It was a small fire that didn’t warrant air support. A construction vehicle had backed into a brush pile along the North Fork of the Coer d Alene, where the canyon wall is steep and close to the river. His exhaust touched off a fire and it burned up the Canyon wall and started spreading out near the top where there was more vegetation. We had what looked like a big collapsable swimming pool that we put on a flat spot up near the limit of how high you can pump water. Then we dragged the pump up. It had a tube welded to it so we could run a pole throught the tube and climb the cliff with two guys supporting it on our shoulders. Then they sent me down to get the gas for the pump. It really wasn’t that dangerous. The ground was mostly rock with only little fires burning around me. As long as it didn’t leak I was perfectly safe. When I got to the top, so tired I had to be pulled the last 5 feet, my crew boss said to me, “As long as you’re resting, go get a hose pack.”
So back down the cliff, strap on 80 pounds of hose and start back up. These packs had one end of the hose hanging out of the bottom and were coiled inside so that you could just hook the hose to the pump and take off with it, stringing it out to where you needed it. Now the boss wanted someone to string it out over a little rise and out into the open area on the other side. At that point I had my 22 year old dander pretty high, and was going to show the boss what a tough guy I was, so I just kept the pack on and took off, laying hose behind me. I was about to die when I came over the top of the rise and then saw, spread out over the hill, the all woman fire crew, digging line. You should have seen me perk up. I pulled that hose across like I was the king of the woods, look out Mr. Grizzly.
I was in such good shape at the end of that summer.