Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Arrive At The Beebe Hill Fire Tower

I was hiking in Beebe Hill State Forest with my four youngest dogs on a snowy Sunday afternoon. I'd found walking in the snow to be surprisingly tiring even though snowmobiles had packed it down quite a bit. But we finally reached the crest of Beebe Hill and could see the former caretaker's cabin up ahead:

A few more steps and the fire tower came into view:

Surprisingly, there hadn't been much traffic at the very top, so the snow wasn't tamped down well from that point on. But we were almost there and I wasn't about to get that close to the fire tower only to turn back:

Even as I looked up toward the top of the fire tower I could feel the wind blowing. I knew it'd be quite a strong wind up there and very cold. But I wanted to see the view:

Instead of tying the dogs to prevent them following me up the fire tower, I found a piece of fence mesh and blocked the stairs. Then I began my ascent, the view broadening with every tier:

The view from the top was quite magnificent - not, perhaps, with the majesty of an Adirondack fire tower view, but altogether lovely nonetheless. The winds, however, seemed to be almost gale force and my hands were so cold that I could barely use them:

Looking off in another direction. These are the foothills of the Taconic Mountains, on the border of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut:

I set the camera on self-timer and then put it on a step in front of me to snap my own picture. The winds were blowing so hard that the camera was rocking and I feared it might tumble off and fall to the ground far below:

The first photo didn't come out very well so I tried a second. But that was it! I was so cold and the camera was in such a precarious spot, rocking in the wind, that I decided it was high time to pocket the camera and descend the steps:

I took a video at the top of the fire tower, but with the high winds and brutal cold it's a miracle it came out at all. I had to keep it brief lest "my hands freeze and fall off":


I safely reached the bottom, greeted my worried dogs and set out back toward the former caretaker's cabin:

The grassy slope next to the cabin is a favorite resting spot in the summer, a place to luxuriate in the sun and snack on wild strawberries. On this cold winter day, it was a place for us to rest only briefly:

And then it was time to hike back down to our car. Seamus' feet were beginning to hurt him and he was becoming resistant to going anywhere. But I'll post more about that tomorrow:

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