It has been and extremely dry season out there. According to the USDA Northeast Climate Hub online, monitoring drought conditions, our area has had abnormally dry weather and should guard against starting unnecessary fires. Because of this, the State has called all trained fire observers to staff their 23 fire towers.
In Hardwick, the 65 ft. tall, Catfish Fire Tower exists off the Appalachian Trail. It has stood for 100 years and newly repainted, offers commanding 360 degree views of the countryside extending into New York and Pennsylvania.
Hardwick resident and retired forest firefighter, Bob Wolff has most often been the guy keeping watch at Catfish and welcoming visitors.
for insight into his job, he’s offered these texts over last week, we’re calling his ‘ramblings.’
June 11, 2022:
Good Monday morning, it’s a busy time at Catfish fire tower with high fire danger, 100th anniversary, and thru hikers from Georgia passing thru Hardwick this month. The Appalachian Trail is a human highway, folks from all over the country, the world. Already this month I have met hikers from ME, NH, MA, CT, OH, MI, IN, CO, VA, NJ, NY, PA, NC, GA, FL, MT, TX, CA, LA, Israel, Scotland, UK, Ukraine, Russia, France, Canada, Nova Scotia….
Trail magic is when someone helps a hiker with a souvineer, food, water. Trail angels make it happen, anyone can participate.Things get real basic real quick and the simpliest gesture is greatly appreciated…
Added thru hikers from TN and MN since last text.
June 12, 2022:
Latest news from Catfish met a thru hiker from Finland. Hunterdon Hiking Club is cooking food for thru hikers on Millbrook Road, Hardwick where it goes north from firetower gate
July 13, 2022:
Had alot of lightning, not alot of rain. Stayed up til 7pm last night watching for smokes, back up 8 this morning.
Blairstown Knowlton and Hardwick in the gap got clobbered by the storm. Trees, poles, wires down, roads closed. There were people from Knowlton at the spring on Millbrook Road getting water.
July 14, 2022 :
Lightning fire Worthington, tech rescue AT above Stillwater, Stage 2 campfire restrictions no fires on the ground, no agricultural burns
July 16, 2022: Day 19 staffing Catfish, listening to hawk squacking. Just had folks from Signapore visit fire tower while visiting friends in Frelinghuysen
July 17, 2022: Went to class 4 – very high fire danger.