September 4, 2016
Well, Charlie and I are back in Bozeman. I'm not particularly happy about that, though I think Charlie is relatively pleased ... he was getting a little stir crazy up there on the mountain.
Made the hike down on Thursday in good time ... less than 2-1/4 hours, not counting the 15 minutes of conversation on the trail when I stopped to meet the replacement lookouts hiking in. Car started right up this year, and an hour later I was enjoying the first flush toilet I'd used in two weeks. Turned in the Forest Service radio, grabbed my favorite fast food meal at the local A&W, and was in Bozeman by 9:30 or so. And that's the end of that for another year.
Even though I was depressed about leaving, it turned out that the end of my lookout hitch was actually pretty well-timed, since a cold front started heading into Montana not long after I got home. There's a possibility of mountain snow in the vicinity of the lookout tonight and tomorrow, and so the Forest Service has shut down Baptiste and a couple other lookouts for the weekend, and my successors have been sent home. It's the smart thing to do, I suppose, though in a way I think it would be a blast to ride out a snowstorm in one of those things!
Anyhow, my first couple days back in Bozeman have been pretty uneventful. It takes a while to catch up on errands, and sort through two weeks of junk mail, and answer a zillion or so e-mails ... and just to get acclimated again. But I suppose I'm just about there. We're not going to get snow here, but it still feels like autumn outside, and I had to take Charlie for a walk in the rain today.
And just a couple more fire lookout things. One is an article on Montana fire lookouts published by the British newspaper The Guardian ... a couple of you have seen this, but I thought I'd post the link here anyway. It's fairly well done, and includes interviews with a couple of folks I know.
From now on, just call me the Freak on the Peak. :)
And a couple more Prisma-manipulated photos from Baptiste. Here's what one of the "light show" photos from a few days ago looked like after I ran it through Prisma:
And yet another shot of the lookout itself: