Saturday, July 26
This morning I awoke to a cloudless sky. As the sun rose behind Baptiste Mountain, it cast its shadow on the hills and mountains across the reservoir to the west. The peaks received sunshine before the drainages which lingered in shadow for a long time. The land contours and folds stood out in sharp contrast to the high peaks. Although the inside of the lookout was quite chilly this morning, I did not light a fire. Knowing that this would be a warm day, I waited for the sun to heat up my little home. However, because Baptiste Peak stands near the lookout at 8396 feet, it took hours for the sun to shine in my west windows. Once it did, the lookout glowed with warmth.
Last night from my bed, I could see several campfires down by the reservoir. The weekend and clear skies will probably produce more human activity in this forest. I will be watching for human-caused smoke, as well as continuing to monitor the sites of lightning down-strikes a few days ago.
As I was walking down the 41 steps from the lookout to the ground, I startled a doe eating next to the tower. Although we both were startled, she didn’t run away and I was able to quietly creep back up and get my camera. She hung around for awhile and was totally unconcerned about the radio traffic, so I assumed that she was the doe mentioned in the notes from the previous lookout as a frequent visitor. She is my companion this morning.
In the still morning air, the sounds are more magnified than usual……or maybe its just that the winds are calm and the windows are not rattling. The forest is alive with bird song and I can hear Logan Creek far below. Peace is the word that comes to my mind. Although I have loved the past three days of solitude, I looked forward to seeing three friends who were hiking up to bring dinner and camp overnight.
First, Suzanne and Richard Hildner arrived with backpacks full of camping gear and food. Then, Scalplock Lookout Bill Fordyce arrived with more food. They began to pull all kinds of wonderful food out of their backpacks including two cantaloupes, two kinds of cherries, huckleberries, and chocolate! In addition, the Hildners had brought dinner and breakfast. We sat around telling stories, laughing together, and cooking while the sun was going down. I cleared off my work desk and we set the table for a feast. As it got dark, we lit the candles that Bill had packed in and the lookout glowed.