Last weekend my local paper wrote about ladybugs that were migrating to higher elevations (I live in Colorado) for the winter and would gather in the mountains by the thousands. I wanted to see! A friend and I chose Devil's Head Lookout Tower as our destination for good ladybug spotting. The lookout tower watches for forest fires, usually caused by lightning. Having never been there it was a double adventure.
The hike was 1.4 pleasant miles up and as we got closer to the top, we indeed discovered ladybugs!
To continue all the way up to the fire tower meant climbing 143 stairs at an elevation of 9,748 ft. This is a manned fire watch tower from Spring through September. Colorado is number two in lightning strikes in the country. Florida is number one.
At the top I can see 360 degrees and on a clear day (which it wasn't) the view stretches 100 miles away. The view alone is worth the trip. I felt like I was on eye- level with the clouds.
Another great reason to make the climb is to chat with Bill Ellis, the fire ranger in the tower. He has been up there for most of the past 25 years.
On our hike back down Devil's Head we were rewarded with a stunning display of ladybugs that had congregated on a tree trunk!
Oh, and one last fun reason I thought the trip was worth it...my very own certificate from Ranger Bill, that reads as follows: "This certifies that on August 2009 I climbed the Devil's Head Lookout Station guarding the Pike National Forest against fire, and is therefore recognized as a member of the Ancient & Honorable Order of the Squirrels."