Greg and I stayed at Gold Butte Lookout in September 2013 and again in July 2016. We had reservations for early October 2017, but on September 6 I got an email telling me that all reservations for the remainder of the season were being canceled. The Scorpion Fire was too close for comfort and even though our reservation was still a month away they canceled us anyway. They ended up wrapping the lookout, although the fire never got this far.
This year, after 15 attempts at getting a reservation in July and August, I finally got a reservation for the last weekend in August on my 16th attempt.
After a short hike to Dome Rock on Saturday, we headed up Road 4697 to the lookout. Man, that road is getting ROUGH. We turned off on the lookout access road and unlocked the gate without any issues. (We would later learn reading the visitor log at the lookout that lots of people earlier this summer had been emailed the incorrect code and couldn’t unlock the gate, which meant they had to park here instead of further up.)
There is always a supply for firewood for the lookout, but this year it was at the end of the road where the trail starts instead of up in the woodshed.
When we arrived we discovered that one of the cots was set up. These have always been available, but we’ve never bothered trying to set up one before. I would take the bed and Greg would sleep on an air mattress on the floor. This time he used the cot:
It was a beautiful afternoon:
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading. I would have liked to read outside, but there were too many yellow jackets hanging around:
Before dinner we enjoyed some fine cheese and dessert wine:
Crazy clouds started rolling in:
There’s an old Coleman stove up here (with some fuel canisters), and the cupboard is full of pots and pans:
But since all food, water, etc has to be lugged up here we went the easy route and boiled water with our JetBoil backpacking stove and had dehydrated backpacking meals:
Sunset was pretty awesome:
The next night would be the full moon so it was pretty bright. Between the moonlight and the clouds we didn’t see many stars, but the moon-illuminated clouds were pretty cool:
When we woke up Sunday morning we were pretty socked-in:
It had rained a bit last night:
We re-kindled the fire:
And heated up biscuits for breakfast:
After a leisurely morning we decided to go for a hike on the Elk Lake Creek Trail. It was too cloudy to hike Battle Ax Mountain. On our hike back up to the lookout we saw this cute newt:
We brought more firewood up the trail and used an Ikea bag to carry it. This worked great!
It was still cloudy up here:
We enjoyed a relaxing evening hanging out inside. While it was disappointing that all the clouds were blocking our views, I would rather have clouds than smoke:
It rained again that night and it was another cloudy morning on Monday, but the clouds looked pretty cool swirling in and out of the trees:
The sun tried to come out for awhile, but never quite succeeded:
We relaxed and read for awhile. It was such a nice way to spend the morning:
Then it was time to pack up and leave, which is always hard. We had our hatchet with us so we chopped up some kindling at the woodpile for future visitors, since there is no axe here.
I love this place! Already looking forward to going back.