'May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.' (Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire) Environmental pioneer and author Edward Abbey wrote many of his great works (including Black Sun and The Journey Home essays) while working as a fire lookout in national parks throughout the United States. The lookout posts he inhabited included Pearsoll Peak, Oregon (pictured above).
He also stayed in Numa Ridge in Glacier National Park, Montana, and Aztec Peaks in Arizona (above). In fact, the trail to Aztec Peaks is even named after him – Abbey's Way Trail, number 151. He manned Atascosa Lookout, Arizona (below), during the 1968 summer fire season — and described the lookout as a “flimsy old frame shack” in one of his journals.
Abbey wrote passionately about preserving the wilderness, which he believed was being developed to the point of destruction. Dubbed a 'desert anarchist', he chose to lead by example, opting to live in the wilderness he so loved.
To find out how you can stay in a lookout, check out our article about Jack Kerouac and Desolation Peak.