Flaming Ping Pong Balls: Tales of Awesomeness and Grossness

May 20, 2010 Leave a Comment

 **UPDATED with new disgusting and gross pics!**

Well, my friends, the time has come once again to dig out the hiking boots and goofy hat, the maps and GPS devices, the coolers and sunscreen.  Yes, it is field season!

It's a little strange going back because stupid little memories keep coming back to me, like when other drivers wave at me when we pass each other, instead of cutting me off, honking their horn and yelling obscenities like they do here in Burque.  Or how steep things look on the map is not nearly as steep as they are in real life.  I don't have to climb up my map for three hours.  The forest doesn't actually have polygon lines for me to follow.  And in real life, I can't see over the trees.  It's a shame, really.

But I'm getting used to it again.  I'm getting used to staying at my favorite hotel in Reserve.  Having a beer at Uncle Bill's and meeting people I would never have met otherwise.  This week, I met members of several different fire crews on the forest, all from different walks of life.  Some local, some from farther away.

It's really a lovely town...

The first person I met was in town for something called PSD training.  What is PSD training, you ask?  It is where they learn how to shoot ping pong balls of fire out of a helicopter.  Yes.  Ping pong balls.  That are ON FIRE.  No lie.

Unfortunately, the fire crews didn't stay very long but I had some interesting times of my own.  Our first day out in the field, we kept coming across little white grubs buried in the soil.  They were pretty gross looking but we just shoveled them to the side and kept going.  Then, when I went to describe the pit, I stabbed my knife into a spot and ended up stabbing one of the little grubbies.  It fell to the bottom and a whole bunch of white goo was all over the place.  On my knife, the soil sample.  Disgusting.  When I looked back down at the grub, I saw that he (she? it?) had molted out of the gooey skin and was now crawling around in the pit.  So, at least it was still alive.  That's a good thing... I guess.

This is not a grub, but it is a weird gross bug

On our next pit, I used my most hated tool, the Montana Sharpshooter.  It's basically a shovel all made out of metal that has a long narrow blade used for chopping up the soil.  I drew a picture of one on a napkin for Matt on our first date.  Classy, huh?  Anyway, I hate using it mainly because it is hard work, and I am a weakling.  I also hate it because of blisters.  I got five on one hand just from digging half a pit.  And one of them opened up so it was hurty and I couldn't use the sharpshooter anymore.

Other things happened during my first field week, but I think I embarrassed myself enough already.  Suffice it to say the forest is a big place and I am just a tiny speck within its wide expanses.  (Also see above about how maps are not actual forests)  So that's it.


  • Chloe said:  

    Grubs?! Yuck!!
    Yesterday I found several grubbies in my garden!! Ugh, disgusting!!
    I hate grubs!

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