Two years ago I stumbled on a website that described a hike to an out of service fire lookout in the Sespe Wilderness. Further research revealed a blog article, The Lady from Thorn Point, http://davidstillman.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-lady-from-thorn-point.html and I was beyond enthralled and knew that I would eventually stand on the steps of this fire lookout. (this article describes the history of the fire tower so if you’re interested take a look) Which is why on the last unseasonably hot Saturday in September I found myself bumping down a dusty washboard road to Thorn Point trailhead.
I managed to find the only water in the whole backcountry and boy was it a big mud puddle. I almost got stuck!
I refer to these trips as DASH trips because they are so quick….I dash off, hike, camp, hike and dash home. Plus when I say DASH TRIP it makes me both smile and laugh. And that is a very good thing!
At 3:30 I started making the 3.6 mile 2,000 foot climb to Thorn Point. I had thought about doing this as a day hike but decided it would be more fun to camp overnight at the point….which is why I’m carting one and a half gallons of water or 12 extra pounds on my back. As soon as I stepped out of my car I was engulfed by hundreds and hundreds of tiny flies and gnats. When I tried to swat them away I was able to grab a fistful of them. I forgot about those pesky things! The trail Immediately went through a fern meadow that had begun to change colors for fall. The pines and dirt and rocks all sent a familiar aroma through my being….ahh I am home.
Thorn Meadow. I didn’t see many thorns, but did see lots of ferns.
Notice the pesky fly!
That’s me in-between the tree shadows.
There were some great rock formations along the trail.
OH to smell the pines!
Black Oaks starting to turn
Finally the tower comes into view.
I set up camp below these rocks in the soft sand.
I arrived at the lookout just in time to explore the tower, set up camp and watch an awesome sunset while eating dinner.
Love the old door….
And the stoves!
And the pencil sharpener. Funny too, because the pencils in the register were broken and it wasn’t until I was home tucked into bed that I had the bright idea of using this to sharpen them!
There was a bit a water in the metal cooler. YES, of course I checked!
The old bunkhouse and corral from the top of the tower.
Perhaps the most interesting discovery were these drawings etched into the cabinets by “The Lady of Thorn Point” some 45 years ago!
Not a good place to fall down the stairs!
The moon was almost full and brightened the sky in every direction.
It was so quiet up on Thorn Point that I had trouble falling asleep and spent what seemed to be hours tossing and turning. Before long I was watching a spectacular sunrise engulf the surrounding peaks. I spent some time exploring the fire tower, studying the map and identifying peaks before I headed back down the trail.
Morning coffee on the tower.
The old insulators around the phone line
Stove pipe on the bunk house reaching for the sky.
An amazing piece of history. The big white container was used to collect rain water from the gutters.
I highly recommend this hike and exploration of history.
Driving back to highway 33 I encountered a cattle roundup! I couldn’t go around them so I pulled over and read my book for a while!