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This year, Climate Ride is introducing a brand new 6-day trip through stunning Glacier National Park in Montana and Waterton National Park in Canada. A group of 30 riders will enjoy spectacular views of high alpine passes, glacial lakes, and 500-year-old cedar forests — all from the seat of their bikes.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

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Climate Rides are charitable, fundraising events, which include multiple-day biking and hiking trips across the country. Each biker embarking on the Glacier Ride is required to raise a minimum of $2,800 for the Glacier National Park Conservancy, which helps protect the park from the effects of climate change, logging, road-building and other industrial development. The majority of fundraising happens peer-to-peer, which includes asking friends and family for donations as well as starting social media campaigns.

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But one group of riders — six women who call themselves the Wolfpack — are diverging from traditional fundraising techniques. Tonight from 6 to 9 pm, Jamie Dobbs, Lily Gilbert, Jess Knoblauch, Erica Gulseth, Kristen Lease and Chrissy Pepino will be testing out their bartending skills at Soda Popinski’s in Nob Hill, and all of the tips they make will go toward the ride.

The pack is at 81 percent of their goal, with just two weeks left to fundraise.

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“This is the last push to get to the finish line,” Dobbs said. “Part of the event is just to thank people who have supported us, and to start ramping up the energy.”

No one in the group has any bartending experience, but after watching a 15-minute crash course video, and with a trained bartender on staff, plus an hour to practice before the event, Dobbs isn’t nervous about the job.

Dobbs became interested in Climate Ride after the other five members of the Wolfpack — four of whom work with Dobbs for Earth Justice — did a trip in Northern California two years ago. The California trip, which is a 5-day ride down the coast starting in the Redwood Empire and ending in San Francisco, inspired Dobbs to get into biking. She’s been trying to keep up with the pack ever since.

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Tall Forest of Sequoias, Yosemite National Park, California

Although Dobbs has spent time in Montana, she’s never been to Glacier, and is excited for more than just the views.

“I’ve seen the Tetons and Yellowstone, and they’re both breathtakingly beautiful, but I’ve heard that Glacier is even more stunning,” Dobbs said. “But to experience that with some of my best friends and a group of 30 people who are equally excited about protecting our environment is going to be a lifetime experience, I’m sure.”

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Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier region of Glacier National Park, Montana

Climate Ride Operations and Ride Manager Andrew Valainis has been working for Climate Ride for four years and is looking forward to leading such a small group. The signature rides, which go through California, the Midwest and the Northeast, offer spots to over 150 riders. But due to park restrictions, the Glacier Ride is keeping it small.

“There are some group rides out there that are 7,000 people, but even on our signature rides when we have less people, we get to know everybody better,” Valainis said. “The groups seem to mesh well and you get to develop a closer bond.”

After being a leader on eight different trips across the country, Valainis is excited to finally lead one so close to home. He lives in Missoula, Montana — about three hours south of Glacier — and is looking forward to showing off the beautiful scenery of his backyard.

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Glacier National Park

“We do a lot of trips in California and out East,” Valainis said. “But this one’s a lot more personal.”

The riders will get to enjoy views of some of the park’s most famous landmarks, including a 14-mile ride up Going to the Sun Road, a picnic on St. Mary’s Lake and a trip to the world’s first and only international national park. The group will end each of their days with presentations from rangers and Glacier National Park Conservancy representatives to learn more about the park and its mission.

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McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park, Montana

The ride will include some serious elevation gain, which the Wolfpack has been trying to prepare for. Last weekend, the group biked 100 miles through Alpine Dam and Golden Gate National Park, with over 8,000 feet of elevation gain.

“We’re trying to make sure we have strong thighs,” Dobbs said. “Climbing is hard, but with every climb you get to go downhill, which is a lot of fun and is worth the work.”

Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada seen from the Bears Hump

Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada seen from the Bears Hump

On the last day, after more than 200 miles of riding, the group will hop in a raft and paddle three hours down the Middle Fork of Flathead River to end the trip back in West Glacier.

With only 30 spots available, the trip filled up in just a couple of weeks. But Climate Ride is holding two other Glacier Hikes for later this year and is starting an interest list for a Glacier Ride in 2016. For more information on the Climate Ride events, visit www.climateride.org/events.

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