Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Firetowers

In addition to fishing, there are other things I also enjoy and one of those is hiking.  I love climbing up a mountain and look down on God’s wonderful creation.  Sometimes I just need to get above the daily difficulties of life and see things from a larger perspective and hiking allows me to do that.  The other reason I love climbing is that my oldest daughter likes to climb mountains too and it has become one of those things we share together.   This summer we’ve been in the process of climbing every mountain in Hamilton County with a fire tower on it.  There are five in the county and it’s been fun to learn about the history of these towers and the people that sat up in those towers keeping watch over the forests below.

the whole family at the tower Owl's head

Rae at the tower on Blue Mountain with a thunderstorm quickly approaching 

Rae and Lydi on the tower at Pillsbury Mt

Rae and her best friend Sarah in the cab on Snowy Mt

This past weekend we climbed the last of the five towers and it was a quite an experience.   We had left the largest tower on Wakely Mt for last.  This tower is the second tallest fire tower in the state of New York and was one of the early “light” towers installed in the Adirondacks.  These light towers where originally installed with just a ladder on the outside of the tower as opposed to tower with an internal staircase.  I can’t imagine anyone climbing a 65ft tower with a light aluminum ladder on the outside in wind or freezing rain.  Apparently the ladder only lasted a couple years and was replaced with the more common internal staircase but the tower footings were not strong enough to support the weight of the staircase so additional footings were installed.

The "beast" - the tower on Wakely Mt

My first glimpse of the tower made me a little queasy.  The first thing my eye saw was a cab that looked a little neglected and had no wire safety fencing around the last landing and an exposed ladder up into the cab.  Somehow my daughter convinced me to go up and have a look and we did indeed climb up into the cab.  That was an experience I will not soon forget.  Standing up in the cab you could feel that whole tower swaying in the wind, so much so that I couldn’t get a decent reading with my compass!  After looking around and taking a few pictures we very CAREFULLY climbed down.

You want to climb up there???  Notice how exposed the last landing is with the ladder up into the cab

View looking up the staircase

One false step up here will be trouble!

View from the cab to the ground 65ft below

Standing on the last landing there's very little to hang onto.  You feel like you are flying

Original ladder on the outside of the tower.  They actually climbed that???
 But you can't beat the view you can get from these towers.  Even though it took a lot of effort to man these towers you get sense of how addictive these views can be.

View from the tower on Snowy Mt

Indian Lake from the Snowy Mt tower

View from the Wakely Moutain tower with Snowy Mt in the distance

View from Wakely looking north and east towards Blue Mt


10 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures. Everything is green, just the way I like....not sure I could climb up though. Good for you guys!

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    1. LQN - thanks, it is beautiful country for sure

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  2. Good Stuff Mark!!! I think I 'll keep my feet on the ground or in the Farmington!!! Nice Scenery !!!

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    1. Pete - thanks. I think I would prefer to have my feet firmly planted in the Farmington as well!

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  3. Great post....Those pictures of the Adirondacks are beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Kiwi - The pictures can only show so much, the expanse of the landscape is really incredible

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  4. Wonderful photos Mark.
    The next time we meet I'll tell you of a fire tower here in CT. that I'm sure you'll love.

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    1. Alan - thanks, that tower sounds interesting...

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  5. Great post and really enjoyed the photos. Beautiful area.

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  6. Thanks James! It is beautiful country for sure

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