Monday by Mateo: The Needles Fire Lookout


Back in the day when there was a fire lookout in the Needles, high above the Kern River Drainage, California, a kind woman named Margie, who loved climbers, lived and worked there. From her perch, she could see into the heart of the Sierras, from Mount Whitney to Farewell Gap to Olancha Peak, and also directly into the beetling spires of the Needles formations themselves. She watched for fires of course, and relayed messages about fire locations to a dispatcher as needed. But Margie also kept a close eye on the rock jocks in the spires down below. If you stopped by to chat after climbing, she would often have some fresh, piping-hot cookies for you. Unfortunately, the lookout burned down in 2011, though funds have since been gathered to rebuild it.

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