Six Months Alone

Sunday March 22, 2015 Written by Ronan


While most jobs are sandwiched into fluorescent-lit office spaces, it’s encouraging to know there is still a stream of occupations that flow the other way.

The Atlantic has a 15 minute portrait of one such job: a fire lookout in Montana’s beautiful Flathead National Park. Produced by Brian Bolster, the short documentary profiles Leif Haugen, who has occupied the role for six months a year since 1994.

Haugen’s account of his life traverses the beautiful (reading at night under the moon) to the scary (storms where it feels like his 100-year-old shack is going to blow away), and details the humbling practicalities of living so remotely (his water source is a five-kilometre round trip down the mountain).

It comes across as a lonely but rewarding job. Haugen speaks positively about the work, commenting that the experience helps him understand how he wants to undertake his life when he returns to his home in the valley. “The more time I spend by myself the more I appreciate about the world,” he says. “When I get back to the valley, I’m very excited.”