An Off-Grid Sky-Touching Getaway
While we normally think of Fire lookout towers to be only useful for forest rangers and, these fellas had a different vision. Check out the way they’ve re-purposed an old fire lookout tower and made it their second home.
Dabney Tompkins and Alan Colley were on their deck enjoying the view when Stouts Creek Fire broke out earlier this month. They’d read about moments like this — spotting a forest fire from a 40-foot-high tower — but nothing could have prepared them. They weren’t staffing a fire lookout, after all. They were at home. Tompkins and Colley’s lives changed course on a ferry ride several years ago. Quite literally stumbling upon a book about fire lookouts used by the U.S. Forest Service, they learned how the structures on stilts were used to spot forest fires throughout the 20th century. Now largely replaced by satellites, very few lookouts are still standing. The urbanites rented several fire lookouts before purchasing 160 acres of meadow and forest land in rural Oregon, known as Summit Prairie. With the help of a local builder and engineer, their “treehouse without the tree” was completed in 2010. For the first few years, it was just a weekend getaway, but those weekends quickly turned into something more. Without the luxuries of a typical single-family home, Tompkins and Colley find themselves retreating to the “hammock tree” or soaking in their wood-burning, spring-fed hot tub.
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