Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018-03-24 Cuyamaca Peak and Uruguay

Today’s objective was a mountain over by Cuyamaca Lake in the Laguna mountains, “W6/CC-014 - Cuyamaca Peak“.  I was going to do this peak last week but I was told the trail might have a lot of snow on it so I bailed.... I got better information later and due to the warm rain, it probably didn’t.  We had more rain this week, it was a warm system, and things were damp up there but not bad.  A cold front was still moving through the area so it was a tad cold and breeze at the base.  (click on pictures for larger version).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018-03-18 W6/SC-453 Twin Peaks

Today was a short hike to a activation point I’ve done before, W6/SC-453 - Twin Peaks. I was planning to hike Cuyamaca Peak, which I hear is very pretty, but given the latest precipitation, there were warnings about snow and ice in the area last night.  I have AWD, but not appropriate boots.  They aren’t waterproof and I’d have to locate my gators, I decided to not hike in the snow.  I hear that after the last storm, the trail had ten inches so hopefully I can do next weekend. 
(<Sulu always finds a good shady place to nest for a nap as you can see in the pic to the right.>)

After publishing last weeks article on why my pack is so heavy, I changed out to a 30 foot coax feed line (which should give me better signal), and left the jetboil and tuner in the car, saving me about 4.5 lbs.  Speaking of that, I published that article after talking to Jerry (KG6HQD), a youtuber I follow.  It looks like I sparked the same effort for him, as he published what his loadout is and how he gets to 25 lbs (spoiler, he had me in the opening seconds by using a pack almost half the weight of mine and his antenna and pole system is a lot lighter with no frills system amenities).

Monday, March 12, 2018

Why Is My Loadout So Heavy?

You may have seen earlier posts where I quote my pack as weighing 40 pounds.  Someone recently asked me a good question, “Forty pounds!  What the hell are you carrying”, (paraphrased of course).  I’ve actually been wondering the same thing after the last two hikes.  I’ve done roughly 32 summits with my current config, it’s a good workout but not good for the knees.

I’ve been wondering for a while what the difference is between my packtenna with mast or my MPAS antenna and some other tradeoffs.  Tonight I decided to unpack everything and weigh it with my digital luggage scale and figure out what my options are and answer some questions that have been looming in the background while I trudge up the hill. 

First, I didn’t weigh a pound of the stuff in the pack.  Like everything in life, overtime, you overstuff.  Dropping things in the pack without thinking, all those nickels add up.  The loadout spreadsheet is at the bottom of the article with a full breakdown of each item weight.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018-03-11 Corte Madera Mountain

Today’s objective, activate W6/CC-026
- Corte Madera Mountain
I loved this hike!  It’s  robably the most enjoyable one in the county since I’ve started doing this.  If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know I like hiking this part of the county because it’s not a pile of rocks, my poles actually sink into dirt, and it’s a bit more scenic.  It had finished raining just hours before I started the hike and today’s weather was very nice.  It was warm and we had scattered clouds, some of them sitting on top of the distant mountains.


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Monday, March 5, 2018

2018-03-04 Guatay Mtn. and Aruba

Today’s trip is a hike to Guatay Mtn to activate “W6/CC-025 - Guatay Mountain”.  I’d been looking forward to this hike as my daughter, Mari Lú, said that she would join me.  It rained quite a bit on Saturday so I was wondering if we would be hiking in snow as the bottom is at 3,500’ and the top is almost 5,000’.

We got to the trail head at about 9AM and quickly donned all the layers we brought with us.  There wasn’t any snow but it was coldddddd (to us anyway).  It was about 37F, clear skies and no wind to speak of.  After about 10 minutes on the trail, we started pulling off some of the layers we had just put on.  One thing I learned, if you are going to hike with Mari Lú, you better be in shape.  It was an effort trying to keep up with her.  She stopped a lot asking if I was OK (probably figured I keeled over with all the loud breathing).  She had an advantage though, she wasn't carrying a 40 lb pack!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018-03-03 Merriam Mountain FAIL

During a break from the rain storm I went back up to the San Marcos area to check off “W6/SC-323 - Merriam Mountains” from my list.  This expedition however was a #FAIL.  I had a couple of routes planned, both ran into private property.  I went over to the northwest side and did find a trail that I thought might go up and over but it eventually ended and it would have been a very difficult bushwhack.  The trail was pretty overgrown anyway.  The last possible route, and probably the best said that it was a private road.  It may not have been but oh well.  I sent an email to a fellow SOTA activator who has activated it several times to see if he has a usable route for me. 

I’ll save my energy for Guatay Mountain.  It should be a good hike tomorrow.


- Chris Claborne