foods. Volunteer for Veggie plots, where • Plymouth Community Garden, 400 S. Oakes. At the store it’s flown in from across volunteers show up one evening a the world, here it’s grown locally.” week to tend plots for Food Share • Cruse Overlook Community Garden, overlooking Cruse Avenue, She sees other benefits to the and, in return, can take home located behind and between St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and gardens, as well. “I like growing food as some vegetables. Sunset Apartments. part of the community and getting to In 2009, Volunteers for Veggies • Waukesha Community Garden, Waukesha Park, corner of know my neighbors,” Coffey says. donated 1,687 pounds of veggies Waukesha Avenue and Garrison Street. The community garden reminds to Food Share, which was raised Edna Ahl of her childhood, when her in plots at the Food Share Garden grandparents had a garden the size of the whole Food Share Commuand in two beds at Plymouth garden, notes Sarah Bhimani. She’s an nity Garden. “We ate everything out of the garden,” she says. “This AmeriCorps Vista volunteer who oversees the Growing Community kind of brings it back.” Project, which was started in 2007 by two nonprofits, WEEL (WorkAhl has been tending a plot down at Exploration Garden with her ing for Equality and Economic Liberation) and AERO (Alternative 7-year-old grandson, Aston. “Now Aston will be able to do it later, go to page 43 X Energy Resources Organization). from page 39

Les Clark is the mastermind behind the Cruse Overlook Community Garden that sits below St. Paul’s Methodist Church.

Master of the Garden 

In his campaign to bring fresh vegetables to the community, Les Clark becomes a Master Gardener Story by Marga Lincoln


Some accomplished gardeners are content to grow prodigious pumpkins or dazzling dahlias. But Les Clark set his sights on something more ambitious. He planted the seed and grew the new Cruse Overlook Community Garden, with the help of an army of volunteers and the Growing Community Project. Tucked between St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Sunset Apartments above Cruse Avenue, the new garden’s 16 raised beds are bursting with salad greens, potatoes, tomatoes, basil, marigolds and much more. “I’ve enjoyed gardening all my life,” Clark says. “I wanted to create spaces for people to garden.” As for the Cruse plot, “it’s got the best view of any community garden in Helena,” he adds with a touch of pride. Few would argue this point. From this hilltop perch, gardeners are offered a stunning view of Mount Helena in the distance and a bird’s eye gander at the historic downtown below. Equally inspiring are the well-tended garden spaces, all of them at about knee height, which makes them accessible for those with disabilities. “In all the new (community) gardens, 10 percent have to be accessible,” Clark says. “We went for 100-percent accessible.” The design was no afterthought. Clark worked for the Montana

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Photo by Dylan Brown Independent Living Project for 16 years. “We were always trying to develop resources and make sure things were accessible.” On the day we are touring the garden, he’s wearing a faded ADA T-shirt sporting the slogan, “to boldly go where everyone has gone before.” While the seed of the garden idea came to Clark several years ago, it was a Master Gardening class this spring that gave him some additional skills to help it grow. Clark, a member of St. Paul’s Church and its landscape team for the past six years, has put great energy into beautifying the church’s surroundings with trees and flower beds. “He is one of the guys on the landscape team who gets it done, even when he had knee replacement surgeries, he was still out there,” says Lois Neal, St. Paul’s communications and adult ministry coordinator. “It was his idea in the first place for the community garden.” “The original idea was to build a community garden where church members could be mentors,” Clark says. And he had just the space in mind—a large patch of knapweed-infested ground that was a deer highway. go to page 42

X summer/fall 2010


from page 40


But as with many good things in life, complications cropped up. The land was right-of way that was owned by the state, but managed by the city. “The city had never given permission to do anything like this,” he says. It took a lot of partnerships to make the garden a reality. St. Paul’s pays for insurance and water and provided grant money. The Growing Community Project, a collaboration of two local nonprofits, WEEL (Working for Equality and Economic Liberation) and AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization), offered community garden know-how. An Eagle Scout, Jacob Mangum, and his landscape architect father, Bardell, did the garden design and also recruited workers. Volunteers arrived in droves. More than 100 have helped this year, with as many as 50 on one day. Among them was the Youth Conservation

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Corps, which showed up to move the dirt, lots of it. Then the gardeners came this spring—some 25 to 30 share the 16 spaces, which were first offered to residents at Sunset Apartments. Some of the Sunset people have major disabilities, and not a lot of resources, notes Clark. There’s also a team from the Center for Mental Health that shares a space. With the church paying for the water, all these community garden spaces are free, which is not the case at other community gardens in Helena. Although all the beds were snapped up this spring, they’re open to gardeners from anywhere in town. But there is a waiting list. Although Clark has been gardening more than 30 years, he decided this spring to take a Master Gardening class offered by the Lewis and Clark County Extension Office. “The reason I wanted to be a Master Gardener was to be more helpful,” he says. “I didn’t realize how little I knew. I thought I knew just about everything, but I learned a lot. I learned a lot about soils and soil fertility that I’ve applied so far. I learned a bit more about when to plant stuff and the spacing.” He also learned about trees—how to plant them and place the roots and what makes trees fail. And since the garden is organic, he needed to learn nonchemical means for doing pest control. “I found the class pretty challenging,” he says. “I liked the challenge of learning as much as I could. It was very comprehensive.” Level 1 of the class covers the core basics of gardening, such as soil science, botany and other core background. Level 2 and 3 are more intensive and hands-on. The value of the class, adds extension agent Brent Sarchet, “is the knowledge gained through the course—where you can successfully grow fruits and vegetables for your family, plus there’s the fruits of your labor and the pride of growing something.” [!]

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One of the many things she likes about community gardens is that it brings people together. “You get to talk to people,” Bhimani says. “You’re not just digging in the dirt, but you’re sharing with people. It’s about access to healthy food and it’s about education. That’s what makes community gardens so special.” It’s also about bringing generations together. One of Bhimani’s favorite moments was watching a mother explain to her young son the process of planting and tending a garden. “I really like that parents are teaching their kids that growing food is something important,” she says. The Growing Community Project is working closely with Amy Teegarden, director of the city Parks and Recreation Department, to expand gardening opportunities in Helena. For the past six months, they’ve been working on a draft agreement addressing how to manage community garden spaces on public land. The city has operated one community garden at Waukesha Park for almost 30 years. On a recent parks department survey, new garden spaces came out as a high priority. The city is working on master plans for six parks. Three of the parks—Janet Street, Selma Held and Skelton—have been selected to have community gardens. “I think it’s a very appropriate function for the parks department to provide garden space,” Teegarden says. “We just have to decide how it should be managed and paid for.” The Waukesha Garden hasn’t raised its fees in 30 years, Teegarden says. The $860 that the 43 plots generate is far less than the water costs of $3,500. “We’re at a crossroads,” she says. “It’s my hope after I get direction from the city commission, we can really start managing a community garden program.” [!]

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East Helena Farmers Market Every Tuesday through September 21. 4-6:30 p.m. in City Hall Parking Lot. Contact Brent Sarchet 438-0027 or Wayne O’Brien 449-7446 East Helena Swimming Pool Open through August 29. Call 2276443 or 227-5321. Hot Rod Show September 11 at the Main St. Park. Benefit for the planned Gazebo to be built at the Main Street Park. Contact Bill Casey 459-1816. First Annual RAM –Trail Run September 25, 9:30 a.m. at the JFK park. Early entry fees deadline September 10. $10 for the ½ mile kid’s fun run, $15 for the 5K run/walk and $40 for a family entry fee. Race day registration 8-9 a.m. Late entry fee is an additional $5. Proceeds to benefit the education of students at Helena Christian School on Canyon Ferry Road. Contact Dawn Peterson at

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461-9406 or John Pavao at 442-9589. East Helena Fright Night October 31. Main street businesses open to Trick-or-Treaters 5-7 p.m. Costume contest at 6 p.m. with prizes at City Hall. Contact Vi Johnson at 461-2774. East Helena Branch of the Lewis & County Library is now open at 16 East Main, 227-5750. East Helena City Service Numbers EH City Hall Fire Department All other calls Police Dept. Non-emergency calls Administration Water Dept.

227-5321 911 227-5321 911 227-5377 227-8686 227-5321

A at home in the

At first he says no, he’s not really interested, but then he says maybe. He tells me he’s retired, so what the heck, he’s got plenty of time to chat, and that’s where Miller A. Mathews begins his story. The man with two last names—as he will tell you—is sipping coffee in his home with his little dog Jessie at his side. His yard is edged to perfection, his flowers are in full bloom. The house sits as quiet as a mouse at midnight, even though it’s the middle of the day. “I’ve got a push lawnmower, right, and the hand clippers,” Mathews says, clutching his mug of afternoon coffee. “I’ve got a weed eater and power mower my kids got me, but they are sitting in the basement. I enjoy doing things the old fashioned way.” Mathews has been spotted on more than one occasion edging his lawn with a shovel, pushing the reel mower across the grass, weeding and trimming with the hand clippers. Sure, the outlet for an extension cord sits within easy reach, and the gas station is just down the road. But Mathews prefers the implements of his youth, even when the job calls for something more robust. X

OUTDOORS Armed with a push mower and hand clippers, Miller Mathews prefers doing things the old fashioned way Story by Martin J. Kidston | Photos by Eliza Wiley [46] / 596magazine

summer/fall 2010


‘I enjoy the fresh air and I like the exercise. When I’m outside, I’m not bothering my sweet little wife.’ Miller Mathews

At 82 years old and with plenty of time to spare, the retired banker keeps a tidy place. The geraniums burst in great red blossoms on the back porch. The daisies reach for the sun. There’s not a weed in sight and the water is fresh in the bird bath. “I enjoy the fresh air and I like the exercise,” Mathews says. “When I’m outside, I’m not bothering my sweet little wife.” Mathews built his Winnie Street home in 1968. The boulder in his backyard was excavated during the home’s construction, a project that took place the same year as the Tet Offensive in Vietnam and the Green Bay Packers’ victory in Super Bowl II. Back then Winnie was a gravel road and Mathews had few neighbors. Now, the trees have grown up around the house. His views of the valley, once unfettered, are offered through open pockets of trees. Winnie is paved and the traffic moves fast.

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It’s a simple analogy to a different time, though Mathews is fond of the way things used to be. Born in Moore, a tiny central Montana community, he worked 40 years as a banker, running a Merchant Figure-Matic office machine—a large hunk of steel capable of tabulating numbers the same way a tiny electronic calculator does it today. The thing is, Mathews never used a calculator, not even in 1993 when he retired. When he left, the adding machine went with him. “The bank said no one else could run this old-fashioned machine but you, so take it with you,” Mathews says, punching in a simple formula to demonstrate its powers of calculation. “They gave it to me.” Like his choice of yard tools, the machine is good enough to get the job done. His RCA console television shows the news as good as any new flat screen. His dog, Jessie, makes for good company. “I’m retired now, so I’ve got plenty of time,” he says with a grin. [!]

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[7 reasons why]

7 Reasons Why ... The Blackfoot River Brewery’s oak bourbon cask-conditioned ales are the firkin real deal 1] Cask-conditioned ale, also referred to as “real ale,” is the term for unfiltered and unpasteurized beer which is conditioned and served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. The Blackfoot’s are conditioned and served from oak bourbon barrels, or firkins, at cellar temperature of around 55 degrees. A firkin is equal to nine imperial gallons, or seventy-two pints. 2] Purists applaud this method of serving because of the unique flavor characteristics imparted to the beer. Secondary fermentation in the cask ensures that the beer is as fresh as it can possibly be and prevents the loss of any flavor through filtration or pasteurization. The result is a beer that is more reflective of the brewer’s intention.

3] More unique brewing techniques, such as a recent firkin of Cream Ale the Blackfoot “dry hopped” with Jasmine flowers. The Jasmine aroma was subtle and complemented the Cream Ale quite well. 4] The beer engine tap handle is a throwback. The hand pump is the traditional way of dispensing cask beer. Unlike most draft beer in bars, which use carbon dioxide or nitrogen to force beer up through the lines to the tap, cask beer is pumped strictly by air pressure or gravity. 5] What it’s not: It is not what television commercials tell us beer should be. It is not the light, fizzy beverage that is usually presented by busty blonds in bikinis. It is not ice cold and it is not topped with a foamy white head spilling over the brim of a frosted mug. Cask conditioned beer is an ultimate departure from the commercial stereotype. 6] Until recently, sampling beer served in this traditional way would usually require a trip to England (where they refer to cask beer as real ale), but beer engines and the cask conditioned offerings that flow from them are becoming more common among microbreweries in the Northwest. Story by John Doran Photo by Eliza Wiley

7] A little goes a long way. You can sample good beers without going overboard. Drink responsibly.

summer/fall 2010


[laughs chance gulch]

[my office] Sherry Cladouhos Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO By Butch Larcombe

Sherry Cladouhos says her office is a reflection of her management style. During a recent visit, the only paperwork visible on her desk was neatly stacked into a pile about an inch thick. “I did clean up the pile,” she admitted when

Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Sherry Cladouhos in her office on Park Avenue. Photo by Eliza Wiley


asked if she had tidied her desk before visitors arrived. “Most days, it’s clean. I’m very organized.” But as the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Cladoudos’s zest for orderliness is quite understandable. Blue Cross Blue Shield insures more than one quarter of Montana’s residents. The company has roughly 600 employees. Staying on track is critical. Cladouhos has developed a major ally in the organizational war. Her name is Velma Dalton, her administrative assistant. “She’s really the CEO of the company,” Cladouhos admits. “We’ve worked together for many years.” While she has been the Blue Cross CEO for about five years, Cladouhos, an East Helena native, has worked for the 70-year-old company for 36 years. / 596magazine

“My leadership style is to spend a lot of time listening to and using my staff,” she says. “They are the ones who have all the answers. I spend a lot of time communicating with our employees and taking care of our members.” Cladouhos travels regularly around Montana and makes quarterly trips to Chicago. In the last 18 months, she spent plenty of time in Washington, D.C., talking to politicians and others about health care legislation. Her office, organized as it is, does offer a few hints to her non-work interests. A shelf holds photos of her three children, all of whom live outside Montana, and two grandchildren. Above that, is a large framed collage of photos of people that she and her husband encountered while trekking in India. “It was a wonderful, very enlightening, spiritual trip,” she says. Cladouhos enjoys rigorous outdoor pursuits but struggles to find time to pursue them fully. For a trip to the summit of Aconcagua, at 22,841 feet, the highest peak in North or South America, she and her husband trained in the winter months by hauling rocks up and down Mount Helena. But her office only reflects those adventures in a minor way. There is a large photo of the Rocky Mountain Front taken by a friend. Another 1988 photo shows a ridgeline of wildfire in the Elkhorn Mountains, not far from her family’s ranch. While her office, on the fourth floor of the company’s building at 560 N. Park Ave., offers views of the Elkhorns, the Cathedral of St. Helena, the Civic Center’s landmark spire and Carroll College, Cladouhos says she spends much of her office time in front of a computer and has no particular attachment to her work space. “I don’t get to look out too often,” she says. “Too bad my office isn’t in the basement. That would have been fine by me.” [!]

summer/fall 2010


[last call]

Mountain Wave Rider Surf ’s up, Montana style, as Brooke Mahoney rips up and down a wave produced by Tim Davis’ 2008 Tige RZ2 near the Causeway on Hauser Lake in July. The surfer begins her ride with a rope then eventually casts it aside and the free ride behind the slow-moving boat begins. The image was shot with a Nikon D3 at an aperture setting of f 6.3 at 1/160 of a second with a 24mm focal length.

Photo by ElizaWiley


596, helena, montana

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