Monday, October 6, 2003


Hi all,
The Oct. 4th-5th event was a great opportunity for many of us to
reconnect with friends, talk with colleagues and make new acquaintances.
70 people attended the 2nd annual open house events, and long-distance
travelers included Mike and Bronwyn (surprise!) driving down from Pt.
Reyes on their way south following their summer work in Alaska, Carole
from Cupertino, Kathy Ball from Sequoia National Forest in the central
Sierras, John Schmitt from Wofford Heights at Lake Isabella in the
southern Sierras, and from the south Marti Jenkins up from the Los
Angeles area, along with other folks attending from many points in
between from Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey
Counties. Agencies, staff, and volunteers were represented from the U.S.
Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Hopper Mountain
National Wildlife Refuge, Morro Coast Audubon Society, Cal Poly
Biological Sciences Department and Wildlife Club, Ventana Wilderness
Society, Buck Rock Lookout Foundation, National Parks Service at
Pinnacles National Monument, Camp Roberts National Guard, and the Los
Angeles Zoo, among many other distinguished guests.
One uninvited but noted visitor arrived at 4am in the morning before
I was suddenly awakened in my sleeping bag by a distinct but soft ‘woof’
sound, then opened my eyes to see the silhouette of the head of a bear
in the darkness peering in at me from the open tail gate of my truck. My
startled wake-up call caused the bear to run a short distance away, but
as I sat up motionless and watched, I could see the form of the bear now
rambling away towards other campsites and parked vehicles with their
sleeping occupants, making a commotion along the way, so that several
others also had bear stories to tell as we gathered at breakfast time.
‘Thank-you’ to all of you who attended and the many staff and volunteers
who helped to make this such a successful event! Kathy Ball represented
the Forest Fire Lookout Association and presented a certificate and
plaque for the recent listing of Hi Mountain Lookout on the National
Historic Lookout Register.
John Schmitt donated his original 1978 Huff’s Hole peregrine falcon art
print and raffled another as a fund-raising donation to the lookout
project.The afternoon geology and native plant field trips were
well-attended, and about 40 people remained late into the evening -
after dinner and a nice sunset- for the power point and slide shows
presented by our guest speakers, followed by high-powered telescope and
binocular astronomical observations conducted by three members of the
Central Coast Astronomical Society. The quarter moon, Mars, twin stars
and star clusters, gaseous nebulae and the Andromeda Galaxy- two million
light years away- were spectacular to view in the starry night sky.
A number of those who camped out overnight gathered again at the lookout
in the morning for some good conversation, nostalgic remembrances, and
in-depth talk about the condor recovery program’s high points and lows,
until our final departures at noon. As time (and condors) continues to
fly by so fast, there is already talk about organizing next year’s 3rd
annual open house and campout. So, until next year…
Steve Schubert