Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lookouts and frozen showers!

Living the life of a lookout observer is not that different from the RV boondocking lifestyle.  All my power here is provided with solar panels, and all the heat and cooking is provided with propane.   A 2000w inverter is connected to provide power, and all the lights are LEDs.  There is a backup Honda 2000 generator, but I cannot see it ever being required.


The drinking water and propane is flown in – at least until rainwater collection starts to supplement the water supply.  So the same conservation methods used in boondocking apply here.  The cozy cabin is new, but not much larger than an RV.  Hailey is happy as long as she has her bed by a scenic window.  There is a sink and drain, and an indoor shower stall with a drain, but no other plumbing.  In boondock fashion, I filled a solar heated shower bag with water and left it out in the sun to heat up.  Instead, if froze solid!  When it thaws, it’ll be shower day.


Sometimes, you get to experience a unique view of wildlife in the area.  I spotted these cougar tracks on a trail not far away.


I tried to work some Bayfield Bunch picasa magic on the photos so that the tracks were somewhat visible Winking smile.

Deer come by regularly …IMG_8290


And have no idea that I’m watching them.  Four of them decided to have an afternoon nap right below me.


Nobody jumped out of this plane, but it reminded me of the airshows I got to see while camped on Lake Mead.


It was conducting some sort of geotechnical survey in the area and was usually not much above tree tops and usually below the height of my office cubicle.

There can be some long days in the lookout when the hazard is high, but watching videos of the Quebe Sisters Band can help pass the time.  You will recall that I met them when they were playing in Apache junction.  They are now on tour with Asleep at the Wheel.


After Hailey and I got dropped off out here, we were expecting to stay about 2 weeks until the regular tower staff show up.  Not surprisingly, that changed and our parole was denied, and we were asked to stay even longer.  That meant some imminent shortages of food were about to occur.  Catching mice and trying to lasso a deer did not seem to be workable alternatives, but fortunately we were able to convince a passing fire patrol helicopter to drop us off some additional supplies.


By the end of the month, I should be back to my regular job managing a primary fire base, but hoping some opportunities to fill in at other lookouts around the province may come our way again.  In the meantime, we are envious of Wheeling It and others who are still sitting in the hot springs of eastern California and taking seriously their duty to report on the best breweries in the west!  John & Brenda are now back at Dogpound north with their shivering Arizona horses!  Perhaps when Sassy takes up summer residence in BC, she’ll report on her neighbour Wandering Willy?

Ok, that’s enough name dropping.  We’ve got ‘work’ to do!G0194860


  1. I am sure boredom can set it but it looks very relaxing and peaceful, reading, watching your tablet and viewing the surrounding wildlife and scenery.... great pictures!

  2. I could handle everything about this job except frozen shower water. Does Hailey spend her days in the tower with you?

  3. Not in this lookout, as the only way to get her up there would be dangling on a 100' rope. And there are no window sills for her to sit on. Other mountain-top lookouts have no ladders and more space, so she is able to 'help' me at the top.
    If the sun doesn't cooperate, I guess I'll have to heat the shower water on the stove.

  4. Looks like you are set up really well there. I do think Hailey could use a fresh deer steak though. I hope you don't have to many fires. It sure is dry here too. Fire 🔥 bans are on all around Saskatoon right now.

  5. You have yourself some nice clear crisp photos again & especially of the deer. I like that night time tower photo as well. That frozen shower bag thing would be a deal breaker for me. I don't even like getting my hands cold under a tap.

  6. My mom, many years, ago spent her summers at a lookout tower in Washington state....with three kids. I have fond memories of huckleberry pies, making forts in the woods, and being terrified of electric storms because we were in the cabin while momma was way up in the tower. How tall is your tower?

    1. This tower is 100', which is about standard, but there are some at 120', and I've been in one that was 60'. But some mountain-top lookouts have no tower at all - just a one room cabin with windows all around. Love those lightning storms!

  7. Sounds like a nice change of pace kind of time! Beautiful and peaceful.

  8. Honda generators are really easy to transport. Most models like honda 2000 generator are lightweight, and easy to carry, while those which are not, are sold with wheeled transport kits.

  9. Wow, looks like you've really been places! I really love the pictures of the deer, definitely must have been hard to take those. I've been thinking on going on a road trip and go sight seeing. My wife and kids probably wouldn't be down to go though, but I'd love to some day! http://www.skylinepartybus.com/party-bus-mn