A fun day for sure with Hailee, Tahyo, and Kevin (W6RIP) as we hiked Cahuilla Mountain. Tried a few new things, some worked some didn’t. I already know the audio was waaay to hot on some clips and that issue has been rectified. Either way, here is the trail report:
1 – Parking / Road Conditions – The forest road to the wide turnout was easily passed with 4-wheel drive or high clearance.
It had rained heavily the night prior and there was some mud, but the sandy type road made it reasonable. The trailhead is marked by a wide turnout and the trail head has a tubed gate entryway. Parking was easy and should not require the National Forest Adventure Pass due to a lack of facilities, but you never know how the USFS will choose to enforce what rules when.
2- Trail Conditions – The entire trail is well groomed and easy to navigate all the way to the summit. I would equate it to many sections of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and has some nice scenic views along the way. Here’s the track file for your reference.
3 – VHF v HF – Our primary focus was HF, but we did accommodate Jeff – K6QCB in Rancho Cucamonga by putting my slim-jim j-pole on the HT and worked him with ease.
Providing you spot accordingly and potentially bring a portable handheld beam or other better VHF antenna, you most likely could do this with a HT only on VHF. Our primary focus was HF despite the challenge of working around a crowded band due to a 20m DX contest.
Here’s the GAIA mapping info for you to reference.
4 – APRS / Cell Spotting – I’m on Sprint and I had decent service along the trail and at the summit.
I was able to spot via the SOTA Goat app and my APRS beacon, as shown, was making it into a Digipeater with no problem along the route.
There seems to be a dead spot for APRS coverage when traversing the trail along the west side of Cahuilla up to the summit, but it wasn’t an issue. I would comfortable say you can spot in either manner, APRS2SOTA or via cell phone.
5 – Other info – I initially followed the Waze app to Cahuilla Mountain. This worked to get you in the area, but you need to stay on Cary Road which turns into Tripp Flatts Road where you will access the marked forest road. Bring water because there is none along the way and sunblock is always a good idea. There are trees to hang wires from if you choose to leave the fishing pole at home.