Little Cowhorn fire lookout

This post is a little different than our usual accounts of homesteading chaos.

In parallel with our other summer projects, Lee and I have been working on getting in better shape. We have been doing a lot of hiking and exploring new places. There are some pretty amazing vistas within a few miles of our house, but today’s hike really raised the bar for sheer beauty and left us astounded.

The Little Cowhorn Mountain hike was suggested by a couple new friends and they thankfully handled navigation to the trailhead, located up 15 miles of winding logging roads. The hike was a mile long and went 850′ uphill for a final elevation of 4250′. Just a little steep.

At the summit there was a fire lookout on a rocky outcrop. It was built in the 1960s to observe wildfires in the lower Cascades, but has been abandoned for many years.

Once we made it up to the top, the view was just glorious.

You could see from the coastal ranges to central Oregon.

Basically there was a 360° panoramic view of mountains as far as you could see. I really wanted to spend the night in the fire lookout and watch the sunset and sunrise.

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17 Responses to Little Cowhorn fire lookout

  1. views! good luck on getting in better shape! I work full time and go at lunch 3 days a week but do cardio at home…doing work…if the work is not hard enough I just do it faster..I can collect the eggs in 7.2 seconds now and have a 20lb weight attached to the wash-cloth for doing the dishes to really feel the burn. hehe.

  2. Ali says:

    Gorgeous! Dan and I are planning a big road trip next year, can’t wait to see these gorgeous mountains in person.

    • robin says:

      Ali how wonderful. I love road trips. Lee grew up in Indiana but he says that he never tires of looking at all the mountains around us. We are actually thinking about going to DC next summer and then doing a road trip from there that will end up in Maine. I am excited because I have never been back east.

  3. Ron says:

    Beautiful views… I love, love, love hiking. Mel does too, if the bugs aren’t bad, temps aren’t too hot, trail isn’t too weedy… Abby likes hiking for a while, but her shorter legs get a workout before mine get enough. I used to carry her on my back all over, but those days are past.

    So, we’re playing some tennis and I wander in the woods. I look forward to some serious hiking in the future, though. Alone, if it has to be that way.

    • robin says:

      I love hiking too. It is seriously addicting. There is something to be said for walking through nature with the sun on your back (or the rain on your face) and just enjoying life.

  4. Benita says:

    What awesome views! I love mountaintops, and yours is one of the best! I agree, camping out up there would be fun.

    • robin says:

      Benita it was really hard to go back down the mountain because I wanted to spend the night so bad. If I had thought to bring a sleeping bag with me…and more snacks…I so would have stayed. 🙂

  5. Ann says:

    That looks like a gnarly hike. Glad the view was worth it! I would have wanted to spend the night up there, too. Heck, I’d like to spend the summer up there, come to think of it. No weeding, eh? Sign me up. Also, what’s the policy on reforestation of the clear cuts in Oregon? Driving on forestry roads always freaked me out when I was out west. No one prepared me for the denuded landscapes which took some getting used to.

    • robin says:

      No weeding would be awesome!

      I think the clear cuts are required to be replanted if it’s not private land. Weyerhauser uses the land basically as tree crops so it would be in their best interest to replant. But that said… I really have no idea.

      Still laughing over the denuded landscapes phrase. hehe

    • lee says:

      Virtually all clearcuts are replanted, both on public lands and on Weyerhaeuser land. They replant too dense, because they expect a lot of the trees to get killed. Of course, each time the land is cut the hauled away trees represent nutrients lost from the soil, and then the top soil erodes more quickly and blackberries take over. The forests that return are nothing like old-growth forests, but there are few old-growth forests anyway and I think most of them are protected at this point. If you hike through your average Oregon forest today, you’ll occasionally see the much larger stumps of the trees that were once here.

      Most rural Oregonians are fairly pro-logging because of all the income it generated, and they blame environmental regulation for the enormous decline in the logging industry 20 years ago. The reality is that logging was hurt more by a serious drop in the housing market at the time and the death of the highly profitable old growth forests.

  6. lynn says:

    If you guys come to DC next year you totally need to tell us!!! We are only 20 miles outside DC and I drive into the city every day for work. I have a nephew who just moved to Maine. My sister in NJ used to go to Maine a lot when she was younger, and her son fell in love with Maine. I think Maine is similar to OR, but not as wet.

    I still try to hike or run for exercise. Ill have to work on collecting eggs faster and will consider adding a weight to my dishcloth, too, to build up the arms! Lol.

    • robin says:

      I will let you know if we do. We haven’t actually made any hard and fast plans yet as it’s mostly just talk at this point. I hope we do go though as it will be so exciting for me!

  7. Snowbrush says:

    I loved the photos, Robin.

    Certainly clearcuts are replanted, but it’s not a forest that’s put back but a monoculture.

  8. valarie says:

    Me and My family go their often. Love it. Last night was our first time staying the night. It was amazing. We saw an owl when we started our hike. Later that night the owl landed three feet away from me on the edge of the cabin. When I go I always leave something. Either oat meal or water or something. I plan on leaving more. Just hope that everone respects this place and keeps it clean and safe.

    • lee says:

      Great to hear from someone else familiar with the same fire lookout. It’s very nice of you to leave food behind for others. We’ve been to another fire lookout since we wrote this post (Fairview Mt. near Cottage Grove) and it also had an amazing view.

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