Friday, September 28, 2018

Lookout person

There aren't only two kinds of people, as many memes and sayings try to attest.  People are much too complex for that.  If I were to say there are people who could be fire lookouts and those who can't, that wouldn't be true.  There are plenty of people who could do the job, and like it okay.  There are people who absolutely would hate it.  Then there are people who love it.

I'm a lookout person.  As the regular lookout hiked away down the trail for her days off, I felt happy.  Six days in a fire lookout, alone! This was just what I needed after a busy season surrounded by people.

At the lookout, I'm never bored.  There's always something to look at: the fires in the distant hills, deer and grouse beneath the tower, clouds racing overhead.  One night a black bear climbed the summit south of the lookout, paused and looked around, and continued south into the wilderness. I climbed the ladder onto the roof and did some exercises up there.  I hiked around, collecting firewood.  Sometimes I just stoked up the wood stove and read a book.  At night I went to sleep when the sun set, sometimes waking up startled by the moon.

Every morning I climbed down to the rain gauge and collected weather observations. At over 7000' elevation it was already autumn. Mornings were cold.  On my last day I woke up to a snowstorm.  I put on layers and locked the tower, heading down the seven mile trail.  It was time to go; I met the regular lookout at the snow survey.  Armed with extra clothes and food, she was either staying for 6 or 12 days.  She wasn't sure, but she was prepared.  I continued on into warmer temperatures, back into the real world.

I don't always like what goes on in the real world.  I'm glad there are still places to go to get away.

6 comments:

  1. Loved this....imaging how it was up there, and how the quiet was a balm after such a busy fire season. I'm sure you are right....many people could do fire lookout but you would have to be comfortable with the quiet and with your own company. Glad you are...and that you have six days there.

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    1. I know a lot of people who would be really bored.

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  2. What an amazing assignment! I could do this for a week or two, but then I'd probably get lonely.

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    1. If it's not in the park you could bring a dog or cat!

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  3. I wouldn't know until I did it...but I think I would be one that would LOVE life at a fire tower!!!

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    1. I bet you would. In some they get to bring their pets! I knew of a lookout who brought her cat.

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