Wellston Fire Tower Cache Traditional Geocache
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The Wellston Fire Tower cache is located on a high hill overlooking the countryside, but today the view is obscured by trees.
The terrain rateing for this cache is a 3 based on walking in from the main paved road but would be a 1 in you drive in. You will need a high clearence vehicle but not necessarily a 4x4. Access is by an unmaintained county road, or you can park at the entrance N44 10.996, W86 04.258. It will be a .59 mile walk uphill from there, or its possible to drive partway and park before the road gets bad.
In the early days of firefighting, fire towers were built and manned on the top of hills and mountains to watch for smoke in the early stages of a forest fire. They were equipped with bearing tables and sighting vanes (Osborne fire finders) so that the lookout could obtain a bearing on the smoke plume. Bearings from two or more lookouts were crossed on a map to fix the location of the fire. Once the location was determined, fire fighters were mobilized to fight the fire. At one time, there were many fire towers located across the nations national forests to detect and locate fires. As aeronautical technology improved, this function was gradually taken over by patrolling airplanes and the fire towers abandoned and dismantled. For several years untill I retired in 2001, this was my job during the fire season. I still do this on a part time basis when the fire danger is high or otherwise I am needed.
The Wellston Fire Tower was built by the State of Michigan sometime prior to 1926. So far I have been unable to find out other information on its construction materials or exact date of construction. It appears it was torn down or at least usage stopped in the late 1930's when the Udell Tower was completed in the late summer of 1938. (see Udell Tower Cache site) All that is left of it today are the concrete re-enforced bases for the tower legs.
The cache container is a 4"x4"x6" metal box, painted black. Be sure and check out the Wellston Bench Mark near the tower site so you can log a bench mark find.
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