A mountain with no name…Pt 8126 (W6/ND-041) Sunday September 13, 2015

Summit: W6/ND-041

Activation Date: September 13, 2015

ATT Data Coverage: Very good

ATT Voice coverage: Not sure but presumed to be OK

APRS Coverage: Not sure

Hike stats: 1 miles roundtrip and 300′ ascent up to 8,216′, covered trail and exposed summit.

California’s water history can’t be told without reference to the astute LA city planners that around the early 1900s saw an opportunity in the Southland and recognized that water was the key. LA literally came out of nowhere and rapidly surpassed SF as the state’s epicenter due to the actions of Mulholland and others. With an eye on the future, they bought up 100 of square miles of water rights in the Eastern Sierra literally allowing Greater LA to drink the Owens Lake and Valley dry but sadly without water the Eastern Sierra’s future growth was substantially constrained. Decades later a drive along highway 395 has the sense of being in a desert.

The journey to Pt 8126, the mountain with no name takes you along the Owen’s River as it probably was years ago when it stretched 100s of miles south. Flanking the Sierra’s are pastures, cattle herds, horses, corals and even cowboys making for something straight out of a Zane Grey novel. You are brought back in 2015 by the sight of weekend fishermen out to have fun along the meandering banks of the very wet and very real Owen’s River.

Owens River as it probably looked for 100s miles south before LA
Owens River as it probably looked for 100s miles south before LA “drank” it dry

All this fades into the rear view mirror as I travel an ever narrowing dirt road that winds into a forest that shrouds the view forward and back. Somewhere in the distance is my trail head. I’m better prepared than my journey to Gilbert as I have both a co-pilot/navigator and my eTrex 20x GPS has a carefully laid route into the forest and onto the trailhead to the mystery mountain with no name.  We stop at every junction, take stock of the terrain, make sense of a far too small virtual map on the eTrex and visualize the next waypoint. Despite the planning and two heads, its easy to get a slight left mixed up with a full left that in hindsight was hidden. We recover quickly and are back on track, now driving and climbing up a dead end trail presumably to trail head.

We hike the last 1/2 mile or so, wondering what vista awaits in the remarkably uniform forest. As we crest the very modest summit the views are impressive. Glass Mountain to the east and the Sierras just a stones throw over 395 to the west.

Trail in and looking east to Glass Mtn. Menacing Thunder clouds are north and centre of it.
Trail in and looking east to Glass Mtn. Menacing thunder clouds are north and centre of it.

The distant thunder causes me to pause and take stock of where it came from; maybe the Sierras, which is far too close for comfort but consensus suggests somewhere above Glass Mtn, possibly 10 miles away. The Boy Scout in me wonders if I should head back to the vehicle but some primordial male instance pushes me forward to give this a try. Fear, given the unpredictable nature of thunder is a wonderful focuser and magically I’m deployed in near record time!

I’ve resolved to use 40m and 20m as often as possible and despite being the tail end or maybe because, chasers aren’t as bountiful as Boundary Peak the day before and I’m happy to QSO on 40m with

  • WB7ENX and NG6R

I’ve become quite adept at a band change with my Buddipole vertical and I’m on 20m quickly which yields the following chasers;

  • N4EX, KI0KN, W0ERI and N4EMG
Strong correlation between activation success and a smile.
Strong correlation between activation success and a smile.

With lightening as the inevitable colleague of thunder, the first item down is the 20+ ft of metal I’ve stuck into the air and similar to setup, tare down is equally record setting. No sooner are we moving in the Jeep than it begins to rain and no sooner are we out of the forest than the Sierras erupt into dramatic lightening storm.

This was a just in the nick of time activation!!!

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