Saw on my news alerts that there’s a wildfire burning Mount Major in New Hampshire. The video has a few good shots of the helicopters working the fire. Other than that, this post has not much to do with helicopters.
I used to hike all over the White Mountains in New Hampshire when I was living in Massachusetts, and I’d hit Mt Major every few years because it was close and a pretty easy day hike. One of my first up-close experiences with helicopters was on Mt Techumseh on an early spring hike. Waterville Valley Ski Area sits on one side of Mt Techumseh, and the top has a mess of ski lift equipment and towers. As I was getting toward the summit, a Bell whipped up the slope with sling, dropped it at the top, set down for a minute, and went back down. I hoofed it up the rest of the way and got to watch him set down again. The dog and I were probably only 50 yards from his LZ. When they finished doing what they were doing, the pilot saw us and came over. Gave me a little brief on the hazards of the tail rotor and told me what they were doing (repairing some radio equipment).
At the time I was also in a bit of a career crisis, and had looked at what it would take to get into flying. I already had a mound of debt from 10 years of school and living in Boston, and taking on more debt wasn’t a consideration. But I remember the pilot talking about the responsibility and freedom of getting to fly. “Best job in the world.”
If I’d really been thinking, I’d at least have gotten a ride off the mountain with him. Instead, the dog and I glissaded down the patchy snow on the ski slopes. Good day either way.