The weather cleared out enough on Saturday so that we were able to go up the mountain at about 11 am. Since it was a late start we just humped sand, a door and a window to the top. Getting a late start didn’t mean the ascent was any easier although I thought it was a bit easier because I now knew what to expect.
Sunday and Monday we started out from Pitkin at a little after 8 am and made it to the top by about 10:30. The weather, while sunny was brutally windy….winds of 30-40 mph. It made working very difficult and by the time we got down off the mountain at around 4 pm we were pretty well exhausted….and wind burned.
Unfortunately the window we brought up would not fit the opening. The door fit fine after some major trimming with a hand saw. The Forest Service Archaeologist said that last year the hut filled up to the roof with snow because of the lack of windows and a door. Hopefully this winter the interior will remain snow free.
The other major task we accomplished was to rebuild a portion of the south wall of the lookout. A hundred years of weathering had taken it’s toll. We removed rock from the peak of the wall down to the window lintel and then rebuilt it using stone from the mountain top and mortar that we mixed on site. It was a long and complicated process to re-assemble the wall and make everything fit but several of the volunteers had done this sort of work before.
Several times during the week we had visitors hike up the mountain to see what we were doing. The project had gotten some publicity in the area and a few hardy souls came up to see what we were doing. Take a look at the picture to the left and see if you can see the hiker on the ridge below us…..aw, I’m going to help by marking him with an arrow. This fellow hiked in the long way. It turned out that he had worked on this same project last year. This picture gives you a good perspective of how high up we were….and this guy was 2/3 of the way up when I took the photo!
It was an absolutely amazing experience for me. One that I will remember for a long while. I was tickled that I was able to physically do the climb every day. It was also an honor to be able to help preserve this bit of history in a little known, far away place.
I will be doing another Passport In Time (PIT) project with this same archaeologist, next month. This project will be another archaeological survey and there will be a little excavation to boot. Fortunately this project will not require as much physical stamina….but more on that later.
Thanks for visiting.