Back in the day, I filled in as a relief fire lookout in Kings Canyon National Park. What I remember best about those times were mild fear that a fire would start and I would have to accurately pinpoint it using the fire finder, and annoyance at all the people who sweatily hiked to the base of the tower and asked to come up. In the time since, I have dreamed of working at a lookout all summer--just think of how much writing I could get done (minus tourists of course).
There are a few fire lookouts that ordinary souls can rent, though the competition is fierce. Through a lucky circumstance we were able to snag a night at the Green Ridge Lookout, which overlooks the Metolius Basin. Normally you have to leap onto recreation.gov and reserve it as soon as it comes open (January 1, I think). This lookout in particular is staffed in summer, which means there are only a few precious weeks for us regular folk.
|Ruby scans for fires on the deck below the lookout cabin.|
You can drive to this lookout, kind of spoiling the romantic vibe of a solitary hike to a remote peak. However, there's a gate with a combo lock, which keeps most people away, even though it's a short trot down the road to reach the lookout. We arrived late in the afternoon, just in time for a short hike/bike ride on the Green Ridge trail.
|Views along the trail|
A crimson sunset fell over the lookout and a robe of stars spread out over the Cascade volcanoes. Somewhere down below us, there were thousands of people, but up here, there was only a cool breeze. This lookout has unheard of amenities, a stove, refrigerator, and an outhouse that is among the nicer kinds. I could live up here forever, I thought.
about this lookout