Wednesday, September 30, 2020

2020-09-20 Pipestem Mtn

Today’s summit of Pipestem is in lue of doing Red Mountain.  Dale and I had planned on doing Red Mountain but the trail was closed.  Pipestem is a good alternate summit and is in the same general area but further south down the Mogollon Rim.  The summit is lower than all of the peaks farther north, it’s about 7,244 feet at the summit.  I met Dale at his cabin in Alpine at about 6AM and we headed out. 

On the drive down we saw several small groups of deer and some baby deer as well.  In addition, we came across some large wild turkey hens and further down the road there were some tom turkey.  We stopped pretty close to the toms and watched them for a moment. Dale was running my camera most of the time.  We got pictures of all the wildlife except for the toms, I think they were too close.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

2020-09-28 Escudilla Fall Colors

Sometimes I do summits on the air SOTA just for the hike and today was one of them.  I’ve done Escudilla this year so I don’t get any more SOTA points but I did get some awesome views.  I just got back from Flagstaff, doing three summits with Charlie, NJ7V and was planning on relaxing today.  When I saw the fall colors as I walked the dog in the forest behind the villa, I decided I really needed to take advantage of the Sunday and do something fall color related so up to Escudilla it was.

I took my usual radio loadout but the trek was really to look at the fall colors and WOW, WOW, WOW, it didn’t disappoint.  Fall came a bit early this year and it’s a good thing because I’m leaving this weekend.  It’s almost like they popped overnight.  The first two miles of the trail are lined with oak and aspen that are changing color.  I snapped a lot of pictures and I’ll put the best in here.
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Sunday, September 27, 2020

2020-09-19 Blue Peak

Today’s summit is W7A/AE-016 (Blue Peak).  It’s located south of Hanagan’s meddow off of highway 191 (previously known as 666).  The road to the actual tailhead is a little over 4 miles.  There’s a parking area at the trailhead and the road was pretty rocky.  

The trail brings you up the north side ofa small mountain just to the west of the destination and it provided some nice views.  It’s fairly easy hike of ~1.3 miles with a total gain of 486 feet. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

2020-09-12 Ortega Mtn

Today was a quick summit to Ortega Mtn, W7A/NA-008.  It’s off the highway between Show Low and Concho, AZ.  I’ve been saving this one for when it was a bit cooler in the area and was hard up for a quick summit, and also combine it with a trip to the Home Depot (about 75 miles from my summer villa).  After yesterday’s long hike around Mt. Baldy, I didn’t get up too early, then had breakfast and headed out. 
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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Revisting Alltrails vs. Gaia For SOTA

I wrote a review of mapping / charting apps that I tested for hiking in February of 2018.  As you know, my primary activity is hiking in support of Summits On The Air (SOTA) and therefore this is the lense by which I view these apps when doing a review.  SOTA involves day hiking and overnight backpacking to a specific destination summit, some of which have no trails.  I use the maps I create over and over.  The previous review focused mainly on Alltrails & Gaia and wasn’t in depth.  I’ll update that review with a fresh look at these two because things have changed just a tad and hold on, this is going to be a bit more in depth and detailed.

{NOTE: Last Updated 10/02/202 (New Layer added)
Click on images for larger and jump to the end to see who wins.}


Monday, September 14, 2020

Repairing My SOTABeams Pushup Pole


I have a SOTAbeams Tactical 7000hds that I got from DX Engineering.  It’s a tough little bugger but not as tough as I wanted on the base plug / bung.  The base screws off so that you can clean it or remove / replace some of the elements and has a rubber pad to absorb the shock of the elements coming down.  It’s made out of thin plastic and over time it’s been getting damaged from being jammed in between rocks.

Before the base cap was completely destroyed, I decided to do a little repair with some two-part epoxy.  Here’s what I did.

  1. Remove the cap from the pole and clean the bottom.  You don't want to glue it onto the pole.

  2. Cover any holes from cracks from the inside.  You don’t want any epoxi leaking in.  There is a breathing hole, make sure you cover that too.  It's OK to stuff a bunch of painters tape on the inside.

  3. Wrap a layer or two of painters tape around the the outside with the hard side up.  You’re making a form.

  4. Mix some two part epoxi and pour it in the form you made.  You shouldn’t need more than a 1/8th or 1/2 inch. 

  5. After it dried harder than concrete, I pulled the tape off and then ground it down a tad to ensure that my 2 inch PVC cap with a hole for a spike still fits.  By the way, the PVC cap with a spike is super handy as it keeps the base from sliding out, allowing me to just tie the top part to a tree branch or something.

 The pictures below show what I’ve described.  I’m guessing the base of this thing will outlast the rest of the pole now.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

2020-09-11 Tres Cabezas Ride Again

When I finished hiking Mount Baldy a couple months ago I couldn’t wait to go back.   When I mentioned it to Dale, AA7OY and Charlie, N7JV, they were all in.  Both were as excited as I was.  I didn’t do the loop last time because I didn’t want to bother with the cross trail or hitch hiking back to the car and I had heard that it was difficult due to lack of trail maintenance.  I really wanted to do the loop on this trip and after looking at the trail reviews from July onward, it sounded like someone may have gone up there with a chainsaw and did some trail maintenance.  When I mentioned doing the loop with the crew they were all for it.  So it was on, the Tres Cabezas would ride again (or activate a mountain again).

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2020-09-05 Gallo Pk. & Fox Mtn

A friend of mine was planning a SOTA activation of Fox Mtn in New Mexico which made me think of doing it also.  I wanted to try something new but I also wanted to get at least one hike this weekend.  I thought Fox in New Mexico would be good but it is an almost drive up summit with a lookout tower on it.  As luck would have it, right next to Fox is another summit, Gallo Peak, that looked like a nice hike and it’s close enough to where I could probably fit both summits into this expedition.
(Click on images for larter)

Saturday, September 5, 2020

2020-08-30 Wahl Knoll with AA7OY

I hooked up with Dale, AA7OY again today as we headed up to Wahl Knoll for another fun hike.  It’s not far but it has a beautiful view all the way up and from the top. We met up near the trailhead and saddled up.  Went up the valley from the west wich this time of year has a lot of high green grass.  It’s a beautiful little hike with a gradual incline over about a mile.  We spotted a small group of deer on a ridge.  I didn’t have much of a telephoto but I was able to get a pic of them.
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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Demystifying S2S Point System

Brian, KN6KJO, recently asked me how summit-to-summit points work for Summits On The Air.  I actually wasn’t sure so I did some work.  I’ve known how chasing works but S2S was a mystery.  

I've never really looked into it to understand in detail but I did some analysis by looking at my chaser and S2S logs.  A good day to look at for me is Aug-1-2020 because I had a LOT of S2S and chased multiple people on the same summit on the same UTC day. So I cross checked the data between the chased log and S2S log on SOTAdata and looked at how they were adding up the S2S points, which is the oddball log / point system.  I enjoy making summit to summit contacts and it’s fun to track where I’m at in the pack of guys doing this in my association, California.  Most important rule, rule #1... HAVE FUN!