Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Back to the lookouts

Snow is melting fast off the high country, faster than usual.  Spring seems to be at least a month ahead.  Last Saturday raced over to the park to hike to a fire lookout, because you as you might know, I love fire lookouts....I just can't quit them.

The gate to the trailhead was open, cutting off four miles of road walking that I was expecting.  Again, this is really early.  At the parking area, I saw a couple groups getting ready to start hiking, one with small kids, so I charged onto the trail, not wanting to have to try and pass them later (does anyone else do this, or am I just weird?) 

The trail was snow free and I made pretty good time.  The first mile follows an old road and is pretty flat...

... but the last 2.5 miles gain 1850 feet.

The trail climbs this hill in a series of three long switchbacks.

In 2003, the Roberts Fire swept across this hillside.  I vaguely remember hiking this trail years ago when it was covered by a lodgepole forest.  The hike is very different today and can be very warm without the canopy.  Most of the dead trees have now fallen.

I arrived at the top in an hour and 10 minutes, which I didn't think was too bad (Iceland volcanoes, here I come).

The lookout, built in 1929 and unstaffed, gazes serenely out across the valley.  Since it is a historic structure, the Park Service will keep maintaining the building, but a person will probably never live here again.  We can come up here and stand on the catwalk where the lookouts once stood, looking for smoke in the hills, but eventually we will leave.  The building will stay, through the storms and sunshine.  There are so many stories written here, if we could only read them.



8 comments:

  1. Beautiful day, beautiful photos. Felt as if we could be right there....lots of stories in that lookout.

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  2. Love that last photo, especially!

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    1. Isn't it pretty? You can see it in real time if you Google glacier national park webcams. It's the one on Apgar lookout.

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  3. You can't beat fire lookouts for nice views! Gorgeous!

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    1. They're my favorite hiking destination, even more than lakes.

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  4. An hour and ten minutes for 3 1/2 miles, with 2 1/2 UP! You sure would have been waiting a long time at the lookout if we'd been along!

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    Replies
    1. Since I was by myself I went faster. I usually don't hike ahead of people if I'm with them.

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    2. Good training, though, ending up in a beautiful place!

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