The Lookout Tower
David and I backpacked up to this former Forest Service fire lookout a few days ago. The spot is currently being maintained by the Bitterroot Ski Club, and thanks to its location in the highest part of the Bitterroot Mountain range, the boys use it as their base for backcountry ski and split-board adventures.The hike is about 2,629 feet in elevation gain over 2.7 miles one way, so it’s a bit of a steep one. I wish I could say that I killed it, but for the most part I felt a bit like a mule in quick sand. The climb was more than worth it though. Not just for the chance to flex my muscles and sleep up in this epic sky fort with 360 degree mountain views, but also for the existential self-struggle on the way up. David reminded me that giving up is almost always in your head. My shaky legs battling the weight of the baby gorilla on my back told me otherwise, but alas, they made it and so did the rest of me.
After stripping off sweaty clothes, getting my fill of the scenery, having lunch, sipping on an un-iced vodka with lemon water and otherwise chilling out, I found my mind wandering to the internet. As I laid there staring out at my beautiful nemesis Trapper Peak, I felt the familiar itch of an addict. My brain needed a fix, but there was nothing to fix it. Deep inside, I knew that not even a half bar reached up here (I had looked as soon as I dropped my pack), but I checked again anyway.
Damn. Still nothing. Obviously.
We’ve only been out of the service area for a few hours and already my brain is vying for the Twitter feed. In a place where stillness reigns, I can’t seem to find it anywhere, so I decide to step outside. Only then, with the imminent threat of falling off a wooden ledge, does my brain begin to calm. Settling on the beauty that surrounds me I breathe and appreciate the true democracy that this free to stay at, communally maintained mountain cabin represents.