Forum Index > Trip Reports > North Twentymile Lookout: 5/9/15 - 5/10/15
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fourteen410
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PostSun May 10, 2015 11:27 pm 
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I attempted to dayhike this last year, but an upset stomach aborted that trip 600' below the lookouts. This year, I was back for revenge - and with an overnight pack.

The road is clear all the way to the TH (thank you to the benevolent soul who sawed up the downed trees). We hoofed our butts up the dry, hot open slopes and through the brush before breaking for lunch at 5300'. Although the trail runs parallel to Honeymoon Creek, it stays about 50' above it. To get water, I had to scramble down a loose, sketchy embankment.


The trail switchbacked up through a shaded forest that transitioned into a ghost forest filled with fragile snags. A number of blowdowns required some re-routing, but nothing too bad. We pushed on to the knoll at 6800' where we finally found patches of snow. We pitched the tent among the snags and took a quick nap before dinner. Afterward, it was time for the tedious task of melting 4L of snow and finding a live tree to hang the food from. We retreated to the tent just as the stars were emerging in the night sky.


The next morning, we strapped on the snowshoes and headed up to the lookouts. En route, we found deer and bear tracks.


After a mile of wet, heavy snow, we finally reached the top.


Lots of cool history in the "new" lookout tower.


Not sure what the horse hair was about...or the fire finder hair  confused.gif


The old cupola lookout was pretty empty inside. If you climb the ladder, make sure your tetanus shot is current - there are tons of rusty nails just waiting to puncture someone's noggin.


After exploring the lookouts for an hour, we pointed our boots downhill for the journey back to camp and then the car.


Awesome trip - that's lookout #51 for me!
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Distel32
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PostMon May 11, 2015 5:12 am 
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Bryan K
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PostMon May 11, 2015 7:34 am 
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Very cool!!!! I went to the South 20 Mile site a few years ago, but had hoped to reach N 20 Mile before journeying eastward.
Thanks for the photos up.gif

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Paul M
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PostMon May 11, 2015 8:25 am 
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Very nice!
There sure has been some melt since I was there a few weeks ago. Neat that you were able to get in the tower and that the fire finder is still there.
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lookout bob
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PostMon May 11, 2015 8:53 am 
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nice pics 14410....there's a guy over there ( also named Bob....) who's about to do major work on the old cupola lookout.  He's gotten a grant from the Butler fund and has FS approval to do work on that lookout.  N20 mile is one of the last remaining cupola lookouts and I'm glad that he'll fix the old lookout up.
Were there a lot of trees across the trail?  There was some talk about clearing the trail but folks didn't want to make it easy for snowmobilers to get up there.....thanks for the TR!!! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  cool.gif

p.s...that dog sure gets to go to some cool places agree.gif

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fourteen410
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PostMon May 11, 2015 6:52 pm 
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lookout bob wrote:
Were there a lot of trees across the trail?

Yeah, there was a good number of 'em lying down. There's a pretty big blowdown around 5700'. Oddly enough, we saw a few trees that looked like they had been recently cut (sawdust and everything), but then just a quarter mile away, there'd be another one of the same size, untouched. The trail could use a good bushwhacking between miles 1.5 and 3.5 as well.

The newer lookout was in remarkably good shape inside (perhaps because it is on the Nat'l Historic Register?). The 1923 lookout could use some TLC, so I'm glad to hear it'll receive some soon. Those rusty nails in the walls/ceiling are a little sketchy!

PS - Bob, do you happen to know anything about the horse hair and what it might have been used for in a lookout? Or what the "fire finder hair" might be? That was an unusual find.
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marzsit
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PostMon May 11, 2015 9:26 pm 
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the horse hair is used for the crosshair sight on the firefinder. lookouts not only had to learn how to use the firefinder to locate a fire, they also had to learn how to repair the firefinder if it got damaged.

seems odd to me that the forest service left the firefinder in that unlocked lookout.... i'm surprised someone hasn't stolen it.
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Kim Brown
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PostMon May 11, 2015 9:42 pm 
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What a great trip report!

Do you think those footprints are wolverine?

Lucky you.  up.gif

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fourteen410
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PostMon May 11, 2015 10:51 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
Do you think those footprints are wolverine?

Interesting, I had never thought of that. I knew they weren't grizzly prints, so I assumed they were black bear prints. But I thought it was odd that a bear would be roaming around a ghost forest on a ridge at 7000'. Here is a description of wolverine tracks - they look much smaller than the ones we saw, but the "2x gait" picture looks pretty similar to the pattern of the tracks. Hmm.


marzsit wrote:
the horse hair is used for the crosshair sight on the firefinder. lookouts not only had to learn how to use the firefinder to locate a fire, they also had to learn how to repair the firefinder if it got damaged.

seems odd to me that the forest service left the firefinder in that unlocked lookout.... i'm suprised someone hasn't stolen it.

Thanks! That explains things. I was surprised to find the door unlocked as well. It was awesome to find a 70 year old lookout in such great shape (pretty clean, too), but I do worry about vandals ruining things for everyone. Hopefully the longer trek will keep them at bay. We didn't see a soul the entire trip.
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Lookout Billerina
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PostThu May 14, 2015 8:02 am 
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"The road is clear all the way to the TH (thank you to the benevolent soul who sawed up the downed trees)."

You're welcome.

The trail has been cleared MINIMALLY to allow hikers and horses, but to hopefully dissuade the motorheads.  DO NOT clear the trees that have been left.  Vandalism is the friggin' national passtime in this miserable country.

For those who insist on driving, there is a grotesque ATV track/road to within 1/8th mile of the summit coming from the east from near Thunder Mt (comes down Twentymile Creek, then up Smarty).  Therefore, the risk of vandalism to these units is HIGH.  Check it out - it goes through wet meadows and streams for about 9 miles.  Wonderful people.

The Osborne costs about $4000 to replace.  Amazing it's still there.
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John Morrow
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PostThu May 14, 2015 9:22 am 
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fourteen410 wrote:
The road is clear all the way to the TH (thank you to the benevolent soul who sawed up the downed trees).

Could you tell me what road and if it is in shape for a 2WD sedan?
Thanks,
John

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fourteen410
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PostThu May 14, 2015 2:15 pm 
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John - yes, 2WD will make it up FS 700.
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Chico
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PostThu May 14, 2015 2:19 pm 
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Lookout Billerina wrote:
The Osborne costs about $4000 to replace.  Amazing it's still there.

The question is why is it still there.

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fourteen410
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PostThu May 14, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Chico wrote:
Lookout Billerina wrote:
The Osborne costs about $4000 to replace.  Amazing it's still there.

The question is why is it still there.

My guess is because it's on the national historic register, but then again I've been to lookouts on the register that don't still have the Osborne. It's sad that it's more surprising that it's still there than rather than the other way around. People who vandalize or steal from historical places suck.
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marzsit
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PostFri May 15, 2015 3:21 am 
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fourteen410 wrote:
Chico wrote:
Lookout Billerina wrote:
The Osborne costs about $4000 to replace.  Amazing it's still there.

The question is why is it still there.

My guess is because it's on the national historic register, but then again I've been to lookouts on the register that don't still have the Osborne. It's sad that it's more surprising that it's still there than rather than the other way around. People who vandalize or steal from historical places suck.

looking more closely at the photos, it's also interesting that all of the interior furniture that should be in a typical 1940's L4 lookout is still there along with the stove. there is a mattress on the bed as well. and it also looks like the glass is intact. hopefully cletus and his friends won't discover this place and blast it full of bullet holes.....

seriously, i think it might be a good idea if someone would contact the forest service and advise them that the lookout is open... fourteen410, did the door to the lookout appear to be broken in? really odd that the stove and firefinder are still there...
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