Of all the great places around Oregon to have a weekend getaway in the outdoors, I have found fire lookout towers to be one of the finest. Over the last decade I have stayed in a number of them all over Oregon, in every configuration of company. Sometimes I have gone with my family, sometimes with friends, sometimes as a getaway with my adventure partner, and even once by myself, and every single one has been a grand time. I wrote this post a couple years ago about all the adventures to be had renting and staying in fire lookout towers: Sittin' on top of the World. I was also pleased to find this site recently called Firelookout.org, with information on renting lookouts all over the Northwest, including Idaho and Montana: http://www.firelookout.org/lookout-rentals.html
Out of all of them, Bald Knob Lookout, located at the edge of the Rogue Wilderness, has been my longtime favorite both for the views and reliably good condition, and that's where we decided to have our fall weekend adventure.
The kids hadn't been in a while, so they were excited for the trip. Something I really love about my kids is that they get so excited about a weekend in a fire lookout tower with no electricity and only their books and drawing supplies for entertainment. It feels good to know I'm imparting some values about simpler living to the next generation.
Everyone took some time to appreciate the views when we arrived. You really can't beat accommodations perched up above the treeline with views of all the mountains and valleys as far as the eye can see. One of the things I like about this view is a glimpse through the trees of the Rogue River and some open flats where it rounds a bend. I still have yet to hike the Rogue River Trail and am looking forward to exploring it one day.
It was nice having a break from daily life and homestead chores to enjoy simple things like working together on a puzzle someone kindly left on the shelf. We also took advantage of the amenities like the gas lights and oven by reading ghost stories and eating fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in the evenings. It ended up being warm enough for us to not really need it, but having the heater in October was a definite bonus.
Everyone spent a good amount of time catching up on reading...
And more reading.
Never wanting to miss the opportunity to enjoy a favorite swimming hole, the kids braved the cold waters of the Coquille River in October. Oh, to be twelve and invincible...
When times get busy, it is reassuring to know there is renewal in nature. Getting out and enjoying the peace and quiet, the open expanses, and the beauty of the changing seasons is recharging beyond measure. It's also nice, from time to time, doing this in a place with a few creature comforts. I would gladly turn down a getaway on a cruise ship or resort spa any day for a few days in a fire lookout tower with my family, away from it all.