Look out, lookouts

It strikes me as ironic, for someone who paints burned landscapes and trees, that so many of my hiking destinations are decommissioned fire lookouts. For nearly 100 years land managers tried to suppress fire; the lookouts were a distant early warning line in the pre-cost-effective aviation days. Correspondingly they always have magnificent territorial views and usually represent a respectable work-out to get there. The combination of beauty, vastness and isolation — plus a little pay — created a sort of artist residency of its own (cf. Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder et al.)

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