Category Archives: Fire Lookouts 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?

 In 2022 I published Lost Fire Lookout Hikes and Histories: Olympic Peninsula and Willapa Hills, a guide to the fire lookouts and lookout sites in that region—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. I would like to be visiting libraries, museums, and other venues where I can talk about this book. I am looking forward to opportunities to do this soon.

As the Mount Rainier Region, or central Cascade Mountain Range, is another hiking area near my home in Olympia, I have resumed visiting fire lookouts and lookout sites in that region, drafting their hike descriptions, and collecting their histories. I am delighted that a new lookout tower has been built on Pinnacle Peak, and the High Rock Lookout cabin is being restored!

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 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.


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 gave me more time to write and work on other projects at home. I have even been paying more attention to the flowers in our garden! Hiking, however, is the core of my wellness program—both physical and mental. I expect I will continue to hike and write about my discoveries as long as I am able.