What are you waiting for?

And Another Season Begins

And Another Season Begins

AHHHH!

A month of fire season has already come and gone! HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN?!

And in that month... no fires for Crew 9. Our first weeks of work though have been filled with lots of happenings, and I'm here to fill ya in on all the highlights and what I've learned. 

{above} Our cute little office building in middle-of-nowhere Happy Jack, Arizona.

 

training & Projects

Like I said earlier, no IA's (initial attacks) for Crew 9, but that allowed us to get all the things done.

We had time to get different driving certifications complete, like for pulling a trailer and driving UTV's. First Aid & CPR class for the ones that needed to refresh that cert. Played out various scenarios, like calling in a medical incident or fire size up. Repaired miles of fence work after an Rx burn (prescribed fire). Completing awesome thinning projects, and getting trigger time on the chainsaw. Discussion and quizzes over the 10's and 18's. 

ALL the things.

VIEWS

Along with the projects and training, we did a little bit of district orientation which included visiting all the lookout towers on the district. Being able to gaze out over the forest, see things from a different perspective, and learn more about what lookouts do was a great experience. And not to mention the views from the catwalks were stellar. 

Future blog post interviewing lookouts?? I'm thinking yes. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

In fire, chaining things out helps get sh*t done efficiently. Like moving limbs across the road while prepping, loading stays into the back of a UTV, or hauling gatorade onto a truck.

I learned that our crew is really good at chaining out snacks. If a bag of chips is opened in front of us, we'll circle up and each take a handful one after the other and before you know it, a whole family-sized bag of Lay's is completely gone in less than 10 minutes.

Honestly, I think one day we got a PR of less than 5 minutes.

# crews that eat together stay together
# snack so hard

SmartWool

Last year I was introduced to men's boxer briefs, and that totally changed the game. This season though, I came across Smartwool boxer briefs during a sale at REI. 

Expensive? In relation to other briefs, yes. Worth it? Most definitely. 

In the two weeks or so that I have worn my trial pair, I pretty much forgot that swamp ass was a thing, no waistband chafing, and they feel smooth and light. Ordering a few more briefs with the next paycheck for sure, and considering trying out a sports bra and getting a t-shirt for PT. 

Diaper Rash Cream

I don't know if it's the drought conditions here in the southwest or what, but chafing has been so bad that Gold Bond seems pathetic. Burt's Bee's Diaper Rash Ointment was originally suggested, but it was not available at my local Walgreen's so I went with Desitin instead. And golly, does it work wonders for those chafed inner thighs! And the love handle areas from linegear. There are various other brands, but anything with a strong percentage of Zinc Oxide should do the trick.

Skipping the Placebo Week

If you want to not have a period, but do not want things inside you or a shot every x amount of months, skipping the placebo week of birth control pills and going straight into the next pack is the way to go. Less time freaking out about changing tampons or whether your diva cup suctioned to your cervix, and more time to focus on work. AND, my gyno is able to prescribe three months at a time, meaning I don't have to worry about making it to the pharmacy all the time.  # winning

If you took a break from contraceptives (like me) or have not taken them before, I highly suggest starting at least a few months before something you don't want your period for... like not wanting to deal with frequent spotting for half of your fire season.

Silver lining: hormones will be completely synced up for next season. *sigh*

Avenza

Being able to use maps on Avenza has made work SO much more efficient; orientating myself in new locations, finding fence line, saving locations to come back to, and just being able to know where the hell I am in general. What a wonderful freaking invention.

What I'm wondering though... If Avenza can track my location without cell service, why can't the Nike Run App? 

Morning Cup of Joe

There are a lot of habits and norms in fire culture. A large hydroflask of coffee to start the day is one of them.

One morning I wasn't able to bring coffee to work, and what I think was not just a coincidence, I killed it on a PT hike that morning. Since then I have been cutting out coffee on work days and placing a higher priority on my diet. 

Currently, most days have consisted of making green tea with matcha powder that I carry in my lunch box for a mid-morning/post PT caffeine kick, and/or protein shakes for post PT recovery or as a protein supplement during a long day.

And today I got "Roastaroma" herbal tea by Celestial Seasonings (a caffeine-free coffee substitute for the non-coffee drinkers), and Apollo protein powder from UNICO Nutrition.

UPDATE: The Roastaroma tea tasted a bit weird at first... it grew on me though. And the Apollo protein powder is great for baking protein-packed snacks like pancakes or muffins! The only downside I have with it is the use of sucralose as a sweetner, but it is not an overpowering sweetness like many items with the sugar substitute.

Challenging Your Comfort Zone

Me and large machines/tools haven't always been the best of friends. When I took wood shop in high school, I was totally fine hammering in nails... using the extremely large power planer though was something that did not seem fun.

What I realized though after some deep reflecting was that my anxiety with things like that was mainly due to simply not knowing how the hell to work them (and not wanting to embarrass myself in an attempt to figure it out). 

I work in wildland fire though... Chainsaws, various motorized vehicles... Many skills and tools that I had not even thought of developing prior to this job. All the new challenges. 

Progress is being made in life though!

Two weeks ago?
Quite uneasy using a chainsaw and had not driven an ATV before. 

Today...
Driving ATV's and UTV's on all types of terrain, and slaying 12+ inch diameter timber.

It might take a moment of freaking out (and for me that means a few minutes of crying) or talking about it with a co-worker or supervisor/trainer, but knowing what your comfort zone is and being able to push past that and grow is huge in this field of work, and that goes for other aspects of life, too. Having a diverse and supportive crew has definitely helped me break out of my anxiety shell and get after all the challenges that pursuing a career in fire will throw at you - and to you Crew 9, I thank you.  

# GRATITUDE 

Words of Wisdom:

Keep learning, keep evolving, keep slaying. 

 

And now some pictures

Because visuals make everything better.

{above} Views of the Mogollon Rim from Baker Butte Lookout.

{left to right} ATV certification class, Tina and I flaunting our turkey feather finds while flagging, stump shot of my first "big" tree.

{left to right} Wiring on stays, Chato & Michael after flagging the Buck Mtn thinning project.

{left to right} East Clear Creek featuring Lambert, thinning to prevent encroachment of the meadow, Knoll Lake.

{above} Hutch Mtn Lookout.

{above} Me just cheesin' with what will probably be my favorite crew hat ever.


b let's talk about it.jpg

For you fellow firefighters...

Do you have favorite shirts for PT or brands of clothing?

Any clever tricks to combat dry skin or working in different climates?

What has your crew been doing while you are waiting to go out on fires? Or have you had IA after IA?

Let's talk.

 

Until next time - namaste & here's to a fun season!

Pop-Up Inspo | Riding Wild

Pop-Up Inspo | Riding Wild