When they're not digging fireline or hiking up and down hills, firefighters come up with innovative ways to keep in shape. Hackysack circles flourished during the '90s; now this is seen as very retro and more people play Foursquare. J. bought a Frisbee on our type 1 helicopter assignment; it was constantly getting lost in the tall grass, necessitating some calorie-burning searching. Spontaneous ax-throwing competitions occasionally ensue, until a handle breaks or a crew boss appears to say knock it off. If all else fails there is the card deck of pain: each card corresponds to a certain exercise such as pushups, and a certain number of reps.
The gym seems like a somewhat soulless place after a summer of running hills called Hamburger and Bloodsucker, dodging bears in the woods, and lifting rocks instead of dumbbells. It gets the job done, but it's not the same as K. suddenly exclaiming, "Ab challenge!" and everyone joining in, even the pilot. I'm glad I have the option of elliptical machines and barbells, but I really don't miss it when I'm gone. There's something about pushups and lunges in an open field full of helicopters, watching a smoke column rise in the distance. A room full of sweaty strangers running to nowhere will never match up to that.
|Homemade pullup bar on a fire in Alaska|