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Hikers still climbing the M despite smokey conditions

Smokey horizon from M trail
Posted at 3:53 PM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-22 13:34:45-04

MISSOULA - Despite a heavy presence of smoke early in the season, foot traffic along the M trail in Missoula has not seemed to slow down.

Many local hikers and groups braved the elements and climbed up one of Missoula’s most well-known hikes.

With Missoula’s air quality being unhealthy for sensitive groups on Friday, May 19, 2023, anyone participating in outdoor activities may start to feel the effects in their eyes or throat.

Local resident Makana Shriner, who just started hiking on a regular basis, expressed why even the smoke won’t keep him from his new routine.

Makana Shriner after a hike on the M trail
Makana Shriner after a hike on the M trail

“I mean honestly I’m just trying to be consistent on the hiking, and the more that I have started to do it the more that I have started to enjoy it, so I’m trying to ride that train of enthusiasm through any external factors until it gets too bad.”

Shriner also said when asked if the smoke was affecting his ability to climb uphill he said you maybe feel it in the eyes and the throat but not really in the cardio.

There may not be as much concern at the moment for the smoke but one visitor from Seattle Mike Rummell expressed his concern about what getting smoke this early in the year could mean for the future.

“I think we’ve been dealing with smoke every summer for the last 10 or 15 years and you can tell you get a little dry in the throat but you think about the long-term effects or you know breathing that in every day — how that can affect your body.”

Anyone who wants to be active outside should check the air quality index to make sure they can handle the smoke.