Since it was the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, I chose to #optoutside with quite a few other people. I didn’t buy new gear, and my trusty Osprey backpack was loaded with the bare essentials to include my HF ham radio kit; which stayed in my pack on this activation. Here is a written summary of my 5 SOTA points for the hike:

1- parking was along Highway 173 behind Lake Arrowhead and right next to the rifle range. There is a designated trail head and parking spot that any vehicle can easily drive up to unless there was heavy snow.

2- The trail is fairly well marked but does have a couple finger options to take that pretty much all lead to the visible mountain. Along the trail are soft sand patches, rocky slopes, and some heavy boulder hopping near the summit. There are no shade trees along the trail, but you can find some relief against some of the bigger rocks. I wouldn’t hike this in the summer as it would be rattlesnake haven.

3- I activated this peak on VHF via my Yaesu VX8-DR HT ham radio and a moderate antenna. An arrow beam or similar yagi style antenna would be great for this summit since setting up HF with a wire would be a bit tricky, especially on a busy day with other people. I got swarmed by people on my hike and it wasn’t worth the effort to setup HF, but other HF antenna options would be fun.

4- APRS and cell service were excellent. No problem self-spotting your activation via either mode.

5- I really like the little slope below the summit but I thought it was too far below the activation line. No need for the Forest Adventure Pass to park at the trail head and there is a good volume of traffic along Hwy 173 in case of emergencies.

Overall a real good hike for exercise as its a steady climb to the summit from the trail head. Bring lots of water, sunblock, and snack and enjoy the views out toward the north desert cities.

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