When the NC Forest Service put a Fire Alert in place last week because of high winds and dry conditions I set out with reporter Jeff Varner to find a visual way to tell the story.
And just in case there was no actual fire to put in our story, we figured it would be smart to actually have some other kind of hook in our story to make it work.
So with the permission of Distric Forester Lloyd Brown, Jeff and I headed to the old firetower at the lower end of High Rock Lake(at the point of the arrow).
We were forwarned that the climb up wouldn't be easy without a ladder because the lowest flight of the stairs heading up had been removed from this tower that is now only used as a communications platform.
I won't go into too many details about the climb other than to say it involved a ladder that was too short, a little shimmying and using an extension cord to haul up my camera that first 20 feet.
After gathering my equipment on the first level I climbed 5 more sections of stairs to my vantage point (2 sections above where I am in the picture below) where I gathered some video for our news story and these pictures to prove it.
I don't usually say I'm afraid of heights, but there's something a little unnerving about climbling a 50plus year old rusty tower on a windy day. The wind really picked up above the height the treetops.
But it was worth it for the view looking out over High Rock Lake. I could easily see for 50 miles or more. In the picture below you can even see Pilot Mountain that was 51 miles to the North (and slightly west) of the firetower.
In the map below I have pointed out where I was(at the bottom) and where I was looking(at the top).
As it turned out there were no fires this day but the climb made our story worth watching and frankly, worth doing.
Now, when summer gets here I'll be on the lake!