Escudilla Mountain (W7A/AE-006 - Escudilla Mountain) in Arizona has been on the top of my summit list since the day I got into SOTA. It’s Arizona’s third highest and I’ve hiked the trail to the top a few times in the past. In the summer, I drive up to Terry Flat there multiple times looking for the herds of Elk and deer that roam the area. It’s funny how we become emotionally attached to a place on the planet and for me Escudilla holds is the most powerful attachment. I grew up in a house on the back side of the mountain and saw it almost every day from a distance as we drove home from the neighboring town about 10 miles northwest from the mountain. Escudilla has a very distinctive shape and can be seen from a long ways off. To me, Escudilla is home.
We were up in the area visiting family and today's hike was a perfect way to burn off the Thanksgiving feast from the day before. It was a clear, cool, and crisp morning. The trek up to the summit is a fairly easy 3 miles and you go from about 9,500’ to 10,825. The trail is maintained, I assume, by the Forest Service, coming through with a chainsaw clear the trees that fell across the trail. It’s not as pretty as it once was due to the fire that swept the mountain from the Wallow fire of 2011, but the Aspen are coming back. Tt will be way after I’m gone before it’s fully restored.
There is a burned out lookout tower at the top along with what must be a fairly new RF shack (metal container) with what I’m guessing is a repeater for the Forest Service and other gov Agencies. It had some fairly beefy legs holding it up, which made for a perfect sitting area. The temperature was warm at the top for this time of year so no gloves required.
Setup was pretty easy and I tied off one of the lines to the container and used trees for the other two for my 20m inverted dipole. I could hear coast to coast and worked stations via voice voice on the east coast and midwest. It did take me a while to record my QSOs as it was a busy day and it can be hard to punch through a pileup when you only have 5 watts. I didn’t mind though, the view was incredible. I took my time, broke out the JetBoil, and made myself a cup of hot tea.
I was up there for over two hours and didn’t see a soul. However, I did pass a group of hikers on my way down. All in all, this SOTA has been the most pleasurable to date.
● MFJ 20M Dipole
● Yaesu FT-817ND HF/VHF/UHF radio at 5 watts
● Yaesu FT-70D HT
● Yaesu FT-70D HT
● Pack with food
● 3 L of water
● SOTA Dog
● iPhone with and MotionX GPS
● For more info on SOTA, rules, etc, go to the homepage HERE.
73,-- Chris Claborne, N1CLC
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