Category Archives: FAQ

Fire Lookout FAQ

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

•Where are all these lookouts?
• What are you working on right now?
• What else have you written?
• And when you are not writing?
• And?

Where are all these lookouts? 

I have visited over 500 fire lookout sites and standing fire lookout towers and cabins, mostly in the western US. More than 360 of them are in Washington State. Oregon: 68, Arizona: 23, New Mexico: 18, Pennsylvania: 10, California: 8, Idaho: 6, Montana: 5. Many of the lookout sites I have visited in Washington state are on private forest land which is no longer freely accessible to the public.

What are you working on right now?

 I am writing a guide to the fire lookouts and lookout sites on the Olympic Peninsula and Willapa Hills—in other words, Washington State west of Puget Sound and Interstate 5.   It includes extensive historical notes, as well as directions for driving to the trailheads and finding the sites. It includes all the lookouts and sites currently accessible without purchasing a recreation or hunting permit to private timberland.

What else have you written?

I completed the text for a Guide to Iceland’s Volcanoes, with their Stories a few years ago. Its Introduction earned recognition for me as a finalist in the 2015 Pacific Northwest Writers Association annual competition for non-fiction.  More recently I have written hike descriptions for the Washington Trails Association on-line hike guidebook, as well as hike reports for http://www.WTA.org. My trail name is Leslie in Oly

And when you are not writing?

I like to hike two or three days a week. I have led many small group multiday hike trips to fire lookouts in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Arizona, as well as volcanoes in Iceland. Recently my multiday hiking trips have been with a few friends, and I often lead local day hikes for two hiking clubs in the Olympia area. The hikes of The Olympian Hiking Club are open to the public. You can find those hikes on my Events page.

And?

There is always another interesting corner of the globe to visit.  Occasionally my husband, Henry, and some of our extended family (Geordie, Keith, Allyson, Mallory and Hope) travel with me.

Covid-19 has made me appreciate the freedom and mobility that I have so enjoyed, living in western Washington State. Staying home has given me more time to write and work on other projects at home. I am even doing more exploratory cooking than usual! And yet, my list of fire lookout sites to visit, or revisit to clarify some minor point, is growing. That certainly feels like essential travel to me!  (mid-April 2020)

Iceland FAQ

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

• How did you get so interested in Iceland?
• Have you been to Iceland much?
• Did you publish your book about Iceland?
• What else have you written?
• Do you do talks about travel in Iceland?
• And when you are not writing?
• And?

How did you get so interested in Iceland?

I went on a summer hiking tour in August 2007 and knew I wanted to see more of that amazing landscape. After a few trips I realized that the landscape is entirely volcanic, and that is the key to understanding what I am seeing. When I started learning about the volcanoes’ history, I heard and read folktales and historic anecdotes about them, too.

Have you been to Iceland much?

I spent a couple weeks in Iceland every year from 2007 through 2017. I explored new areas on each trip, which is pretty cool since the island isn’t all that big. I was in Reykjavik for a few days each of the last few years. In September 2018 I was with a Viking Cruise “In the Wake of the Vikings.” In late summer 2019 my husband, Henry, and I stayed in Reykjavik in transit between Greenland and Newfoundland, visiting Viking settlement sites in those Western Atlantic locations.

Did you publish your book about Iceland?

No, I did complete a manuscript for a book on Iceland’s volcanoes and their stories a few years ago. Despite the book’s Introduction earning me Finalist status in the 2015 Pacific Northwest Writers Association non-fiction writers contest, the book gained no interest from publishers. The inability to get permission to include photos of historical volcanic eruptions in a self-published book was the final straw. The manuscript is on the shelf. Its currency aging with each new eruption and visitors center opening. The text includes stories about each of the volcanoes because they help distinguish the geologic features—and because the tales are important to Icelandic culture.

What else have you written?

Recently I have contributed hike descriptions to the Washington Trails Association guidebook on line at WTA.org. The International Travel News published an article I wrote after one of my trips to Iceland: (www.intltravelnews.com/2009/01/ reflections-on-southern-iceland). I have done a couple short pieces for The Mountaineers Magazine about historic forest fire lookoutshttp://www.mountaineers.org/about/ magarchive/Mtr01-12.pdf p.38 and http://www.mountaineers.org/about/magarchive/Mtr03-12.pdf p.15). . For a while I explored interesting local environmental issues in articles for the South Sound Green Pages. Before that I wrote a lot of government reports—complex environmental and financial info written clearly for general readers. www.fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/98703.html, https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/99750.html

Do you do talks about travel in Iceland?

I love to share my photos and information about Iceland and its culture. I have given slideshows to outdoor clubs, libraries and senior centers. If you would like me to speak to your group, let me know and let’s see what we can work out.

And when you are not writing?

As you might suspect from the non-Iceland posts, I love to hike and explore the outdoors—mostly in the Pacific Northwest. When there is decent snow, I enjoy Nordic skiing. I don’t bike and paddle as much as I would like. And I dream about more international travel!

And?

My husband blogs about creative solutions to the weight of backpacking equipment. We don’t have any pets but I do have visitation privileges to a herd of Icelandic sheep and a great view of the Independence Valley from the ridge where my Icelandic tutor lives.

Goðan daginn!