Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jump Practice

Down, down, down

We were so lucky to be invited, last Friday, to watch a practice jump of the Redmond Smokejumpers.

Safely landed
First one down

If you don't know what a smokejumper is you better go find out here. To describe their job, VERY simplistically, they are wildland firefighters who can literally "jump" into fires to help contain them.

The Sherpa
Skirtin' the trees

Again, you MUST read more about them elsewhere because their jobs are incredibly important and fascinating. I can't do their service justice here. So I am just going to post some photos about our morning watching them jump.

Two on this round

We have some very dear family friends (a husband and wife) who are/were smokejumpers out of the Redmond Air Center right here in our town. Since we've known them they have given talks and tours to our 4-H club and enlightened us with their vast knowledge of forests and wildlands, weather patterns, fire science, parachuting, first you might guess, they are very handy and hardy friends to have around.

Since we don't have school on Fridays, we were lucky enough to be home when we heard they were having a practice jump not too far from our homes. We were asked if we would like to come and watch. Our response? OF COURSE!! So we sped out towards the mountains, down a muddy path to a small meadow. The Sherpa was already flying overhead and had dropped several streamers to help the jumpers gauge wind conditions.

Ground Crew

Peelu with a streamer

The kids were so excited to watch the plane and the parachutes, but it was especially cool that they knew one of the jumpers. Our little friends who invited us were so proud to watch their dad. They all counted down until he jumped out. It was amazing to watch how skilled they are at guiding their parachutes. Sometimes they landed not even a few hundred feet away from us.

Watching the Sherpa overhead
I see them!
"I see dem, Mama!"
Our friend coming down

Then, when it was clear, the kids got to run to our friend and check everything out first hand.
Peelu on our friend's parachute before he pack it away

Then they began the process of packing everything back up, including a stubborn parachute that wouldn't come down.

Cutting down one of the parachutes

What a fabulously awesome morning.

Watching the Sherpa drop some jumpers

We have cool friends. Seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome photos! You should enter them in the fair.