Monday, August 13, 2018

2018-08-11 Mogollon Rim

2018-08-11  Mogollon Rim, Summits on the air with the Ham Ninja.

Today was 10th and last SOTA in the White Mountains.  W7A/GR-001 - Mogollon Rim will be an easy one but more importantly, I wanted to take a trip down to Hannagan Meadow.

It’s been an active week.  I did at-least one SOTA attempt every day since I got here.  It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve seen some very beautiful country and netted 100 SOTA pts.

(Note: I spent most of my time shooting video for this trip so not many stills)
The drive down to Hannagan Meadow takes about 30 minutes.  I got up early, hoping to see some wild critters, but it was disappointing as I only saw a small group of female elk.

Friday, August 10, 2018

2018-08-10 Gobbler Peak #FAIL

2018-08-10  Gobbler Peak #FAIL, Summits on the air with the Ham Ninja. 

Today’s summit was to W7A/AP-025 - Gobbler Peak, my tenth summit for the week. My plan was to drive around (as far as I could) and tackle it from the west side (see chart here).  The road I planned to use was posted private and an alternate had a locked gate on it.  I replanned and used a forest service road from the south side.  It took me a while to do all of this, it didn’t help in the least, and when I finally got on the trail I was running out of time.  Thunderstorms kick up and start dumping around noon or 1PM so I needed to activate the summit before the lightning started kicking up. 

I decided to attempt the east side, tougher than the west but I was hoping to be able to summit sooner as I could see the thunderstorm buildups to the south.  The peak wasn’t that far but it was going to be a heck of a climb no matter what side I attacked it from.  I was hoping a creative ziz-zag would allow me to get up.   But wait... there's more... (clicking on pictures makes them larger)

2018-08-09 Timber Top Mtn

2018-08-09 Timber Top Mtn., Summits on the Air with the Ham Ninja

This morning’s summit is W7A/AP-015 - Timber Top.  The road up into Crow Poison starts about 2 miles south of alpine and is an easy drive up to the ingress point.  As you may have seen from yesterday’s post, it rained (with hail and lightning) yesterday so the ground is moist.  I met an older fella who collected a couple of stumps to make bowels.  I went to school with his kids.

The hike to the summit wasn’t steep but because I couldn’t find a trail up, I had to cut through a new thicket of aspen that was so thick I could barely make it through.  Although the pine will take 100+ years to come back, the aspen will be full grown in just a few.years.  It was probably 72 degrees with a high overcast to start, then it cleared and then it started clouding over for the afternoon rains. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

2018-08-08 Middle Mtn.

2018-08-08 Middle Mtn.  Summits On The Air with the Ham Ninja

Today’s objectives was W7A/GR-002 - Middle Mountain, and W7A/AP-015 - Timber Top.  I had a big breakfast and got on the road at about 7:30.  According to my research, I could get within a mile of the summit.  The drive over was pretty and I spotted a mama dear with two babies.  The fawn were about the size of a medium dog and were trotting behind the mama, who was bounding along over logs like it was nothing.  The poor little guys were struggling to get over small fallen logs.
Note: I spent time shooting video this trip so you will have to watch that if you want more imagery.  ... But there is one surprise image below. You can always click for larger.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

2018-08-07 - Four Summits In One Day

2018-08-07 - Four Summits In One Day.  Summits On The Air with the Ham Ninja

Given yesterday’s failure, more on that in a moment, I had to make up for lost peaks.  I wanted to do about two a day while from my summer home.  Some are good hikes, others are almost a drive up with great views.  Today Jeanette and I tackled the following:
     W7A/AP-020 - Escudilla Butte (a tough 1.6 out and back hike)
     W7A/AP-037 - Coyote Hills (a 1 mile out and back hike)
     W7A/AE-009 - Greens Peak (a drive up)
     W7A/AE-022 - Antelope Mountain (a drive up if you have a monster 4X4, so 1 mi hike)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

2018-08-05 South Mountain & Noble Mountain

Today’s hike I’m checking off two summits, South Mountain, and Noble Mountain.  Both are very close to my retreat house and as it turns out, drive ups.  The drive was pretty.  The road I chose for Noble Mountain was a bit rough but passable in my SUV. 

When I setup for first mountain, I noticed I was missing the 70’+ counterpoise wire so I went back to my truck and pulled out the mast and setup the 20M dipole.  I remember why I hate goofing around with the paracord.... I snags and catches on everything.  After finally getting setup, I knocked out 16 contacts.  After breaking down my gear, I am planning an afternoon trip back up to Escudilla Mtn. to retrieve the counterpoise wire.  It’s a 6 mile hike but I’ll need the exercise. 
The drive over to Noble Mountain was a bit rough but passable and it was pretty.  A thunderstorm was moving in so I wanted to setup, activate, and breakdown before it was on top of me since my antenna is a great lightning rode. I didn’t take the time to shoot any video except for the drive up so the video is  just for South Mountain. 

P.S... Mission accomplished.  I hiked up to the lookout on Escudilla in the afternoon and found my spool of wire.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018-08-04 Escudilla Mtn.

Today’s summit is a repeat of my Thanksgiving summit.  This should count since the new year ticked over.  I decided to do a video blog.... And then forgot the gopro. 

Last time I only had 5 watts.  Today I brought the FT-891 that should be putting out 100 watts.  The band conditions were difficult and at the end, a thunderstorm to the south east of me made hearing anything very difficult.  On the plus side, the trek up to 11,800 feet was no problem and I’m surprised how quickly I recovered.

The trek up to the lookout and activation zone was easy.  The trail is in good condition and I think I had to step over one fallen tree.  I was actually surprised that I wasn't gasping, given that I was at 10,000+ feet.  I guess the cycling to work is doing me some good.  

The rains start the first week in July so it's very green up here.  It's a heck of a lot more pleasant than the brown you get prior to the monsoons arriving.