So… we drove to War Eagle Fire Lookout, on the top of War Eagle Mountain. I have to say, my grandlings, Beryn, Tylie & Colt have to be some of the greatest humans on the face of the planet.
I got up early and fixed my very special Biscuits & Gravy… buttermilk biscuits and a sherried cream sauce with bits of sausage, pimentos, mushrooms, ham, and hardboiled eggs cut in chunks. We wanted to do something outdoors cause it was a gorgeous day, but these kids have done it all, so the suggestions were… meh.
23 years ago I was on the Blackwell Fire, spiked at Burgdorf for 63 days. I drove the Division Sup to War Eagle Lookout every day. I haven’t been there since. I suggested we go there. The kids wanted to take the Razer but it was at the shop in Lake Fork, so we took Flame.
It was an easy drive from McCall to Secesh. PNF road 325 takes off from Warren Wagon Road a few miles after you leave the pavement at the turn off to Burgdorf. So everyone bundled up because there was a nip in the air, and because of that nip, it was one of the most beautiful fall first days I’ve seen in a while. It rained in the night, the air was crisp, clean and the trees had all turned.
We turned up 325, and this is where the adventure begins. The kidlings had NEVER been on this road, and that’s saying something because these young people get to go everywhere in the back country. They hunt, they ski, they snowmachine, they mountain bike. Tylie even told me she got lost at Ruby Meadows mountain biking, which is just before we turned on 325, and they go to Burgdorf to swim in the hot springs often, and rave about the burgers at Secesh Restaurant…. a little out of the way log cabin joint.
That road, which I had somehow forgotten, is the roughest road I can remember and goes through the old burnout of the Blackwell-Chicken Fire of 1994. It’s wide enough, unlike some back country roads, but that is a first gear four-wheel drive road for 2/3rd of the climb. We passed four vehicles coming down, all in lucky spots. The first was a group of guys in a Subaru and camo gear. We had a fun chat with them, since I knew when the fire was that burned all the old standing trees. Partway up, my grandson Colt ever so carefully asked if I knew how much further it was to the top, the closest we got to, and most polite “Are We There Yet, GramMarri?” I have ever heard.
It was beautiful. Deep azure Robin’s Egg sky, fleet, thick floccus clouds, red brush, gold aspens, silver ghosts of the old burned trees standing like soldiers of the remembered forest, and lots of scattered new pines, not tall enough to seem like forest, but healthy and promising.
After lamenting that we didn’t bring the razer more than a dozen times, we climbed to the top and parked at the Lookout. The youngsters immediately got out and began to take pictures, and look for rocks. They climbed the tower and looked in, trying to recall the name of the big flat round mapping tool (alidade) in the middle of the tower. They asked about the fire and the tower. They found the outhouse without asking (it was down in the trees about 100 yards away). They took their time. They weren’t bored, or complainy about the long, slow road. They stood for a dozen photo shots that I insisted be perfect.
All the way down we talked about so many things. Their lives, their observations of their parents, the road, the burgers at Secesh, we planned dinner, and the movie night, we talked about another adventure I so dearly want to take to Savage Creek. We talked about where I might move to be near water, and still like the weather. They told me the reasons they are happy. The list is long. They are good conversationalists. They are smart and contemplative. They are interested in “stuff.” We stopped a couple times for photos (Beryn takes photos) and rocks (Tylie has a school project) and to climb under the bridge over the creek.
I am the luckiest grandmother on earth because these are some of the best human beings I have ever met. And it was a perfect Fall day.
We stopped at the store in McCall after we got back into phone zone. While we were gathering supplies for the salad we planned to make to go with cake and junk food and Jurassic World, our planned movie, my phone rang. It was Fire Dispatch, wanting me to go to the SomethingICan’tRemember Creek Fire outside Salt Lake. I explained to Carol at Dispatch that my grandchildrens’ mom would not be back from out of state until Monday night and I was available after that. The three most wonderful people in the world were listening. They gave me all the ideas they had for who they could go stay with so I could go out on the fire and get enough $$$ for my camper. They were determined that I should not miss out on a fire job.
There is no amount of money on earth that could make me leave these three amazing people or walk away from my very special time with them. It will not be long enough that I get time with them, not near enough.