Mr. Taylor's career 'eating smoke' began the summer of 1959 on the Sierra National Forest on a slash disposal/fire crew. He started smokejumping in 1965 in Redding, California. By 1972, he was 31 years old, and it occurred to me that I could simply quit, jump a couple more seasons, get it out of my system, then return to my Forest Service career and settle down.
In 1973, he became a Bureau of Land Management Alaska smokejumper and loved it so much, he never looked back. That season is the setting for More or Less Crazy, and the beginning of what eventually became known as the T-Hangar Days.
In twenty-seven years as a smokejumper, he jumped fires in eight western states, all over Alaska, and the Yukon Territory of Canada. I made 375 total jumps, 205 to fires. The story of smokejumping is a story of extraordinary human endeavor; a story that strongly embraces the tenet that there is virtue in trying hard, keeping the faith, and never giving up.
Return to the summer of '73 and adventure through Alaska as a Smokejumper. In an odyssey of movement and beauty we move back and forth across Alaska, jumping fires from Kodiak Island to the shadows of Denali, and in the winds of Isabel Pass.
The smokejumpers themselves are a varied lot - several are ex-Air America bad boys recently back from covert CIA operations in Southeast Asia, and in no mood to take orders from anyone. The rest of the crew is made up of transfers and no-rehires from the jump bases in the Lower 48 where strict, top-down, authoritarian management made it hard, if not impossible, for them to fit in. Being stuck on Fort Wainwright in a dark and dreary hangar, surrounded by chain link fences and gravel lots, and under the eye of the Army Military Police is a recipe for disaster with a healthy serving of rebellion, heroism, pranks and humor thrown in.
Adventure with these smokejumpers as they ultimately come together in an outrageous testimony to the joy of living life fully and playfully in one of America's last great true-life adventures.