Thursday 3 August 2023

The Old Lookoutman's Cabin, Untouched

    Immediately after the Teare Creek Fire swept across McBride Peak, there were numerous rumors about the damage it had done.  From McBride, it looked like the fire had burned through the area where the old cabin used by the lookout man stood, and we were told that the landmark had been destroyed.  

    On our recent trip up the mountain, we were happy to see that that was not the case.  The old log structure still stood there, overlooking the valley.  The old cabin, now covered with people’s names and initials, was were the lookout man lived, the actual lookout is still exists as a historical site, up on the McBride Peak alpine.  The lookout man would have to travel up to the top of the mountain each day to get there.

    The cabin has just been sitting there, unused for maybe 70 years.  Back in the 1980’s when I was working for the Forest Service, there was going to be a big hang-gliding event off of McBride Peak.   The Forest Service wanted to “spruce-up” the look of the cabin, for the hang-gliders that would be soaring overhead, so I was sent up to the cabin with a bucket of dark green paint, a brush, and a ladder to paint the ratty-looking old asphalt shingles on it’s roof.  It looks like the roof of the cabin has been re-shingled since I had to paint it.

    One of the things I always like about working for the Forest Service was that there were always unexpected jobs that I had to do, which broke up my normal day to day work.    

    The hang-gliding event turned tragic when a contestant tried to land in a campground below, and hit a tree, fell to the ground, and was killed.

    The fire did burn trees around the cabin, but luckily  the lookoutman’s nightly residence survived the fire.

Take a look at my paintings:

Reply to question about the lookout man:   

    As far as I know there was only one lookout man, Mr. Koeneman who was an early settler in the valley and a farmer.  His log home still stands at the base of McBride Peak and is now Koeneman Regional Park.   He would only take on the role as lookout, if the fire danger became high.  There is a steep old "Cat" trail from the lookout man's cabin up to the main lookout on the top of the mountain.  I am not sure if he rode a horse up there, or had an old Jeep, it is a very steep road.

    As I mentioned the logs on the cabin are now covered with names of people and initials carved into the wood.  Once while looking through the hundreds of names, I came upon the name of a person I used to know when working at a mill.  I was a bit shocked because he had been killed in a motorcycle accident.


1 comment:

  1. I love old structures like this. Makes you wonder about the life of the person who lived there as lookoutman. Was that a part time shared by more than one person and they lived elsewhere when not looking out?