Thursday, September 17, 2015

Camp 2015 - Owl's Head

 We continued a long tradition of hiking Owl's Head Mountain. From where we start it's about a 2.25-mile hike to reach the top, with a lot of it being a fairly strenuous climb. 
 Well, at my age with a 35-lb weight on my back, anyway. :) 
 Apparently, I messed up the white balance on these pics. 

 We took a short rest at the ruins of the Observer's Cabin. The preceding mile had been a really rough climb for everyone, so they were thrilled to be able to sit down.
 Still chipper after a short rest. Ready to tackle the last 1/2 mile. This cabin was used by the tower staff from 1929 until the tower was closed in 1970. In 1979, the cabin was purposely burned because it wasn't in keeping with the natural state of the forest.
 The fire tower up top is still in climbable (is that a word?) shape and the kids scrambled up it like a bunch of squirrels, even Emma and Irene! A little info about the Adirondack Fire Towers: At one time, there were 69 towers in the Adirondack and Catskills Mountains. Today there are only 28. They were used until the last one closed down in 1990. In 1903 and 1908, there were 2 huge wildfires that consumes over 428,000 acres and 368,000 acres respectively. (Just for comparison, the Hayman Fire, the largest in Colorado's history, was 137,000 acres.) As a response, they built a wooden fire tower on Owl's Head in 1911. In 1919, this metal tower was built to replace the wooden tower. It was used continuously until 1970, when they removed the bottom steps to prevent access. (Not that that stopped us when we were kids...) In 2004, local groups got together and restored the tower, along with several other in the area with new stairs, paint, wood, and fencing.
(Info provided by Adirondack Journeys)
We're glad they put that sturdy wire fencing to keep people from slipping through the railing and tumbling down because Irene was adamant that she didn't need my help!
For other fire towers in the area, see this page

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