Alone in the Woods Week 2: The Firefighter's Party

Oct 22, 2011 Leave a Comment

After the truck was fixed (I use the term "fixed" here loosely, but we will get to that later) I returned to Negrito for another two weeks of working by myself.  Fortunately, this time, I didn't have to camp by myself.  Quite the contrary.  In the past, there were either a handful of Negrito firefighters or a group of traveling firefighters from another place.  This time, since it was the final week of the fire season, the entire Gila Hotshot crew was there for their last days before they went home.  So they spent their nights that week partying it up.  And I joined in on the festivities.

On Wednesday night, their last night, they had a huge barbecue grill set up to cook burgers.  I had brought my own food, but they let me cook it on their grill, which was cool.  They also had a ton of other food to go along with it, which they said I could have as well.  It was sort of a weird combo of stuff.  Like they had mashed potatoes and pinto beans, along with the burgers.  But it was pretty good.  They also had two kegs full of Blue Moon.

A little while later, the ranger from Reserve (and my previous disaster story, along with the guy whose house we camped at) showed up.  He asked where my boss was and seemed surprised that I was there by myself.  I've gotten that reaction several times since I started working alone.

After everyone got their food, they all went inside to watch a slide show that one of the firefighters made.  Their crew leader told them that it was going to be at least 25 minutes, so they'd each better get two beers to get them through it.  I thought that was funny.

This is where all the drunks, I mean, firefighters, watched their crazy video
I wasn't going to watch the video because I'm not a firefighter, but I think they felt bad for me, being out there all by myself, so they invited me to come in and watch it with them.  It was actually a pretty good video.  Mostly a picture slide show showing all the different fires that went on this year.  And there were a lot.  It was interesting seeing pictures of all the fires that I'd been hearing about all summer.  There was also some video of the airplanes dropping water and the pink flame retardant stuff, which was cool.

After the movie, I went to take a shower and when I came back everyone was completely trashed.  They were all extra friendly and called me the "soil girl."  Most of the firefighters were guys, but there were still two girls left on base (there had been a couple more before that) so I talked to each of them for a little while.  One of them lives in Reserve and had been working at The Rode Inn Motel when it burned down.  I had already met the other girl a while back when I was still working with J.  She admitted to me that she had been hitting on him and she felt embarrassed about it the next day.  I told her not to worry; he was probably flattered.

As the night progressed, many games of beer pong were played, people got rowdy, and one guy set his pants on fire.  As for me, one of the older guys kept trying to get me to take him back to my tent.  He asked me questions about what it looked like and said that he hadn't seen one like that before and he'd better go see it.  So eventually I just had to sneak away into the darkness and hope that he wouldn't notice where I went.

That's all I really have to say about that week's events.  Tonight I'm feeling sad because I found out a friend of mine from grad school died in a car accident last week.  I knew his girlfriend too, briefly, when she lived here in Albuquerque.  I can only imagine how she is feeling right now.


  • Breeza said:  

    Sorry about your friend. xo

  • PJ said:  

    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.
    I also heard that Jamie Caulk (a Richard alum '02) died from injuries sustained in a car accident.

  • Maureen said:  

    The name is very familiar, but I can't put a face to the name. It seems like a lot of people have died from car accidents recently. James Iannuzzi's brother also comes to mind.

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