Last week I got a little carried away with Forest Service stories from the past. There is actually a fitness component or two though along that line of thought.

After my hiking trail job, which was seasonal, I decided to go to Graduate School in California.  It was very inexpensive in those days.  I was able to get a Co-op position, too, which meant I could go to school in the winter, work during the field season, and have a full time position when I graduated.  What could be better.  I decided I really wanted to be a Forest Hydrologist.  Jimmy Carter was president at the time, and specialist positions were expanding, so that the watersheds would be protected from damage during timber harvesting. Enter Ronald Reagan.  He did not see this as important and was a fan of smaller government.  My job horizons narrowed suddenly.  I decided since the hydrology job was not available I would spend a summer on a fire crew.  I looked at it as a challenge.  I was offered a job for the summer on a tiny fire truck at a remote station at 8,000 feet on the east side of the Sierras, on the Kern River Ranger District.  The station was called Blackrock. To be eligible I had to be able to do 25 push-ups and 7 pull ups.  “No problem,”  I told them.  I headed for the gym to see how many I could do.   Yeah, you guessed it.  None.  So I lowered myself down.  By the time I arrived for the job, I was up to 4.  They let me stay.  I actually could do 25 push-ups by then, which surprised everyone.  I eventually did 7, twice, then did not continue to maintain it and cannot do it now.  I tried P90X3 last year and just stood on a chair, cheating during the pull ups.  I thought something might break if I did them and didn’t want to find out.

It was a beautiful summer.  I think we went to two small fires.  The next season I was offered a position on a Hot Shot crew and I turned it down.  I have no regrets about that, either.  And California, sorry about your drought….  Maybe if I was a Forest Hydrologist things would be better….


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