Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sweetheart Dog And An Elk Fawn

I fought fires with the the forest service 1979 and 1980 and oh the tales I could tell.
But one experience stays with me and that's coming across a newborn deer baby while we were trekking to a new spotfire. This little squidget was nestled in some grass and couldn't have been more than hours old. Our crew gathered around and marveled but the tiny guy didn't move a muscle, although he had to breathe. When they're very young they know not to move no matter what because predators can sense and outrun them.
The fire by the way had passed this area by. I'm sure mom was close and we never touched the fawn. It was astounding.

added - I was asked to expand on this by a friend so I will.
I was employed by the Bridger Teton national forest office out of Kemmerer, Wyoming as a summer temp worker who was on call for fire management. Crews were called up at a moment's notice when conflagrations got out of hand in the Rockies.
Our crews were always mixed male and female, to our supervisors' credit, and the ladies were tough as nails. When we were on assignment we were all too blasted to do touch monkey business and I'll tell you why.
I think the fire I mentioned was in the Wasatch range and we were summoned late at night. Our necessaries - yellow fire retardant clothing, canteens, sleeping bags and such were waiting down in Kemmerer. We got a couple of hours sleep on the office floor before a bus came to take us to the staging area up in Utah. When we got there we we given our shovels and pulaskis and helicoptered in near the blazes.
Now I've got to add that these mountain fires are very much extremely up and down. We were dropped off as close as possible but had to hike miles to start fire lines and do our thing after walking a long ways . All we had initially were K rations and had to find a way to sleep at night on the ground under the night sky. After a few days the forest service established a base camp that had amenities like toilets, showers and by jeebus, tremendous meals like steak and potatoes with great lunches for the following day. We breathed a sigh of relief because we knew that at least we weren't forgotten sucking in all that goddam smoke.
As far as fraternizing, we were just so tired all we could do was eat and sleep.


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