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An actual place on Clinch Mountain is the setting for this fast-paced thriller. Teenager Duncan Akers signs up for a solitary stint in the woods when he agrees to serve as a lookout at a remote fire tower, which is still standing high atop Clinch Mountain in Southwest Virginia. When not at his lofty post watching for smoke or cooking meals in his tiny cabin, Duncan explores the dark depths of the mysterious sandstone channels that are weather-carved into the earth below.
He's just settling into the rhythm of life and work in the wilderness when suddenly two unexpected visitors appear -- a desperate man and a little girl. Duncan's routine is disrupted in ways he could never have imagined. In short order a major forest fire threatens their lives as well as thousands of acres of pristine forestland he is determined to protect.
The late Jack Kestner wrote this adventure story in 1960 after serving as a lookout himself at the Hayters Knob fire tower on Clinch Mountain, which is the location he named "Kermit Knob" in the book. With this book, Jack honored the men and women of the Virginia Division of Forestry (now the Department of Forestry) who work tirelessly to protect lives and property during fire season.
Jack's newspaper columns are gathered in another book,
A View from the Mountain, also available from Clinch Mountain Press.