Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Navigation App Review

I decided to do a review of two navigation apps.  My summits on the air activity takes me into some less traveled places to do my summits.  Planning is really important on some of these trips and I was frustrated with AllTrials because it doesn't have any markers on public/private land so doing advanced planning is difficult.  I've been thwarted a couple of times because my planned route took me into private land and I couldn't figure out how to re-plan or if I could walk around the property.  There is a web site out there that shows some boundary info but it's a pain to use. So here goes...

I downloaded the top two apps that have have had very high ratings by others and recommended by guys that do my activity.  I've  been an AllTrails user for a while and really love it but it's time to look around.  In order to get the level of features I need, I purchased a pro subscription for both, under $60.  I need more experience in the field with GAIA and if anything substantially impacts my experience, I'll update this review.  So lets' get to it.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018-02-25 Viejas Mountain

I was planning a hike in the same general area as yesterday but I talked to a guy that was on W6/CC-039, Viejas Mtn.  It peaked my interest so I looked it up.  It’s near Alpine, CA and about 40 minutes from my house.  The hike is about 3 miles round trip.  After yesterday’s 5 mi,  decided to do this one.  It was a crystal clear, a little cool with some wind. 

The trail starts off with a good solid climb about 50 feet from the car.  The trail is well cut and used and pretty heavily but it’s rocky.  Once up on the ridge, it’s a simple 1000 feet to the high-point.  When I arrived on the summit at about 11:30, it was blowing about 25+ mhp.  After I cooled a bit I put on a layer and got the JetBoil ready for some tea. 

2018-02-24 San Marcos Mountain

Today’s summit is San Marcos Mountain (W6/SC-331 - San Marcos Mountains (HP)) to activate a new area.  The weather was cool, slight breeze and lots of sun.  I wanted to do something new and north of me rather than east.  My plan was to take the road up to the radio tower that was near the summit and then take what looked like a trail across the ridge to the activation point.  When I created my maps in Alltrails.com, I also created an alternate path.  Alltrails is turning out to be a real winner given I have now figured out how to drop in custom routes and waypoints to create custom maps to be downloaded to my phone app where there aren’t any published routes.

Monday, February 19, 2018

2018-02-19 Double Summit

Today was final redemption day.  I went back to Eagle Peak (W6/SC-156 - Eagle Peak) with a working radio and completed my “activation”. Once I completed that, I headed over to Stonewall Peak (W6/SC-029 - Stonewall Peak) to get a second peak and activation in.  I had planned to do this as I always wanted to do a double.  I had the day off for Presidents Day so why not. 

I was itching to get back to Eagle Peak to complete what I started Saturday and tick a new summit off my list.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I drove 1.5 hours to the start of the hike, hiked 2 miles to the top of the mountain, setup my equipment, plugged everything in and then realized I was missing the power cord for the radio.  I left it on the workbench at home.  I aborted the second summit that day.  This trip was all about checking that mistake off the list and working to see if I could get two activations in one day.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018-02-18 Redemption on W6/SC-338

I woke early this AM and decided to gain a little redemption summit to Black Mtn.  Yesterday, I drove 60+ miles to get to the starting point for Eagle Peak (W6/SC-156), hiked 2 miles, climbed the mountain, summited, setup the antenna and plugged in the radio.  Just one problem, no power cord in the pack.  Somehow, when I transferred everything from my mini-pack after having my primary modified, I left the power cord on the workbench.  Yes... I was bummed.  I tried the national calling frequency of 146.52 but no one was monitoring.  I could have scraped together some by asking guys on repeaters to join me but I decided I would just bail on that.  I actually reached the Catalina repeater no problem.   I’ll possibly do Eagle Peak tomorrow and possibly a double summit to Stonewall if the weather cooperates.  I would have done it today but today is wine tasting day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2018-02 Grand Canyon

This trip is about our grand canyon adventure.  No ham radio on this trip.
NOTE: Click on picture to enlarge.  All pictures HERE.

Our trip to hike the Grand Canyon was a fantastic success, weather, trail, and accommodations.  We had been doing some training hikes, culminating with the Hike to El Cajon.  We were definitely ready.  It started off with a lazy departure on Friday in the morning from Traci and Mike's house.  We took I-10 and then winded up through Prescott where we had an Italian dinner with their son and got a tour of their house in Prescott.  The rest of the trip to the canyon was uneventful and we arrived about 10 PM and checked into the Maswik Lodge.

On Saturday, we got up early, checked-out and had breakfast.  We drove over to the information center and met up with the group that setup the original reservation.  We were able to go on the trip because of some cancellations from this group.  We were lucky because you generally need to make reservations 18 months in advance.    We caught the 8AM bus to the departure point, South Kaibab trail.  There was the usual ceremony of taking pictures in front of the tail head sign and then we were off. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

2018-02-04 El Cajon Mountain Hike & Activation

OK, I am renaming this mountain to “El Cabron”.  This is the most difficult hike I’ve ever done (outside of the army).  Today’s objective was to tackle W6/SC-115 - El Cajon Mountain, a peak near San Diego.  Mike, Traci, Jeanette and I leave for the Grand Canyon next week so we wanted one more training run.  I was not prepared for how grueling this hike would be.  The length, 12 miles, was known, but how many steep climbs there were in both directions was a surprise.  All of us launched early to avoid the certain heat.  I switched my gear to the pack I was taking to the Grand Canyon and it was about 40 lbs.  The pack is too small for my torso but will work for the trip.  (Alltrails route info)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

2018-02-03 Sheephead Activation

Today’s destination was Sheephead Mountain (W6/SD-020 - Sheephead Mountain)... again.  I was the first to activate this mountain back in January and although the hike was tough, I enjoyed it.
(See the previous post on Sheephead to get the details on the Sheephead adventure).

This is the last weekend before the Grand Canyon hike and I really didn’t want to stomp around on the hills near here.  Now that I know the trail conditions of Sheephead, I thought I would do it again.  I like being in the pines at the beginning of the hike and I’ve come to appreciate the spongy dirt on the trail.  This is in contrast to the Iron Mountain hike, and a few others around here where it is like walking on granite.