Paul Uren


I was at the bottom camp at Indian Mountain from October 1966 to August 1967.  I got out a little early so I could attend college.  I was also a weather observer and like you, was supposed to go somewhere else.  I didn't have any observing experience so I guess they figured I couldn't hurt anything at Indian Mountain.  Just before I left in 1967 they added the observing tower at the weather station.  It wasn't very far along when I left, so I don't know if it's fair to call it a tower.  I volunteered to work the night shift.  I cleaned the NCO club which was next door to the weather station.  I also took the dogs in at night so they had a place to get out of the cold.  There were plenty of bears and I hand fed them with bacon, but when I got low on bacon, I made sure I put some distance between myself and the bears.  We were never allowed to go anywhere off camp without a weapon.  A couple times in the summer I walked the 9  miles upstream to the gold camp and then the additional two miles to the mouth of a tributary where we panned for gold. It was said the runway at Utopia was the steepest runway in North America.  We were allowed one phone call a month that lasted for about 10 minutes.  You were allowed to pick the time to make your call based on the length of time you had been at camp.  The newest arrivals had to make their calls around 1:00 in the morning to talk to their families in a time zone that made their time around 5 or 6 am.  This was all before computers, email, cell phones etc.  Of course there wasn't any television and the only radio station was a government broadcast that only seemed to play music by Boots Randolph.  I thought with the use of satellites, these radar sites would now be closed.  There's a lot of stories we each could tell about our time on the mountain.  I'll always remember how the sun circles on the horizon during the summer and at midnight on July 4, 1967, we played top camp in a fast pitch softball game.  I think we lost, but I was lead off batter and played left field.  The base commander was the umpire.  We all counted the days down and couldn't wait to be a "short timer".