Friday, July 25, 2003

Vacation on the Mountain

Greetings all,

I spent Tues. through Thurs. of this week at the Lookout, filling in for Mike Tyner who is on holiday. It was a hot, productive, and somewhat sentimental three days, being the first extended visit to the Lookout I’ve had since last summer. Condor activity was very low: no signals on Tues. and brief, weak signals mid-day on Weds. and Thurs. from a few birds to my distant east/southeast.

I spent a few hours painting interior window frames and sills on Weds. I’m still taken back by the transformation of the Lookout since last June and the list of “finishing touches” is rapidly dwindling. Kevin Cooper came up on thursday to complete his masterpiece of a deck, adding a stairs and siding to it. He also built some shelving in the storage areas downstairs. John from Pacific Energy came up on Thurs. and spent most of the afternoon re-wiring the solar console, installing a new battery array, and answering all the questions Kevin and I could come up with. Hooray! The power is back on!! I also had the good fortune of meeting and orienting our newest volunteer Jack Morehead of Morro Bay. Jack will be a great asset to the Project. He worked for the NPS for 40 yrs, has staffed a fire lookout (enduring lightening strikes!), just completed the Lewis and Clark Trail, and also has a background in archaeology(!). Jack took a short walk around Hi Mt. and collected what he thinks to be pottery shards from several locations. Yet another aspect of the Lookout Project that needs more investigating….Looking forward to having Jack on board.
As always, the views were terrific and the serenity at the Lookout is never disappointing. Tues. evening at dusk I was visited by a dozen or so Western Mastiff Bats. These guys are HUGE and have an eerie, audible feeding call. They coursed over the shrubs and around the tower until  well after dark. A very vocal gray fox kept me up late on weds night, yelping, whining and barking in the scrub just east of the tower. What fun!
I want to add a sincere thanks to the Poly students and volunteers whohave been staffing the Lookout since I left. The Lookout Tower and Visitor Center have been kept remarkably clean, organized, and stocked. The surrounding area is neat, trash and star thistle free, and the “scars” are healing nicely. The Visitor Center is filling up with journal articles, specimines, maps, and loads of cool stuff. Its very obvious that folks are seriously caring for the place and a feeling of stewardship hangs around the mountain. Thanks to you all for the work and dedication to the Project, it really shows. Above all, thanks for being there to look out for the birds!
Until my next trip up,
-Paul Andreano