Sunday, October 30, 2011

20 August 2011 Sugar Hill Fire Tower

After we left Watkins Glen, we headed to Sproul State Forest to hunt a few caches. My happiness was intense when I realized the old fire tower was still in place. There are two wonderful possibilities with fire towers. First, they may be accessible for climbing. Second, many of them had benchmarks very near.

I was really happy to see that it was open for climbing. I have no reason why I have a strong fear of heights yet love climbing old fire towers. This one was in better shape than most and fairly stable. The view from the top was really outstanding, and my pleasure was made much greater when I saw a concrete post for a benchmark while at the top of the tower. When we reached the bottom, we both happily found the benchmark and two reference disks.

What could be better than finding a tower, climbing the tower, and locating the nearby benchmark? Why, a visit from the nearby state park employee. He was wondering what we were doing and was surprised to find out the disks in the ground were actually benchmarks. He must have sensed he had found a couple of true geeks since he offered to show us the inside of the old lookout cabin which was still standing. Inside the cabin was basically unchanged from its days as an outlook residence. Ali was thrilled to find the working maps still in the main room. I thought the old forest radio was cool as was the really old Smokey sign. The only real change to the cabin had been the removal of the kitchen. This tour was a completely unexpected bonus.

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