We wind our way through the park in the helicopter, looking for smoke. We fly up and down Bowman and Quartz drainages and the jewel that is Upper Kintla. We see a bear ; the pilot allegedly sees a wolverine. Hikers at Numa Lookout take our picture. Glaciers and hidden, remote lakes appear below us.
"This is a million dollar flight," the pilot says. Not that a helicopter flight of that length would cost that much; a typical tour that long would run about $200 per person. But the air tours aren't allowed back here, and they never fly this low. This flight could not be done, at least not legally.
We are lucky and we know it, as we drift through mountains and canyons. Moments like this make up for long days on the fireline and missed holidays and events. Almost nobody gets to see this like we do. We are amazed, and rich in a way that can't be counted in money.