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The two RV Gypsies at Aiton Heights Fire Tower
in Itasca State Park
July 1, 2013

Aiton Heights is accessed from Wilderness Drive in Itasca State Park. Wilderness Drive is a 10 mile winding road through marvelous tall trees. The first 3 miles is open for two way traffic, then it becomes one way traffic. This drive took the two RV Gypsies through the heart of the forests of Itasca. This road once served as the west boundary of the park, until land on the west side was purchased in 1918.  The east side has old growth pine versus the west side with its aspen and paper birch regeneration.

Wilderness Drive sign
the heart of the forests of Itasca

During the half-mile walk from the parking lot to the Aiton Heights Fire Tower, the two RV Gypsies paused to enjoy the view of Kasey Lake. The trail was a bit steep at times, but not very long, and not very difficult.

Kasey Lake
Kasey Lake
Kasey Lake
for your information

When the tower was in operation during the 50's and 60's, a fire finder was placed in the middle of the "Crows Nest". It was used to find a compass heading to the smoke. The pointing device that sits on top of the round map table is called an "Aladade". The spotter would aim his aladade at the smoke and read the compass degrees off the map edge, then call this information in by radio. The same action would take place at another tower within sight of the same smoke. When they had two degrees reading, they would cross the lines on a wall map to find the location of the fire.

sign about Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Aiton Heights Fire Tower in Itasca State Park

The sign says there shouldn't be more than six people at a time at the top. Believe that because it shakes as you go up or down the stairs! If heights bother you, stay on the ground - but the view from the top is well worth the climb.

Aiton Heights Fire Tower in Itasca State Park facts

Karen Duquette sized up the 100-foot tall tower, and made a decision that YES, she WILL climb all those stairs to the Crows Nest at the top!

Karen Duquette looks up at the Aiton Heights Fire Tower in Itasca State Park
Karen Duquette looks up at the Aiton Heights Fire Tower in Itasca State Park

Lee Duquette spies the benches and said they are calling his name.

a bench calling Lee Duquette's name

Karen smiles as she starts the climb up the 100-foot tall Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Karen Duquette paused now and then to wave at Lee who was enjoying his rest.

Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Karen climbed higher and higher and stopped to pose for the camera and wave at Lee every now and then.

Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower

And guess what!  Karen Duquette made it to the Crows Nest, the top box of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower.

Karen Duquette climbing the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
Karen Duquette at the top of the Aiton Heighst Fire Tower

The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower gave Karen an aerial view of the landscape. The view up here was amazing. Well worth the climb to the top. Too bad it was a cloudy day though!

view from The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
view from The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
view from The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower

And finally, Karen took a picture of Lee who was sitting comfortably down below.

view from The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
view from The top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower

When Karen was taking the photos of the landscape around her, she felt the tower shaking. Then she realized that some big guy was stomping his way up the stairs. So Karen was thankful that while she was climbing up the tower, nobody else was around. But now with the tower shaking a bit, she found the trip down the tower stairs a bit nerve-wracking, and was glad when she got back on the ground. Guess the shaking bit is part of the reason only six people can be on the tower at one time. Karen took a final look upwards at the tower before joining Lee and they went off to find another adventure.

the Aiton Heights Fire Tower
look below
Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Minnesota
July 1, 2013

You may visit these sites in any order you choose.

Oddities in Bemidji

Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Itasca State Park/Mississippi Headwaters/Mary Gibbs Center

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