Two incidents during this period proved to be harbingers of his future. Timber company detectives patrolled the forests, and they found great sport in chasing the skinny youngster from his hunting and trapping haunts. Sworn to revenge, Joe threw rocks at the tin roof of the cabin the detectives lived in, and when they ran outside to chase him, two of his friends ducked inside the cabin and wedged long poles underneath a potbellied woodstove. As the chimney came crashing down, the boys scuttled out the door with the stove balanced on the poles between them, "fire and all." After that, Joe was a marked young man, but the abandoned cabin he trapped out of-one the detectives couldn't find-was much warmer. Not only would this foresee a long and contentious relationship with authority, but the timber company'sfforts to run him out of the woods impressed upon him the importance of keeping wild lands in public hands, a philosophy that eventually led to a career in the U.S. Forest Service.