Crouched in the doorway of a Travelair over the Flathead National Forest, Frank Fowler waits for the slap that will send him dropping from the sky to his first fire as a smokejumper. How he got there is the journey of a young man who grew up on the streets of Washington, D.C. When he was six his father died, yet his mother instilled in him the value of looking on the positive side of life and the importance of self-confidence. She encouraged him to seek adventure and to write about his experiences. Sent in his teens to live with a brother and family in a Maryland suburb, he became involved in Boy Scouts. There he met Scoutmaster Joe Woolfolk, a forester from Montana on assignment at the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service, who became Frank’s mentor. Joe returned to Montana, but visited Maryland after Frank’s high school graduation and suggested a career in forestry. There was an offer of employment while going to college, and for someone with little money and no desire to attend college locally, the idea had great appeal, even if it was thousands of miles away. He left all he had known in the East to find his adventure in the West; to attend Montana State University (now the University of Montana) in Missoula; and to work four summers for the Forest Service—three as a smokejumper. He shared his exploits with his mother in frequent and detailed letters that she saved. An aspiring author herself, she encouraged him to write about parachuting to forest fires. Those letters are the basis for this memoir—“High-mountain Two-manner.” His writing style invites you to go with him as he trains, works in the woods, and fights forest fires. He also shares with you the joys of working in the back-country and savoring the beauty of wild places. In spite of the likelihood that you haven’t met Frank, by the end of the book you may have the distinct feeling that you have.
Published: Xlibris on
ISBN: 9781462809301
List price: $9.99
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