Monday, September 8, 2008

Lady Blaze

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Keeping watch over the forest from a mountain-top fire lookout is one of those spittle-pay but romantic, go-nowhere-but-be-exactly-where-you-wanna-be part-time career choices that holds perpetual appeal for certain lonesome, oft-literary types who get itchy around too many people. Of course, the gig is a diminishing prospect as technology trumps practical romance.

But in this High Country News story in the Aug. 25 issue, one lookout keeper writes about another lookout keeper who's spent 50 summers in a row spotting strikes and smoke wisps in the Siskiyou Mountains.

Writes Erin Halcomb about 70-year-old Nancy Hood:

Here, in the company of rock wrens, she's counted the surrounding 296 foxtail pines. Prevailing west winds cool her during the day, and at night she listens to classical music and studies the stars. Over the years, she's become the Klamath's keeper of lookout history.

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters has been a staff writer with the North Coast Journal since 2005.

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