Back to field camp. One fun or memorable moment or time [there, I've done it: used "fun" as an adjective three times now!] was at our last mapping project in the Swisshelm Mountains of Arizona, helping to fight a range or brush fire that had broken out across part of the map area. It was an exciting thing for a new field geologist to experience; at the same time, there was a certain tension involved: would we succeed? would our map area be ruined? (there were good and bad points to this latter possibility); would we get burned or injured in anyway? For the latter consideration, I think we were mostly in the invincible category at the time and probably didn't think very much about the danger to ourselves or about our overall safety, which was not treated as a huge deal back then the way it is now.
I was mostly involved in shoveling dirt onto hot spots around the edges, and in helping to move water containers to the lines. It was hot and smokey, the visibility was low, and my memory is tinged with orange. Memorable aspects of the day: we joined together in a common cause, we were fed dinner by ranchers also involved in the fire fighting, and the fire was stopped. I'm not sure whether we really cared that much about the range fire, at least not as much as the local ranchers or other fire fighters did, and we made jokes about hoping that the fire would at least burn down the cholla forest located on one of the east-west spurs of the north-south mountain—hoping at long last to be able to map that part of the spur, or to at least be able to walk through the area without massive attacks from stray cholla balls.
No such luck, though. The fire burned through the forest, blackening the cholla and dropping cholla balls all over the area, if anything making the forest more impassable than before.
Afterward, our mapping continued, under what turned out to be more difficult, not less difficult, circumstances: The limestone units and contacts in the upper hills had been reddened and obscured by fire retardant dropped from bombers.
P.S. There is some confusion between jumping cholla and teddy bear cholla, with the former being more likely to grab onto you and being restricted to the deep southwest (California and Arizona deserts), and the latter being somewhat likely to grab onto you and being found as far north as the Gilbert mining district northwest of Tonopah, NV.
UPDATE 5Oct12: Possibly we stayed here, at Faraway Ranch. The location looks good, the view of the area on Google Maps looks okay, although I can't tell if the buildings are right, and the pond might be gone.