With hunting season opening, and the weather not looking like it would ever improve, I decided to just go and get the Fire Tower Challenge done. So on Friday I took off for Pillsbury Mountain, one of the two FT’ers I had left to finish the challenge.
I got up to the area about mid-afternoon, and started down the 6 miles of dirt roads to the trailhead. No problems till I got to the last turn, about 1.5 miles still to go. This section of road was rough, much rougher than any I’ve been on this summer. Some people think Vanderwhacker is bad, I thought this was worse. Luckily my truck has enough clearance to get over the rocks and potholes along the road. Being a Friday, I thought I’d be alone. Surprisingly when I got to the parking area, there was already five other vehicles there.
As I signed the register, I noticed everyone else was doing multi-day back packing trips, so I would have the trail to myself. (And to the three people who were at Cedar Lakes, why did you leave the register open so the rain got it wet?)
So off I went, through the mist knowing I’d get soaked. This is a fairly steady hike going up, there’s really no relief until you’re almost to the summit. There was some blow down and dead fall, easy enough to get around. One interesting tree was a sapling that had a tree come down on it, bending it over to the ground into an arch.
After a little over an hour I reached the summit with the cabin and fire tower. No views due to the cloud cover so I didn’t bother with going up the tower, but I did get a short video of the clouds coming through the tree tops. You can see it by looking at all my photos at the link below. Looked around a little, found a 1976 summit marker, got a picture. After a few minutes I headed back down, since I still needed to get to my hotel. On the way down took a couple more pictures, one of a rock next to the trail, just about the right height to rest your pack on without needing to take it off.
So that’s 28 of the 29 accesible fire towers done. Number 29 will be tomorrow.
- 3.38 miles
- 1551 feet elev gain
- 2 hours 33 minutes