Friday, November 20, 2015

Hoyt Mtn. W6/CT-146

We finally had a Friday without heavy winds, so I wanted to make a run up the Crest for an activation.  I had activated Hoyt Mtn in 2014, one of my early SOTA activations.  There are a couple ways to approach Hoyt, I chose the longer route from the Grizzly Flats Trailhead as I wanted some exercise.  This route is nearly 2.5 miles, most of which is a dirt fire road.  The last half mile leaves the dirt road to a use trail, with a nearly 600 foot elevation gain.

Parking is in a large turnout at 34 15.617 N, 118 11.544 W.  There is a lot of traffic on Angeles Crest Highway, so be careful when driving across the road.  After parking, take the Grizzly Flats Trailhead.  It is well marked and is the dirt fire road on the south side of the parking lot.  Shortly after hiking up the road, you will walk around a yellow gate.  Continue to follow the road.

After two miles, I was at the base of Hoyt.  Looking up, there is a false summit.

After the climb, I arrived at Hoyt Mtn.  The summit is level and there are plenty of places to set up the station.  There are many Yucca trees that can be used to hang the antenna.  Shortly after arriving, I made a summit to summit contact on 2m with Hal, N6JZT, who was on Calabasas Peak, W6/CT-214. 


I sat on a pile of rocks during the activation with a nice view of downtown Los Angeles in the background.  This is my second activation with my KX3.  I really enjoy the lighter weight and I am learning the various functions.

After the activation, I found and signed the summit log.  I then walked around, enjoying the nice views.  The first photo with summits in the background is Strawberry Peak W6/CT-018 on the left and Mt. Lawlor W6/CT-089 on the right.  The next photo shows Josephine Peak W6/CT-025.  Finally, Mt. Lukens W6/CT-030. 

It started to heat up on the summit and it was time to pack up and head on down the hill.  I stopped along the way for a few geocaches.

I made the following contacts:


10m - NG6R, NK6A

20m - W0MNA, KX0R, W0ERI

40m - W7RV, K6TUY, AA7DK 



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jupiter Mtn W6/CT-140

Now that the weather is starting to cool, it is time to activate those mountains that don't provide any protection from the sun.  Jupiter Mtn was about an hour's drive from the Crescenta Valley.  Stopped by Starbucks for coffee and oatmeal and headed up towards the Leona Valley from the 14 Fwy. The hike to the summit is just over 1000' of elevation gain. Hiking up, I took the route in yellow, about 1.5 miles.  The return route, I took the red line, a STEEP, .93 miles down hill.

Parking is on Spunky Cyn Rd at 34 36.143 N 118 23.178 W.  There is a large dirt turn out for parking and the trail starts on the south side of parking area.  The trail starts as a dirt road.

After a short distance, you come to a fork. The left takes the STEEP, shorter route to the summit.  I went to the right.  The fork is located at 34 36.093 N 118 23.177 W.

Keep your eyes open for the next fork at 34 36.107 N 118 23.236 W.  Take the trail to the left at the fork.  The trail was in good shape.  The first quarter mile or so had evidence of the recent heavy rains in the area.  It appeared that the water ran down the center of the trail.

I took my time on the trail enjoying the cool, morning hike.  There were nice views of the surrounding mountains/canyons,  I stopped for a few geocaches along the way.

At 34 36.158 N 118 24.126 N is another fork at the ridge line.  Take the trail to the left towards the summit.  The trail is steep for a short distance as you approach a false summit.

When I arrived at the summit, Roxy was waiting for me, seated next to the summit log.  I was surprised to find a bench on the summit.  As I explored the summit, I found a rock bench that someone had made to enjoy the views.

I used the bench to set up my station.  I recently purchased a KX3.  My pack was much lighter, as I normally hike with the 857.  I did have a few technical difficulties with the KX3 (operator error), as I had only had it out of the box once and I was unfamiliar with the functions.  I did finally make a contact on 10m.  It was a Summit to Summit with Wesley, N4QYI, who was in North Carolina on W4C/EM-011, Sugar Mountain.  It is always fun to get a Summit to Summit.

There are nice views of the surrounding mountains and Boquet Cyn Reservoir.  I could see Grass Mtn, W6/CT-130, a few miles away.

I signed the summit log before heading down the mountain via the old, STEEP, fire road on the S/E side of the summit.  After a short distance, I turned and took a picture of the summit.

It took me just over an hour going up at a leisurely pace.  On the way down, did I mention STEEP, it took about 25 minutes and was tough on the knees.  I will study the KX3 manual before my next activation.  In addition to the 10m contact, I made four contacts on 2m.  Thank you chasers!

If you choose to hike this in the warm months, bring plenty of water and watch for rattlesnakes.  This area is loaded with rattlers!

I made the following contacts:


10m - N4QYI

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pine Mtn W6/CT-040

I thought I would get up early and do an activation before the temperature in the Crescenta Valley rose above 100 degrees today.  I had scouted out Pine Mtn last year at this time and knew the gate at Guffy Campground would be open.  It was about an hour drive from my house over the Hwy 2 to the turnoff at  34° 22.336'N 117° 42.607'W.  Another option is to make the approach from Wrightwood.  I haven't made a blog entry in a while, as I had dropped and broken my previous camera on a hike.

After leaving Hwy 2, the road is a combination of torn up pavement and dirt.  There were some rough spots, but I had no problem with my 2 WD Toyota.  The road was in a little better condition last year when I scouted out the area.  The road goes through the Mt High ski runs and it is a fun drive. Arriving at Guffy Campground six miles later, the fire gate was closed.  I had not planned on that as I had driven to the trail head last year.  I parked on the road to Guffy about 100 yards from the fire gate.

While walking on the dirt road (3N06) from the gate, I had a good look at Pine Mtn

The locked gate was going to add two miles each way.  Fortunately, the temperature was in the upper 60's and it was a nice morning for a hike.  It took me 41 minutes to get to the trail head at   34° 19.754'N    117° 38.186'W.  Now the fun begins.  The trail drops and then follows the ridge to Pine Mtn, 1.28 miles away.  It was a steep trail, with loose gravel/rocks in places.  I am glad I did not take Roxy, as it would have been a difficult and dangerous hike for her.  Both sides of the ridge have steep slopes.

Walking the ridge, you can see the trail conditions and the steep slopes off of the trail.  I told myself when I get proficient with CW (which will be a while), I am going to buy a KX3.  I kept thinking how nice it would have been to already have that radio, as the weight is more than half the weight of my 857!  I better practice more so I can get that radio!

It was nice to get off the ridge and hike the steep trail in the trees.

At the summit, I took a break and enjoyed a cold "Powerade".  I found a downed log in the shade to set up my station.  Temperature was in the low 70's.  I had a contact with K6TUY on 40m, who said it was already very hot at the base of the San Gabriels.  I was able to spot via APRS.  I found out I had phone reception when I had a call from my son during the activation.  I was also able to spot via SMS.

I spent some time walking around the summit as I heard there was a "fort" up here.  I couldn't find it.  I did find the geocache, the summit log, and some cool chairs built out of rocks.

As the temperatures began to rise, it was time to pack up and start the tough hike back.  It was tough going down the steep ridge.  I am glad I had my hiking poles, as it would have been extremely difficult without them.  While walking the dirt road on the final stretch, I saw some movement in front of me.  It was a rattlesnake slithering across the road.  I stopped in my tracks, as I don't like rattlesnakes and was thankful Roxy was not with me as when I spotted the snake, it was about the same distance she walks in front of me.  As the snake went up the hill, I remembered I had a camera and snapped a shot.  I was going to wait until he got farther up the hill before I passed, but he began to turn back towards the road.  He was not happy when I decided to pass, giving out a loud rattle as his head went back and he began to coil.

As I was nearly back to the gate, I looked to my left and noticed a small fire, which I later learned was near Hwy 39.  As I approached the gate, I noticed that the gate was now open.  Bummer!  Next time I will call the ranger station and find out what time they open the gate.  I brought three pints of water and a power aide and drank them all.  Not sure of the temperature, but it was hot when I got back to the truck. I also saw a glider fly overhead while on the dirt road.

There were some nice views of surrounding mountains from the summit.

As a PAPA member, I was able to hit the club repeaters on Mt Wilson (PAPA 8) and Blue Ridge (PAPA 14).  It is nice to know in the event of an emergency, I can hit one of the repeaters from most summits in the San Gabriels.  While hiking up, I had conversations with fellow PAPA members and SOTA activators/chasers, Bob KB6CIO and Scott WA9STI.  Scott gave an outstanding SOTA presentation at last weeks PAPA breakfast.  It also inspired me to write a hiking plan that I left at the house should something happen on the hike.  PAPA 8 on Mt Wilson and PAPA 14 on Blue Ridge.

I brought three liters of water and 1 quart of Powerade, drinking all of them.  I ran out of water just as I was approaching the gate on the return trip, a short distance from the truck, where I had more water.  Had I known the gate would be closed, I would have brought more water.  All in all, this was an awesome hike with plenty of solitude and great views.  I recommend doing this hike in cool weather, have hiking/trekking poles, be in moderate shape, contact the ranger station to check on status of gate closure, and bring plenty of water.

While driving home, I decided to take a chance and drive the 2, hoping it wouldn't be closed due to the fire.  The other option would have been taking the 138 through Wrightwood to the 15 south.  A half hour of driving on the 2, I noticed that the fire had grown.

I made the following contacts:

2m - N6MIK, NA6MG (I could hear Charles, KM6CEM, but he couldn't hear me.  I spent about 20 minutes walking around the summit trying to contact him.  He is getting close to that 1000 point mark for chasing!)
10m - NK6A, KB6CIO
40m - K6TUY

Thank you Chasers!!!!!