Winter Overnight in a Fire Lookout, January, 2010

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Winter Overnight in a Fire Lookout, January, 2010

Arguably too much fun.  Dufur.  "Power Sledding."  Off trail.  The Lookout.  Group photo.  Dumbwaiter.  Adventure.  Our version of "Power Sledding."  Jumping over trees.  Or almost.  Chopping wood.  Fear.  Bananachocolatemess.  Snowball ambush.  "Just Married."

We left Catlin Gabel at 8:30 am.  Our original plan to ski in and out was foiled by almost complete lack of snow.  We cancelled our rental skis and just walked in our boots.  A couple of eager students examined the map (with a questionable degree of success) and decide how we would get there.  The initial route took us through some deep snow in the flats near eightmile campground.  Once we started up the hillside we beat our way through brush then wandered over to the old growth forest.  I think it took less than two hours (with lots of stops) to get all the way up to the lookout.

Once at the lookout we suddenly found ourselves with an entire afternoon to fill, and an egergetic group of kids.  We went on an adventure, hugging the ridgeline west of the lookout.  Only two of our students had ever chopped wood, which is an abomination that needed remedy.  We had a clinic and safety talk about chopping wood.  Then we chopped an enormous amount of wood.  We spent the rest of the evening playing games and making dinner.  Cleanup was a little long and difficult.  We prepared a lot of warm water from snow.  A lot of warm water. 

That night three girls slept on the bed (winner of rock-paper-scissors) and one on the cupboard.  Three boys slept on the floor, one on the deck, and one kooky leader slept wonderfully under a tree next to the lookout.  It was roomy and warm inside, though our porch-sleeper experienced wind and cold and did not sleep well.

On the second day we had a leisurely breakfast, cleaned the cabin, and headed back to the bus, sneaking up on the third group for a snowball fight.  The pictures are good, but somewhat incriminating.  Check out the slideshow!