Fire lookouts are natural magnets for hikers. They always offer great views, for that was essential to their purpose. K-Country is home to numerous fire lookouts, many of which are active, but some of which are no longer there (like Pigeon Lookout) or still there but no longer active (like Cameron Lookout on Mt. Burke).
Hummingbird Plume falls into the latter category, though at the rate it’s being vandalized, it may not be there much longer. In addition, it’s been abandoned so long, the view from the lookout itself is gone. You’ll have to walk about 75 m away from the lookout to see the view that was once there.
Where it is
Hummingbird Plume is on a knoll not far above Troll Falls, so is very accessible, and worth adding on to a Troll trip. That having been said, how to get to it was not described in any guidebook until the 3rd edition of Gillean Daffern’s 3rd book in 1996. This despite the lookout being very close to the Skogan Pass trail, a route that was on maps created by George Dawson in 1886.
An historic structure
The history of Hummingbird Plume lookout itself is somewhat sketchy. Some say it was built at least 100 years ago. Ancient graffiti on the inside of the structure suggest it was there in 1915. It clearly was there in the 1930’s. Prisoners of War from the nearby camp at Barrier Lake salvaged timber in this area, and also left their initials and names carved in the logs. Sadly, most of these historic carvings have now been covered with newer versions.
The name Hummingbird Plume was not actually given to the location until 1972, which is long after the lookout was abandoned. It was named by Don Gardner, who was instrumental in trail planning during the original development of K-Country. So in many ways, it’s quite historic, though it’s history is uncertain.
Was the building itself a fire lookout? Possibly, but maybe not. It’s small, and thought it does have one large window, it’s set well back from the edge of the cliff. Even supposing that none of the trees were there when it was built, the field of view wasn’t that great. A fire in the valley bottom would not have been seen, for instance.
Come for the picnic table
Today, the cabin is engulfed in a forest. There is, however, a lovely picnic table by the cabin. To see the view, follow the path to the cliff edge. You can see a 180° panorama, ranging from Mt. Baldy, past Midnight Peak, over Wasootch and Porcupine Ridges, past Mt. Lorette Ponds, down the G8 Summits, over Old Baldy down to The Wedge.
Find out about some of the other fire lookouts in K-Country here!