The weather in L.A. is hot, and I wanted to get on the air. I also didn’t feel like hiking in the heat, but wanted to activate a summit. Doesn’t seem like a good combination, but I had an idea for a hobby stack. Earlier in the week I spent some time pulling my dual-sport motorbike out of the weeds in the backyard, and evicting the various spiders from the motor. After a quick hose off, fluid check, and battery charge, the bike was highway ready after being neglected for so long.
I’ve been curious about summits along Hwy 14, as these appear to be drive ups, however, I don’t have a 4×4 to make it up there, but I do have a dual-sport motorcycle! I left my house and wizzed the 400cc motor for about 60 miles to the area of the summit. It was hard to find, and it took a few tries to get up there, which cost quite a bit of time. Some parts of this trail were quite steep and had me second guessing my skills on the bike, but I made it up without incident. At the summit, there is evidence of an old tower site, and a single tree which could offer a bit of shade. I started with 10M, moved to 20, then 40. Called out on 2M simplex and didn’t make any contacts there.
I attempted to activate another summit nearby, however, I was hungry, running low on water, and couldn’t easily find the trailhead so I headed home. Next time I activate a summit in this area I think I’ll load the bike in the van, then drive to a friends house in the canyons and start the ride there. Being on a small displacement bike, on the highway, in the hot sun, is quite taxing!
This summit is very close to my cabin in Landers, and I’ve always wanted to hike it. Generally, I’m pretty worn out from working on the property to do anything like hiking though.
Goat Mountain was mined for gold as early as 1914. There are still places along the trail where you can see the mine shafts. The trail the top of the mountain is well defined, where I can only assume mule teams dragged carts of ore up and down. The hike up is relatively easy, however, it’s very rocky. The summit offers sweeping views of the surrounding desert. At the summit, I called out on 10M, and 2M without success. 20M and 40M was working well. Thanks for all the chasers!
VHF only activation of two peaks in the Lake Arrowhead area. These are both drive ups, and easy to find on Google Maps. GPS will probably take you straight to the top. There was a heatwave in Los Angeles, so I didn’t feel super enthusiastic about going on a hike, but I wanted to get out of the house and on the air. The first summit of the day was Strawberry peak (not to be confused with the otherStrawberry Peak!). This peak is covered in RF equipment, with little room to property setup a HF antenna. My Yaesu 817 was full noise in the 2 meter band, with the squelch al the way closed, which made making contacts interesting. I quickly made the required contacts (plus a few more) and headed over to Keller Peak. This summit is also covered in RF equipment and a fire lookout tower. There isn’t much room on the summit, but I ended up finding a spot under the tower, and behind a large rock in an attempt to block RF. Contacts came easily, and I was wrapping up after about 10 minutes at the top. Overall, beautiful area, and a nice summer drive.
My wife and I were itching to get out of the house, so I suggested a day trip up to Frazier to check out some of the easy summits in the area. At the time, there was a heat wave throughout Southern California, so I wasn’t in the mood to do much hiking! We started out by heading up to Frazier Mountain, W6/CC-003, a drive up. The first half of the road was paved, but after a few miles the road splits at a campground and turns to dirt. I attempted to pilot my Fiat 500 carefully down the dirt, but quickly found this wasn’t the best idea with minimal ground clearance and low profile tires. We turned around and headed to Mt. Pinos. Getting there is easy on the paved road, which ends at a large parking area at several trail heads. The hike up is beautiful, through a tree canopy which eventually opens up to meadows of wildflowers. Made several contacts on 20, 40 and 2 meters, including three summit to summits.
Forest fire detection was occurring as early as 1927 according to newspaper reports. It is unknown if any structure was built prior to WWII.
The Mount Pinos structure was a dual purpose site, used for enemy aircraft spotting and fire detection. A standard AWS post structure with a ground cabin and cupola were constructed in 1942/43.
The US Forest Service built, provisioned and staffed these posts. The US Army reimbursed the US Forest Service for all costs. Operators were expected to report all aircraft activities and report all fires and smokes to USFS dispatch. Aircraft information was then relayed to the Army.
Fire detection may have continued after WWII. Building removal date is unknown.
This is a fun 8 point SOTA hike, which is around 5 miles round trip. Note: If you’re looking at a map, the actual summit is past Mount Williamson; keep going and follow Pleasant View Ridge to a peak named 8248. If you keep going even further, you will run into Pallet Mountain, the site of a C-119 aircraft crash.