I left work a bit earlier than usual one day to for a night activation, my first since starting with SOTA. Temescal Peak is kinda close to my office so I wouldn’t need to suffer through SoCal traffic so much. I pulled up to an area which looked okay to leave the car, collected my equipment and started to hike up a paved drainage system, at which point I was welcomed by a sign to the Topanga State Park. A cool coastal breeze was welcome as I hiked along. I kept thinking how it would have been a nice on a mountain bike. At the top, I wasted no time to get the antenna setup. The summit is kinda small, so not much room for an EFHW, but that’s what I had so I made it work. Worked 40m, 30m and 20m CW in addition to 2m FM. Made 4 DX contacts on 20M in a row. Maybe I should do night activations more often? Hiking down, by flashlight started to die and I forgot spare cells. Luckily, the moon was bright which was enough to see where I was going. Next time I’m doing this one on a mountain bike.
I wanted to hike some new terrain, so I mapped out a route through the Cow horns, east of Big Pine. Leaving Los Angeles around 6am got me to Big Pine before noon, where I bought some drinks and ice for the cooler before heading over to Death Valley Road. There is no actual trail that I could find. I started hiking up a wash, which had various levels and looked as if it would be a waterfall in times of rain. This was too sketchy for me, so I tried to get as much elevation as possible instead by climbing out of the steep wash through loose soil. It was starting to get hot, but I brought a giant golf umbrella to offer shade, which offered relief. After hiking for about 45 minutes I found the ridge line and headed straight to the summit. Once there I looked for a register, or a geo marker, but didn’t find anything. Worked 20,30, 40M CW. Wanting to activate the neighboring summit, I packed the station up and headed over……
The route I took over to W6/IN-036 was steep, and at one point I was questioning myself why I do things like this. It was hot, the ground under me was loose and I was consistently slipping. There are several nice shady trees on the ridge which offered additional shade. These trees felt a bit out of place as the whole journey thus far had seemed to be a bit treeless. Once at the summit, I looked around for any markers, or even a register but found nothing. Feeling fatigued, I setup my station and spotted myself on APRS. At 00:00 I shut the station down and headed back to the car. Going down was also steep and I only slipped once. I’d like to come back to these summits on a cooler day, and maybe place a register, and hopefully find a less steep route.
After waking up at camp in Big Pine, having a small breakfast and packing up all the camping gear, I headed back out to Death Valley Road to hike the summit of 8500, or Papoose Point, as I’ve seen it named elsewhere. It was quiet except for a few singing birds, and the air was mostly still, only disrupted by low flying F35 jets ripping through the canyons. I started hiking up the two track road, then eventually making a 90-ish degree turn straight up the mountain, over a ridge, down into a valley, then back up another ridge. This was unexpected and perhaps I could have found a different route. Once at the top, I found the summit register and signed it. There is enough room to stretch out a antenna. Not much natural shade at the actual summit, but there are trees just below to take refuge from the sun if needed. Worked 40m, 30m, and 20m CW. Two jets flying below the summit were so close I could almost see inside the cockpit, and so loud I couldn’t hear myself think. I’d love to take a ride in one! I took a different route hiking down which was steeper with more rocks, but more direct. Back at the car the temperature had really risen, so I was happy to turn on the A/C and cool down.