Over the three day weekend a total workforce of 20 were onsite at Hi Mountain Lookout, coming and going at different times. Several camped out one or two nights. Much was accomplished, assisting contractor John Porter with installation of lightning protection, electrical grounding and other safety improvements.
John Porter was a safety contractor for many years working for the Forest Service on many Sierra fire lookouts, and was referred to us by Kathy Ball from Buck Rock Lookout in Sequoia National Forest. John made the long drive to Hi Mountain from his residence near Lake Isabella in the southern Sierras.
With the use of a jackhammer, pick and shovels four trenches approximately 80 feet long were dug from the corners of the lookout- with great exertion by our volunteers- to bury the copper grounding
wires for lightning protection. Installing electrical conduits and welding the copper grounding wires around the lookout before burial also kept the workers occupied. Other group projects included: levelling an uneven rocky surface- using the jackhammer- that was difficult to walk across and using that rubble to fill in the depression around the Visitor Center entranceway; installing a chainlink mesh to fill in the lower gap on the stairway to prevent potential injuries due to falling through; brushing the slope below the lookout; setting-up a blue bird nesting box and bird feeder; cleaning the Visitor Center and redesigning the framed wall hangings; telemetry training for new volunteers, and other helpful projects.
For the potluck dinner Saturday night, the upstairs oven and stove were put to good use by Michaela and Lisa making dinner preparations. The group socialized upstairs by candlelight into the night, as the full moon and Jupiter were rising in the east and Venus was high in the west. A persistent 20 to more than 30 mph wind from the NE blew most the day into the evening, yet there was not a breath of wind just a few miles away below in the Pozo Valley (more amazingly, during the Feb. 25th heavy rainstorm the weather station recorded a maximum wind gust of 135 mph!!)
Thank-you to all for all the hard work and great accomplishments this weekend. Hope to see many of you at the May 8th picnic for staff and volunteers.