I needed a hike to bookmark the end of the Thanksgiving weekend. Due to events beyond my control, we went to Phoenix instead of Springerville for Thanksgiving. We had a very nice time with the in-laws and it involved the normal visiting and excellent meal. It was a short trip and all of this meant that I wasn’t able to do some of the hiking that Juan and I had planned up in the White Mountains. So today, I got my butt up early and headed over to Middle Peak, W6/SC-024 - Middle Peak. It’s located up off of the Sunrise highway past Descanso just south of Lake Cuyamaca. I hadn’t ever done this before but have looked at it from Eagle peak.
(Click on photo for larger version)
(Click on photo for larger version)
The fall colors of the oaks were in full force, a very nice treat on the way up, and I spotted a deer just before the IAF. I had charted out a path up the south side, mainly because of the incline. I figured I would be able to find a trail but also knew that some bushwhacking might be in the plan. Once on the road and near the place where I would need to leave the main trail I saw a trail going up the slope. Perfect!!!... or so I thought. I hit a dead end and had to resort to bushwhacking my way up. The foliage was thick as hell. I did find some natural paths and made sure to preserve new growth, especially the pine trees that had been planted in the area. I reached an area near the summit that was probably close enough to count for the activation. In order to get over to the main summit, it would have been a major bushwhack and taken at-least another 15 to 30 minutes. I was running out of time because I needed to activate this baby and get back to San Diego for a birthday lunch/dinner.
I quickly setup and just about the time I was going spot myself, I got a call on my HT from Adam, K6ARK. He saw my “SOTA Alert” and knew I would be summit today and he wanted to check on my progress. He asked if I had taken the Northern rout, and the trail where the three cairns were.... What? I wasn’t aware of this! Crap! I was going to ping him last night ask ask what the best approach was and forgot. Now I find that my route could have been a lot easier. Oh well, I plan to do this again in January or February so I’ll try it then, hopefully with Adam.
Setup was fairly easy and I was up and running in about 10 minutes. One of my regular contacts, Gary (W0MNA) and Martha (W0ERA) in Oklahoma were crashing in so loud I had to turn the gain down on the radio. I pulled in 19 contacts on 20m this trip. I didn’t really have time to setup on 40m but I did try 15m per Adam’s suggestion. He mentioned that the band was open and that I might be able to get some good DX to the south. I did try but no joy. I had to get packing as my time on the hill was already expired.
My exfil was a bit easier since going down hill always allows a better tactical view, enabling me to find more natural or man made paths. It wasn’t without some pain in the ass bushwhacking but it was a lot faster. I'm glad I didn't need my multi-tool from Gerber as I noticed that I lost it on the way up.
After 6.4 miles and some difficult hiking at the top I was glad to be back at the car. I look forward to coming back up here and trying the approach from the north side.
● Yaesu FT-891D HF Radio at 100 watts
● 30’ of coax feed line
● 3 L of water (8 lb)
● SOTA Dog
● iPhone with All Trails, MotionX GPS and sota goat
● MFJ-939Y auto antenna tuner for 891
● Trekking poles
● Extra LiFePO Battery
● AnyTone AT-868UV DMR radio for testing.
● Delorme Inreach satellite tracker and communicator.
Aka Chris claborne