Brain Injury Alliance Charity Hike

Brain Injury Alliance Charity Hike

The kids have always been active in the community with various charity endeavors and events. A more recent addition to the incredible Missoula giving scene is a charity hike and fundraiser for the Brain Injury Alliance of Montana called the Big Sky Challenge Hike at Montana Snowbowl. The event consists of 0.8 mile, 4 mile, or 8 mile hikes at the ski area. The kids opted for the 4-mile challenge but I could not participate as I was working first aid on bike patrol. The Montana Snowbowl Volunteer Ski Patrol is active in summer activities in the Missoula area offering first aid and emergency medical care to various sporting and recreational events.

On a warm and clear Sunday morning, the 8 milers started at 8:30am and hiked up Second Thought, a green ski run in the winter, but a fairly steep hike in the summer. As they reached the top of the Grizzly chairlift, their next goals was to descend the 5.5-mile Beargrass Highway, a fantastic single track hiking and biking trail with variable terrain and stunning views.

The 4 milers started at 9am at the base and hiked approximately 2 miles up the Beargrass Highway and after 2 miles, there was a turnaround point and they hiked back down. The .8 milers took the 12-minute Grizzly chairlift to about 7,000 feet and did a pleasant short loop with beautiful views. There was a little bit of confusion (mostly by me) as I took the kids up the Grizzly chair thinking the 4 miler was hiking the entire Beargrass trail top to bottom (which is actually 5.5 miles). Nonetheless, I began bike patrolling and they took off down the trail.

Jack as usual takes off ahead of the gang with his usual attitude of the faster I can get to the bottom the sooner the hike ends and the quicker I can find real food and get back on the phone. The twins proceeded down until they ran into a “turnaround” sign that was meant for the actual 4 milers coming up from the bottom. Avid readers, and smart enough to follow instructions when in the outdoors, they turned around and headed back up the trail!  Luckily, I was headed downhill on my bike and turned them around before they got too far. It didn’t take long before they were at the base enjoying chicken sliders and barbeque sandwiches at the Ski Patrol tent. Although they might have been full from eating huckleberries.

This year’s event on August 2nd was prime huckleberry season and trails around Snowbowl are some of the best around for huckleberry picking. They were flourishing this year and some of the participants transformed their hiking and fundraising mission to a full-on huckleberry harvesting scene. Only in Missoula.

The event was a great success raising over $20,000 for the Brain Injury Alliance of Montana. There were no injuries or medical issues despite the 90+ degree heat. There was smiles and laughter everywhere. It was great to see family participation of all ages. Afterwards, my kids were happy, relaxed and unphased. As if 5.5 miles in 95 degrees at 7,000 ft elevation – it’s not like they haven’t been there before ….

For more information on the Brain Injury Alliance of Montana go here.  Feel free to contact Montana Snowbowl if you’re interested in hosting events there. Also, if you’re interested in the Montana Snowbowl Volunteer Ski Patrol, go here for more information.

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