Spending the weekend in the sky

08/17/2008

This weekend I ventured out of Calabasas again and made my way up the 5 to the Sequoia National Forest . On my way, I made a pit-stop at a more modern ghost town called Randsburg. Before continuing to the national forest, I spent the night in a small cottage and enjoyed the utter silence in the ghost town. The rest of my weekend would be spent in a fire tower lookout at the peak of a mountain surrounded by sequoias.

I headed to Randsburg just before dark and arrived in the small (and I mean very small) ghost town and checked into The Cottage Hotel. Although the quaint hotel sat on the main drag of Randsburg, the town was absolutely silent. When I woke up I explored the ghost town and stumbled upon quite a few run-down homes and an old city jail. For lunch I stopped in to the local Saloon and to my surprise it was filled with old Randsburg relics and shots guns.

One day in Randsburg was just the right amount of time and by this point I was really anxious to see what this fire tower was going to be like.

It took about two more hours of driving before reaching the top of the mountain. I was in complete awe when I got out of the car; towering over me on the top of a boulder was a fire lookout cabin. In order to get your belongings to the top of the tower you had to pack it into a metal crate and have someone pulling it up via a hand-over-hand pulley system… or carry it all the way up. When you reach the top of the steep staircase you have to use a code to open the trap door. The tower has a 360 degree view of the mountains, Kern river and of the Bakersfield cityscape. It’s quite a sight. At dusk you can watch the sunset to the west and just shortly thereafter see the moon rise to the east. With 3 full windows on every wall of the tower, the sunrise wakes you up in the morning and warms the room. It really is amazing.

I spent the days hiking and enjoying the mountains and spent nights by the fire and keeping warm in the fire tower when the sun went down. The weather was pretty nice overall but when the sun went down it got a little chilly for my thin blood. During the day I could hear cows mooing and hunters shooting in the distance. Not once did I see a random hiker or even a forest ranger.

The fire tower could quite possibly be the most awesome place I’ve ever camped and I’ve already started looking for future reservations- the only bummer is that I tried to make another reservation for another weekend this year but it it completely booked until next season!