In the treetops
OCTOBER 12, 2007
Breezy fall day. Achingly blue sky, trees ablaze with colour. Time to close up the cottage for the season.
This composite isn't quite complete, but neither is the treehouse. This is the view from the big rock out front.
Last week I spent a couple of days at the cottage. I lent my dad a hand with the ' fire tower' build. I have a couple of previous posts about it here and here.
For the past three weeks, dad has been closing in the project, a roof safely in place and the windows too. I helped to put one section of the roof on, hanging on for dear life while I shingled it. Dad handled the other 7 sections by himself. (I found out that my mom was recruited to hand up the shingles to him to save trips up and down the ladder - what a trooper!)
Here a view of the complete build, with the roof and windows in place and the staircase enclosed.
When I agreed to help dad with this, I thought finishing the build in one season was a bit of a longshot. Driven by an almost inhuman work ethic, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. As he told me while we were working, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't meant to be. It was something that he built and rebuilt in his head countless times along the way. A challenge - probably the last big project for a guy who made a living as a contractor and carpenter. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with him, being outside in a remote, peaceful setting. So, here's to you dad, cheers!
The view from above. The bottom panels will be closed in by now. The screen door is salvaged from our family camper that traveled from coast to coast.
I love the details he has put into place. A weathervane, windows on the stairwell, and a hand-built door.
Next spring there will be a proper railing on the front balcony. And a couple of deck chairs. And some beers.
Dad found a local sawmill for the pine and salvaged the windows from local sources. What a resourceful guy!
Oh yeah, the kids are gonna love it too.
There was a push to get everything closed in for the winter. Hunting season is approaching and we don't want Elmer Fudd perched on the balcony.
Okay - if you have read this far maybe you could help me out. I need a name for this thing. It's not a tree house, although it is in the trees. It's not a fire tower either.
I'm thinking of 'the roost'. Anybody got a better suggestion?
The back story
I dug up a few old slides while I was up there. I found these pics of a fire tower that we used to visit on day trips in the area. This location was very remote, about an hour's drive off the main highway. Not a building in sight from here, just lakes hills and trees. We would pack a picnic and spend most of the day hiking, climbing and enjoying the view. Towers like these dotted the landscape and were put up from 1920's to the 1950's. In the sixties the sites were abandoned and replaced by aerial and satellite technology.
I was about 8 years old when I climbed this beast. Now that I have kids of my own it just blows my mind thinking about doing this at that age. Looking at these pictures I dream about how much I would love to find a place like this again. I always hope that something like this lies undiscovered somewhere, just around the next corner or over the next hilltop. The tower in these pictures was torn down during the 70's. I've been back to the spot and seen the old footings. That is all that remains.
Mom, trying to look nonchalant, waving to us from the abandoned ranger station
There's me with my big brother, checking out the view.
There was a fixed map in the center of the tower, with armatures to locate the direction of distant smoke plumes. I like the look of this thing.