Kiana Travel Blog› entry 22 of 38 › view all entries
Several of the geologists who had been on the project since its beginning in mid-May were preparing to head home to enjoy several weeks with friends and family before continuing their educations at various universities across the 'Lower 48'. Others would move on as well in the coming days so it was decided to have a sort of 'end-of-the-season' get-together out at the Omar Camp. Traditionally it would be an end-of-the-season PARTY but our camps are dry. Those of us from the Kiana camp converged on Omar to enjoy barbequed burgers, baked beans, and macaroni salad, then wash it all down with A&W Root Beer, Dr. Pepper, and Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water. Dinner was followed by several rounds of horseshoes and a bonfire.
When the Omar camp was constructed, the brush and spruce trees which had been cut were amassed on the river's rocky bed in the shape of a cone that stood about fifteen feet tall.
A trail of gasoline was sprinkled around the base of the monument-like pyre then outward about six feet. When the wood-stick match made contact, the resulting whoof was short and muffled but echoed from across the Omar itself. A brilliant orange ball of fire tumbled into blue sky resembling a launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. BTU's were felt seventy-five yards away, adding heat to an already warm day. Dried spruce burns quickly and after five or ten minutes, the flames subsided to about thirty feet.
The ride back to Kiana was smooth. Day by day, the red and yellow colors of an arctic fall are slowly creeping onto the green rolling tundra, the brown hillsides, the gray mountain-tops, and into the countless tree-lined streams and drainages. The views were spectacular as Matt steered the 500 over rugged ridgelines and wide valleys, low-level. Then, in the second valley south and just ten miles from Omar, he spotted the moose and slowed our airspeed. The massive beast, full-grown at nearly 1,500 pounds, trotted gracefully toward nearby willows as we made our pass.