Pickett Butte Lookout–a Little Piece of Heaven on Earth
After a few months of settling into the new house and going through a bit of a health scare, I finally feel a little bit more like myself again.
After moving and feeling a bit more settled into the house, I ended up getting news from my doctor indicating that I needed to have some additional screenings and possibly a procedure done to ensure that my body and would be healthy and free of a concerning medical condition. The next couple months were filled with uncertainty, fear, and stress. I was very lucky to have lots of supportive friends throughout the process, who helped mitigate some of my fears. It’s been a bumpy ride, and I wasn’t allowed to be active after my procedure, so I’ve felt a bit off.
My boyfriend and I had booked a weekend getaway out to Pickett Butte Lookout about six months ago. I knew these towers were in high demand, but I didn’t quite understand why. This weekend answered that question.
We pulled up to the lookout tower at about 11:30 PM on a Friday night–this was totally my fault. After work, we started our journey down south, but as we were going through Eugene, I had some friends that I wanted to stop and have dinner with who I haven’t had the chance to see in about five years. It was totally worth it. The weekend was already off to a great start.
We first stopped at the Tiller Ranger Station where we filled up our 7 gallon jug of water for the weekend. It was pitch black outside, but I had saved directions on my phone, and was prepared to sleep in the car for the night if we really had to. Pro tip: save the offline map when you think you may not have reception.
We headed towards the lookout until we reached a gate. I was sure this meant that we had to haul all of our stuff the remaining half mile, but Winston remembered that they gave us a code for both the tower AND a gate. Thank goodness for that. Once we made it past the gate, I had to make a pit stop to use the vault toilet–it’s an above-ground toilet that is emptied once in a blue moon, so as you can imagine, it didn’t smell great, but at least it was clean.
We backed into the parking spot for the tower and I wandered up into the cabin. I started out by trying to turn on the propane heater, then the propane lights and fridge. I couldn’t figure out the lights or the fridge, so I lit some candles instead. Glad I brought them–they added to the ambiance of the tower. Next move was to use the little basket attached to a pulley system to get all of our stuff up to the tower. It was pretty cool that we could haul so many things up–from a mandolin to a cooler, we came prepared. We even brought a bed sheet and a soft blanket to sleep on to make the mattress feel more comfortable and cozy. It was the true definition of “hygge”.
One thing we didn’t plan for was how terrified Solv would be going up and down the steep “stairs”. Despite our best efforts, she could not be lured up or down them, so we had to either carry her or guide her. It was definitely not her happy place until she curled up on one of he sleeping bags and made herself a home.
It was late, so we went to bed shortly after.
We woke up to this:
We spent the weekend chatting about the future, playing music and singing (mostly the Mister Rogers theme songs and “Africa” by Toto), reading books and magazines, taking naps, cooking, eating, watching a movie, and listening to stand up comedy.
I truly enjoyed the solitude–I looked at my phone maybe once or twice, but really had no need to use it during our retreat. I felt at peace. I felt more like myself than I had in a long time. This was my first real getaway into nature in about four months. It felt great being there. We got to enjoy a beautiful clear and sunny day, and then left in a winter wonderland of snow.
I don’t have too much to share about the place, besides the fact that it felt like heaven on Earth and I loved every moment of it. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, and it left my heart feeling full. I’d recommend reserving it, but it’s already so difficult to get a reservation that I’d rather you didn’t. I want this tower and all the other towers across the country to remain the best kept secret in each area, but waking up to 360 degrees of breathtaking views is just unreal, and it would be a shame not to share it.
Until next time, lookout. We’ll be back someday. I promise.