Call Mountain Lookout

In the summer of 1987 I was fire lookout on Call Mountain in the central California coastal range. It was a shared position – I’d work four days on, three days off for one week, then three days on and four off for the next. I took my two cats, Ozzie and Goose (named for baseball players).

Call Mountain is oak woodland and overlooks the Paicines Valley to the Central Valley. I could see the Sierras on the eastern horizon – Mount Whitney to north of Yosemite.
To the west I could see the mountains of the Ventana wilderness.

The lookout is 40’ tall and i could park my truck inside the base. During WWII it was used to watch for enemy aircraft.

Ozzie out exploring on the rock lower right.









Looking down at Goose and a deer as they startle each other.


Goose hiding near the water.









I loved the fire finder. I’d like to have one on my porch.

Two scanners, a tv, refrigerator, stove, and a radio.








The bed at window level – windows all around. I could live there forever.

The fog flowed like water making mountain tops into islands.

Sometimes it was smoke – this from a fire in Yosemite, 100 miles away. There were no fires to report on my watch.

My parents came to visit one day. It was fun to show it to them.

I think my father would have liked this job.

Mom and I share lunch and a laugh.

I loved this job – the solitude and the fine working conditions.

Dressed for work; on the job.

The next year, the Forest Service closed most lookouts. People were getting cell phones and could report fires before we could see them.


7 thoughts on “Call Mountain Lookout

  1. What a cool experience! Thanks for sharing the story and the great photos. It seems you’ve documented your life as much as I have mine. Question now is what do I do with all those photographic prints…? Most are only of interest to me.


    • Thanks. This is what I do with them – make a blog post. Then they will be thrown out. This was in film days, so I often have two copies! Oh, some do get put where I can see them from my desk, but not many.


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