Though they’ve spotted fires from their lofty home before, Tompkins and Colley aren’t, and have never been, park rangers. The couple, which used to live in a large 1,400-square-foot Dallas home, learned about the U.S. Forest Service’s fire outlooks in a book they stumbled upon several years ago. Intrigued, they began renting several decommissioned fire outlooks—most have been torn down and replaced by satellites—as weekend getaways.
Finally, in 2010, they built their own fire outlook home on a 160-acre lot they purchased in Oregon’s Summit Prairie. What started out as a vacation retreat soon became home sweet home, when three years later, they quit their jobs and moved in. “We were just going to do it for one year because we thought this might just be too isolated, too boring, too rustic,” Tompkins told Zillow. “But then we got down here and we started to meet people and really enjoy the rhythm of it.”
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In place of a regular toilet, the off-grid dwelling is equipped with four alternative options, including a composting toilet in an outhouse. The shower is located on the deck and there’s also a wood-burning, spring-fed hot tub on site for more luxurious soaks. In addition to the gorgeous panoramic views of Umpqua National Park that they wake up to everyday, the couple enjoys fresh organic produce grown in their own garden, getting involved with the local farmers market, and even vegan potlucks with their “old hippy” neighbors.
Images via Zillow, © Tom Hanny