The office out at Three Lakes WMA has a fire tower behind it and it wasn’t until I had to take pictures from the top of it that I realized I’d never been up. From below, it doesn’t look THAT high, but after climbing flight after flight of stairs, I realized I was way up there.
Whoever designed the door on tower failed. It opens from the bottom like a hatch. The problem is that this hatch swings into the room and the stairs run directly into the wall. This means that in order to climb inside, one has to climb to the top of the stairs, spin around in a circle, and leap over the hatch to the safety of the room floor. The picture below is a view of the hatch from above. Note that the green vegetation is the top of 60+ ft. oak trees. The room didn’t have much inside. There were two chairs, an old radio, a pair of binoculars, and a table with a compass on it.

It was rather roomy for being a big wooden box sitting on top of a steel tower. The only thing unsettling was the fact that I had chosen a windy day to climb up. Every time a gust of wind hit the room, the entire thing would vibrate and an eerie “whoosh” sound could be heard all around. It only took me a few minutes to take the pictures I needed, and I got a chance to have a bird’s eye view of the entire surrounding area. I never realized how far one could see out of those fire towers and I’m betting it would be fairly easy to actually spot a wild fire.The climb down was uneventful, but I did manage to take a few pictures of the view straight down the stairs. The whole fire tower experience is certainly not for someone who’s afraid of heights.