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Archive for August, 2009

Still no fires around here during the last week but lightning is expected the first part of next week- lets just hope there isn’t a bunch of rain with it!  Anyway, we had another practice jump this morning.  We are keeping our skills fine tuned for our next fire jump.  This is critical since most of our injuries stem from landing in an area in which was not intended- for example into the trees, a rock slide, a cliff, onto the backing course of an Asian driving school, or any other potentially lethal areas that typically surround an intended “jump spot” out in the wilderness.  Parachute accuracy is an important skill for any smokejumper who intends to do the job for very long.  A jump spot may be a patch of grass or short brush as small as a volleyball court and surrounded in hazards that will nearly guarantee you a medical evacuation if hit.  A volleyball court may seem large while you’re standing in it, but from 3000 feet it looks like a putting green at the mini-golf course, and maneuvering down into it while negotiating gusty winds can be as challenging as lassoing a greased midget riding a coked up show pony.  That’s why we like to keep or skills sharp by getting a jump every week or two regardless of how slow the fire season is at the time.

Touchdown

Touchdown

Flinders boys got to see their ol man jump

Flinders' boys got to see their ol' man jump

Brollier executing yet another perfect jump

Brollier enjoying his morning

Different types of canopies: DC-3 in red made by Airborne Systems , white and blue and the CR-360 in blue and yellow made by Performance Designs, inc.

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Since I’m currently rotting away in Spanish Fork like an old mayonnaise sandwich in the Utah sun, and haven’t jumped a fire in half a fort night.  I don’t have much to post about.  I’ve decided to do some posting anyway- on some events that happened in the past.  That way I can keep throwing posts up on a regular basis.  Soooo… Fly fishing trip is the event for the day.

Chris and I made a last minute trip to his “super secret” fishing spot to which he brings NO ONE!  I was really excited and honored to be let in on his coveted fishing area but once we got there (about 5 hours from Boise), I found out that despite it’s extreme remoteness it was in fact one of my favorite places too since it was near where I grew up!  So we both had great past memories of the place, which made it that much more amazing.  Getting to the fish meant driving the last hour on a dirt road that made a Bolivian Jeep trail look like a freeway- then a four mile hike to top it off.  We showed up to camp in the dark and celebrated with a few pulls of whiskey then pitched our tents and hit the hay, looking to get up at first light.

The next two days were full of amazing weather and pretty good fishing.  We hooked several nice steelhead and got some good sunburns- Perfect weekend!

Cast away!

Cast away!

Chris showing his fightin skills

Chris showing his fightin' skills

Nice work Dude!

Nice work Dude!

Hooked up!

Hooked up!

Dont horse it!

Don't horse it!

Those little guys sure can put up a fight!

Those little guys sure can put up a fight!

Go tell your big brother to come bite my line next!

Go tell your big brother to come bite my line next!

Fish on!

Fish on!

Had to run a couple hundred yards trying to keep below him!

Had to run a couple hundred yards trying to keep below him!

Huffin and Puffin but so so happy!  Love It

Huffin' and Puffin' but happy! Love It

Swim free little buddy

Swim free little buddy

Nothing like just you and the river...

Nothing like just you and the river...

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Why didn’t my professor just give us this and let us go home for the rest of the day?!

Politics Explained

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

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We did a practice jump yesterday up Spanish Fork canyon.  Beautiful day, beautiful jump…. it was a good reminder of why I do this job!

The load

The load

enjoying the view

enjoying the view

coming in on final approach

coming in on final approach

stacking them right in

stacking them right in

WOMBAT!

WOMBAT!

Dax

Dax

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It’s been way too long since I’ve gotten on here and updated… sorry Andy and Emily- since I’m pretty sure you two are the only people who even look at my blog.  But on that note, if ANYONE happens to stop by, whether I know you or not, PLEASE PLEASE just drop a line- a word even!  Just let me know that there are people who read this occasionally.  It is a lot of motivation to keep updating this just knowing that there is even one more person who looks at it!!  Pretty Please…..

Ok, so.  I have been having anxiety thinking about all the stuff I need to catch up on and I know that by the time I get to the present events, they will be in the past and I’ll really have a hard time catching up.  I decided to just do a quick re-cap of stuff just to get up to speed.  Sorry for not elaborating on any one event but that’s just going to have to do.  So here it is ESPN highlight style:

ALASKA- LAST 3 WEEKS:

Fought a couple more fires, had some good times, got to see some AMAZING country!

en route to fire

en route to fire

Flying low to kick out some cargo out to the guys on the ground who just jumped

Flying low to kick out some cargo out to the guys on the ground who just jumped

Home away from home

Home away from home

Warm Day!

Warm Day!

Cold Day.... and REALLY windy

Cold Day.... and REALLY windy

Thatd be in the AM...

That'd be in the AM... about ready to tent up for the night.

Middle of the night, dirty, cold, tired, and absolutely loving it!

Middle of the night, dirty, cold, tired, and absolutely loving it!

The game its self is easy... put lots of money in the middle of a circle of people, flip a quarter.  If its tails youre out, if its heads your still in.  Last one in takes cash.  Thats about $6,400.00

The game its self is easy... put lots of money in the middle of a circle of people, flip a quarter. If it's tails you're out, if it's heads your still in. Last one in takes cash. That one ended up being about $6,400.00

The end of Mustache May (which, I must admit, bled over into June a bit..)  Right before shaving it :(

The end of Mustache May (which, I must admit, bled over into June a bit..) Right before shaving it 😦

WEEKEND OFF IN BOISE:

Sometime in late June I had a weekend off…  Saturday I rode my motorcycle to Wieser, ID. for the National Fiddle Championships and Music Fest!  I didn’t actually see any of the actual competition part of the festival but I did spend my day watching live music on the stage outside of the comp area.  Most of the fiddle competitors had their bands in tow and played for everyone’s enjoyment.  The weather was amazing- it was a great day.  Highlighting the day was a band called “Milk Drive”.  They were amazing… I recommend them to anyone who is into bluegrass.  The four of them are all in their twenties and exploding with talent.  Somewhat “Nickel Creek”ish with a little more edge.  Fantastic.

Sunday I was invited by my good buddy Chris to go rafting on the North Fork of the Payette.  Chris, being a bartender, fly fishing guide, and all around fun lover was guaranteeing an amazing time- I was in from the words “hey do you want to…”  Well, it proved to be a great time of course.  All around a great weekend- just the kind you want when you only get one once a month.

Milk Drive

Milk Drive

Gearing up for a day on the Payette

Gearing up for a day on the Payette

Part of the crew, about to shove off

Part of the crew, about to shove off

On the water, woohoo

On the water, woohoo

Chris, our skipper and party official

Chris, our skipper and party official

celebrating the triumph over another rapid

celebrating the triumph over another rapid

Just enjoying the summer the way it should be enjoyed!

Just enjoying the summer the way it should be enjoyed!

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO:

My first trip into the Great Basin was spent mostly in GJ, although I was in Utah and Nevada as well for short stints.  Overall great- great fires, great country, great times.  I was previously not much of a desert fan but I haven’t spent much time there either, or in the right areas.  Colorado and Utah especially have gorgeous areas- most of them are National Parks and I hope to tour some of them on my motorcycle late this fall if everything pans out.  Anyway, despite 100 degree plus temps, lack of trees, and the fact that every plant, animal, and insect is trying to poke, bite and sting you, the desert is quite nice.  Quite nice during sunrise and sunset anyway.

Flying over Salt Lake

Flying over Salt Lake

Our aerial battalion

Our aerial battalion

Bad ass air tanker- Book Cliffs in the background

Bad ass air tanker- Book Cliffs in the background

snakes on a plane

snakes on a plane

Red rock country

scenes from a loft

Red rock country

Red rock country

Ready, in the door, waiting for the slap on the shoulder

Ready, in the door, waiting for the slap on the shoulder

View from my first fire in Colorado

View from my first fire in Colorado

Whooped her again

Whooped her again

The desert at its best

The desert at it's best

Right before starting a 120 pound packout... that was the last time I smiled that day

Right before starting a 120 pound packout... that was the last time I smiled that day

BRAUN BROTHER RUNION:

For the second year in a row I took time off of work in the middle of what is typically the busiest time of the season.  The reason?  Only the best frickin’ three day concert in the frickin’ world, that’s why!  Challis Idaho:

Amazing scenery

Amazing scenery

So, as you can see, Challis is a great destination on its own- no imagine the chance to spend three days watching your all-time favorite bands along with only a few hundred other “friends”.  Well my friends, that is the Braun Brother Reunion show.

As luck would have it four of the bands- Ray Wylie Hubbard, Micky and the Motorcars, Randy Rogers, and Cross Canadian Ragweed were playing in Boise on Wednesday night, so I of course saw them all.  The next day we drove the 4 and a half hours to Challis and got there just in time to see Stoney LaRue do a jaw-dropping solo acoustic set of songs requested by the crowd of maybe oh, 80 people.  Unbelievable comes to mind.  In the middle of his set we were visited by yet another (same as last year) five minute hailstorm that pelted everyone with grape-sized hail.  It was amazing- like the heavens opened up with Stoney’s angelic tunes…. Ok, so maybe not, but it was effin’ rad anyway.

It was like having one of your very favorite musicians come over and play in your living room.

It was like having one of your very favorite musician's come over and play in your living room.

Next was Ray Wylie Hubbard.  This guy is a true Godfather of the Texas brand county rock that is, in my opinion, the best music on earth.  On stage with him was his 15 year old son playing lead guitar.  This kid was a prodigy.  Some of the best guitar I’ve heard came from a kid who was probably learning geometry in school… unbelievable.

Ray Wylie and his boy

Ray Wylie and his boy

Well, I could go on forever, in great detail about the amazing weekend and all that happened but I’m keeping it short remember… Let’s just say it was 72 hours of beer, thrift store shopping sprees, kick ass music, great friends, and more beer.  Use your imagination…

One of the coolest tats Ive ever seen!

One of the coolest tats I've ever seen!

The best find of the weekend!  Behind the whiskey is says FLY WILD and on the back is a flying V of ducks.

The best find of the weekend! Behind the whiskey is says "FLY WILD" and on the back is a flying "V" of ducks.

Breakfast cocktails and a rousing game of horshoes to start the day off...

Breakfast cocktails and a rousing game of horseshoes to start the day off...

getting wild in three, two,......

getting wild in three, two,......

Livin it up

Livin' it up

Smock gettin into it!

Smock gettin' into it!

Taking a little beer break in between sets

Taking a little beer break in between sets

Meet Cody, he and his girlfriend are the coolest.  We hung out all weekend and luckily he lives part time in the Boise area so we can party again.  GREAT PEOPLE!!!

Meet Cody, he and his girlfriend are the coolest. We hung out all weekend and luckily he lives part time in the Boise area so we can party again. GREAT PEOPLE!!!

Reckless Kelly going off!

Reckless Kelly going off!

Cody Canada from Cross Canadian Ragweed and Smock partying together... practically.

Cody Canada from Cross Canadian Ragweed and Smock partying together... practically.

Well, I’m sad it’s over but I WILL be back next year, you can bet you ass on that.

Well, that about wraps it all up… that’s been my life for the last 2 months.  Hopefully it wasn’t too abridged… who am kidding, any more detail and you would have X’d out of here long ago, haha.

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