Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gold Butte Lookout

I opened my eyes on our first morning at the lookout to this:

The one bed sits in a corner, right at window level. I felt like a bird waking up in its nest. (There are also three beautiful cots, but they are very creaky. Next time we will either bring air mattresses or ear plugs.)

The lookout was originally built in the 30's by the CCC as part of a fire-detection network. In WWII it was used as an Aircraft Warning System station. It was abandoned in the 60's and refurbished in the 80's. Willem's favorite feature was this defunct telephone. He talked on it pretty much the entire time he was indoors.

His outdoor favorite thing was, as previously mentioned, the bench.

Here I am enjoying my favorite spot (the bed) while Nels makes a paper crane to contribute to the geocache box we discovered entirely by accident.

There weren't a whole lot of things to do outdoors there that didn't involve just going back the way we came. We did go back down to the trail "landing," where the boys made a game of seeing how far they could bounce rocks down the side of the hill (no trail on that side, don't worry.) I think they could have done that all day.

Finding the geocache provided a fun diversion as well. My favorite item inside was the provisional driver's license of a stocky teenage boy from Canby, Oregon. We added Nels's origami crane (sorry, geocachers, we didn't bring anything extra with us) and took out a deck of cards that had been marked as used by a casino. I knew why the cards had holes punched through them because my first cousin once removed was a pit boss in Vegas (possibly still is, I should check with my dad) and my Grandma Toni used to deal blackjack.  

Indoors, Nels worked on a house of cards...

and Willem ate chocolate pudding. We tend to junk food it up when we're camping.

The evening got cool long before the sun went down. Any excuse to put my pajamas on early.

It was a very good thing that I didn't get the perpetually clear, sunny skies I was hoping for, because cloud-watching turned out to be the thing I enjoyed most about our stay. We spent much of the first day without the "view" we thought we had come for. But the clouds seemed to do something different every few minutes, causing the view to change drastically throughout the day in unexpected ways.

At sunset, we suddenly found ourselves on an island. It looked as though God had unfurled a sky-sized roll of cotton batting and put the world to bed for the night underneath it. 

The only things we could see poking out of the blanket (apart from our own perch) were the peak of Mt. Jefferson and this one little tiny spot

of trees.

And, above the blanket,

the heavens.

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