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Feeling a bit over-extended these days. But oh, it feels good. I’m making up for five months of being unemployed and purposeless, I guess. A lot is happening all of a sudden. I’m going into my third winter in Utah, and I’m reminded of my third year at Clark University: the first two years were […]

Living the Dream – Season Three

I started my job as a snowmaker today, though Mother Nature seemed to be sending me a message that, if she was going to be honest, she didn’t really need my help. Thick snowflakes curtained the road up Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Chris’ truck slid around a few corners despite being in four-wheel drive. Fresh […]

the dog who ate my toilet paper

Jeni and I were camped on the edge of a seven hundred foot bluff overlooking Reds Canyon in the San Rafael Swell, Utah. This was our last night on the road together, the night of the full moon, and the fall equinox. Equinox means the time of equal day and night, but the rising of […]

vroooom, vroooom

Sage, aka: 1982 Honda XR 100

Rock climbing a few weeks ago, two ski instructor friends, Jordan and Dennis, pulled me aside. “Susan. We heard that you’ve been riding a dirt bike.” Dennis put his hand on my shoulder and stooped to look me in the face. “Really??” I bit my lip and tried […]

The rest of my summer…

September passed, and I was busy with several small fires around Salt Lake. October has finished up as well, and with it the fire season. Now it’s November, and the rocky peaks of the Wasatch have begun to wink at me with glittering, snowy eyes. It’s started to rain again in the valley, and after […]

And it burns, burns, burns

“Engine 742, get out of there!!” Brandon shouted into the radio even as he stretched his long legs in a sprint towards the thirty-foot flames. An old growth ponderosa pine was torching out next to the engine; fire roared through its upper branches, orange tongues licking the sky. Our favorable westerly winds had shifted […]

Finally, FIRE

The heat was oppressive. The sun shone down unimpeded, hit the black, ashy ridge top, and bounced back up through our feet and into our faces. Ninety degrees Fahrenheit in the shade, but my crew was walking through the part of the forest where the fire had burned the hottest, nuking the trees into crisp, […]

The Construction of a Wildland Firefighter

White's 10-inch, lace-to-toe Smokejumpers, men's size 5.

Welcome to the new Susan. From hippie world traveler to burly, smoke-breathing firefighter. Instead of hugging trees, now I’m wishing they’d catch on fire so I could save them and start getting some of that legendary overtime and hazard pay. It’s not a natural transition; it’s taken […]

Living the ski bum dream

Happy Susan.

My new God’s name is Ullr.

Floating. Floating all day. On 24 inches of freshies, on good vibes between friends, on rays of sun sparkling on snow crystals in the air. Floating in the afterglow of a fantastic day. The Wasatch got dumped with snow all day yesterday, and I called in […]

the last entry for a while

Salt Lake City is organized on a numbered grid system, with the Mormon Temple at the center (0,0) and the rest of the streets fanning out north, south, east, and west in straight, orderly lines. The valley is flat; mountains form protective stockades on the eastern and western edges. It’s the eastern peaks that draw […]