mtv wrote: by going west to Galena,
Has it changed since 1970? That summer I was 17 and me and a buddy hitched a ride down the Yukon/Tannana from Fairbanks aboard a supply barge with supplies for the village in Galena. We were waiting for the fire season to start, hoping to get hired out of Galena. We camped on the river bank until sure enough, we got hired some days later to help man the helitak squad based there for the summer.
We had the most fun flying all over the interior in a Huey going on fire calls. Talk about getting into some virgin unspoiled wilderness! The pilot was real cool and if we begged him he would go down on the deck while we chugged along looking at the scenery go by.
The Air Force strip there at Galena had two F4 Phantoms based there, so we got entertained by those guys screaming around. Crap those things were loud. There also were two or three B-25 bombers based there for the summer that were on call to drop "Borade" on the fires. One time one came back with a large half moon shaped ding in the leading edge of wing where he hit a tree on a drop. Another day one of the B-25s landing gear wouldn't come down (only nose gear half way) and after trying to bang the tail on the runway to try and jar the gear loose (unsuccessful) he went ahead and made a belly landing on the foam. Picked the plane up with a crane, gear comes down, two new props, and fly the thing back to Fairbanks for repairs. What fun times.
By the way, the bar there in the Galena village was absolutely frightening to a 17 year old! The scariest looking drunk indian woman I ever saw tried to take me home with her.
I got rescued and never went back.
Some of the best times of my life.