There is a large parking area with restrooms ( N 34 17.244 W 117 50.560 ). Smith Mtn is seen in the background above my truck.
The trail starts behind the restroom and is a gradual climb to the saddle with an elevation gain of 900 ft over three miles. This is a really nice hike with several views of Smith Mtn and the surrounding mountains on the way to the saddle. The trail is in good shape. Roxy went ahead and waited for me in one of the few spots that had some shade. The closer I got to the saddle, the steep Smith Mtn looked.
We arrived at the saddle in 1 hr and 15 min ( N 34 17.192 W 117 51.723 ). We took a nice break here, giving Roxy some water and I took off my fleece pullover as it was getting quite warm.
I looked up at Smith Mtn and thought it didn't look very steep. As we began to hike up the fire break, I was wrong, it was steep. As we got near the top, the faint, but easy to follow trail, took us over several rocks. Roxy did much better than I did over this part of the trail. I had been concerned she would not be able to make it over the rocks. It was an 800 ft elevation gain from the saddle to the peak.
Finally made it to the top and located the bench mark. I took a long break before I set up the station. I just took off my pack and sat down when I heard Hal, N6JZT, on 2m over at Pacifico Mtn. We made a Summit to Summit contact on 2m. I also spoke with Charles, KM6CEM, on 2m. Feeling a little rested, I set up that station at the bench mark.
There were some nice views from the top down towards the saddle, the surrounding mountains, the trail head, and I got a good look at the trail I had been on. As I activated, Roxy cooled off and took a nap in a bush.
After making some contacts on 20m ssb, I switched over to cw without spotting to get a little practice. I was surprised when I heard Dan, NA6MG, respond for my first ever cw contact. Thank you Dan for the contact at a speed I could understand. I have been somewhat apprehensive to do a cw activation, as when I have listened, everyone is so fast. I will keep practicing and hopefully improve. I was really hot and tired from the hike up and headed down, not spending as much time for an activation as I had planned.
I made the following contacts. Thank you chasers!
2m - N6JZT (Summit to Summit), KM6CEM
20m - NS7P, NK6A, NM5S, W0ERI, W2USA, NA6MG (cw)
40m - N6KZ, W7RV