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Fun in the Snow

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Full Moon Winter Rendezvous will feature snowshoeing

When Christmas passes and the New Year’s festivities have subsided, many of us literally turn in for that long winter’s nap. The month of January offers plenty of reasons to become a recluse until the sun shines again. However, those reasons for nearly going into hibernation are the very same reasons for stepping out of the house and right into the middle of winter for some of the best fun to be found any time of the year – snow, snow and snow.

Granted, snow has been a bit sparse so far this winter, but it’s bound to fall sooner or later and, when it does, some of us in the Noxon and Troy area aim to be ready to frolic in it. To capitalize on the abundance of winter we ordinarily enjoy along the Clark Fork River, some folks got together to organize the first ever Cabinet Mountains Full Moon Winter Rendezvous. The weekend of January 18 & 19 will be full of outdoors activities and events meant to entice and please people of all ages.

The idea, the first event for the Vermilion River Mountain Bike and Hiking Club, was to organize a snowshoe race through the Cabinet Mountains called the Ironlegs Wilderness Challenge. But when Dieter Scholz of Cabinet Mountain Ice and Water got involved, the idea grew by leaps and bounds to include a great deal more. The centerpiece of the weekend will still be a snowshoe race – nearly 30 miles in length from Rock Creek near Noxon to Bull Lake south of Troy – but there will be lots of other things going on for those who aren’t interested in such a demanding event.

The weekend’s festivities will begin at 9:00 am at Scholz’s Cabinet Mountain Ranch east of Noxon (turn onto Rock Creek Road near milepost 17 on Highway 200 and go 2.5 miles to Scholz Road, then almost a mile to the ranch) on Saturday the 18th. The day will include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, exhibitions of primitive survival skills by various mountain men, a cowboy shooting demonstration by the Rocky Mountain Rangers using 19th century weaponry and free food and beverages. There may also be horse-drawn sleigh rides available and a dog sled team on hand for an exhibition. If the weather allows, and since this is the full moon weekend, a midnight snowshoe race will follow a bonfire, storytelling and live music.

    All of these activities will be repeated on Sunday the 19th at Bull Lake Guest Ranch located near milepost 19 on the Bull Lake Highway between Noxon and Troy. Karla Barnes, the owner, jumped at the opportunity to help put this event on and the 30-mile snowshoe race will end at her ranch. Sunday’s activities will begin at 10:00 am and culminate in a ceremony welcoming the Ironleg racers at the bonfire. The celebration will continue as long as people want to hang out by the fire enjoying free food once again, music and stories.

    During both days snowshoes will be provided free of charge by Einerd Mattila of Snowshoe Specialty Sports in Libby. If you’ve always wanted to try snowshoeing but never had the opportunity or courage, this will be the perfect time to strap on a pair under Einerd’s careful watch and go for a short hike at Cabinet Mountain Ranch or Bull Lake Guest Ranch.

    The Cabinet Mountains Full Moon Winter Rendezvous is supported by the Montana Wilderness Association, Cabinet Resource Group, Spring Creek Lodge, Cabinet Ridge Riders, Lakeside Motel in Trout Creek and The River Journal. Others have also pledged their support. A notice board will be on display during the entire weekend highlighting those businesses and groups that have stepped up to help make this event a reality.

    For more information log onto www.vermilionriver.com, call 406-847-0105 or send email to [email protected] and ask for an event brochure. If you like being outside in winter, you’ll love the full moon weekend of January 18 & 19 near Noxon and Troy, Montana.


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Dennis Nicholls Dennis Nicholls was the founder, publisher, janitor and paperboy of the River Journal from 1993 to 2001. He passed away in 2009.

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