"The helicopter is going to be released at end of shift," I text my minion. His response is swift: "Happy dance!" he replies.
It's not that we don't like the helicopter, our pilots, or our mechanics. We love flying and seeing the country from the air. But we're tired. It's been almost non-stop for over months, this fire season, and it's not really over yet: there's still fires out there, and our type 1 helicopter got reactivated and sent to Texas. Days off were few and far between. I have more overtime than the local hotshot crew does.
Autumn blazes across the mountains. Sometimes this transition is hard: going from working 10-16 hours a day, seven days a week, to a more normal schedule. This year it's somewhat overwhelming. I don't feel like doing much of anything for awhile. But I do make it to the park before the road closes.
Change is in the air. It's time to go out and meet it.