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Black Hills SOTA trip of 19 summits

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 I just returned from a month-long road trip west that included 17 summits in Black Hills and Wyoming.  That brings me to 1,154 points, 168 activations of 95 unique summits activated,  When you do that many summits in a short time, they start to run together.  So I'll run through my log and photo album with some notes on each summit.  I'm going to start with my second-to-the last summit, Red Mountain W7Y/SW-022.  This was the high point of my trip, hiking up to the summit at 10,500 feet.  That's the highest altitude I had hiked to, and cam almost three weeks into the trip.  Living at 500 feet, it's safe to say I'm not used to high altitude.  A few years ago the wife and I spent a day hiking in the Medicine Bow Mountains at 9,000 feet just a few days after leaving home.  That got me a mild case of altitude sickness, and reminder that you can't just to to high altitude and hike.  So this year I started by spending 10 days in the Black Hills of South Dakota, camped

Achieved a goal

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 On May 21 I achieved my long-term goal of reaching 1,000 points, making me a Mountain Goat in the world of Summits on the Air.  I was within 18 points so I went through different scenarios in my head to make my "goat day" special -- do some new summits, do some hard summits or do some easy ones.  After a week or going between the three options, I chose the easy path for Friday, May 21. The weather forecast was for a change of occasional showers, so I wasn't too worried as I left home at 8 a.m. headed for Rich Mountain, just north of Mena and about 2.5 hours west.  I figured I could work between the showers, if needed.   As I went west it got wetter and wetter, and by the time I reached Mena it was a torrential downpour.  Checking the radar, it looked like rain would pass by noon, so I headed up the road to the Talimena highway, which starts at Rich Mountain and winds its way into Oklahoma with multiple summits along the way.  Of course as I drove up the mountain out of M

A great camping/SOTA trip

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 Last weekend I took the wife and dog with me to my favorite campground -- Shady Lake Recreation Area -- and was able to squeeze in two of my favorite Arkansas summits -- Tall Peak W5A/CS-002 and Buckeye Mountain W5A/CS-003. Shady Lake is a beautiful, if somewhat rundown, campground at the base of the Cossatot Mountains in western Arkansas.  We were going on a weekend, but it was not at all crowded and we were able to score the best camp site that overlooks the lake.  This was great, as my wife was happy to sit and enjoy the view and nature while I hiked up Tall Peak on Friday afternoon.  Tall Peak is the home to an old fire tower that makes a great operating position.  It can be reached via a 3.5 mile trail from the campground or a 2.5 mile walk up a gated access road.  As I was short on time I hiked up the road which is a steady climb of about 600 feet.  You can see lake from the fire tower, and I even managed a contact on 2 meters with my wife, K9GAL at the campground from the top. 

13 summits in 7 days

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  I finished my epic road trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway with successful  activations of 13 summits in 7 days. This is by far my most ambitious SOTA trip to date. When you do that many summits in a few days, the details start to blur. So I'll try to document them here with the memories I have one week later.   Day 1 Wine Spring Bald -- W4C/WM-018 This was a summit I had driven by on multiple Mini rallies in North Carolina and made a good stop on my second day of driving to the BRP. It is nearly a drive up, with a half-mile hike up a road to get to the top. This is right next to the Appalachian Trail which goes over the Wayah Bald a mile away. While hiking down the road I could hear people talking on the AT, which parallels the road. Photo is view from Wayah Bald.   Day 2 Waterrock Knob -- W4C/WM-010 After a cold night at a National Forest campground at 5,000 feet I got on the BRP and did this popular spot on the parkway. There is a well-maintained trail to the top w

Sunday afternoon

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Last Sunday was a perfect Spring day here in Arkansas, so I headed out to the woods. I went to one of my new favorites, Slattington Benchmark W5A/CS-001, in the Caddo Mountains about 90 miles west of Little Rock. This is a typical Arkansas Summit. You get there by following a Forest Service road up a pass over a range in the Ouachitas. At the pass an old Jeep trail heads up the ridge to an abandoned fire lookout tower site. The Jeep road has devolved into a brushy hiking trail, but I could see that a few other souls had made the hike this spring. It is about a 1 mile hike with 700 foot elevation gain. The first 1/2 mile is all uphill, but once you hit the ridge you are rewarded with great views. At the end of the trail is a clearing, the concrete footings of the fire tower and great views. As a bonus on the drive home I cut through the back roads and the Dogwoods were in full bloom. Another great day in the woods. Looking west from Slatington Benchmark Dogwoods in bloo

Big trip coming

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I have a trip planned the week of April 36 to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I hope to activate 12 summits in 4 days along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I will post reports as I make progress. Day 1 and 2 Day 3 Day 3

Restarting the blog -- SOTA update

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 It's been nearly two years since the last blog post, so time to get busy again.  I did have some posts up on the Wordpress version of this blog, but since it has disappeared I'm back to the blogger version.  It's been an exciting two years.  I ramped up my SOTA activity in 2019 and had big plans to be very active in 2020 the the world turned upside down in March with the pandemic.  After a couple of months of sheltering in place, I got back out in the field again later in the year and have done many summits here in Arkansas since then.  Today I have 842 points working toward my goal of reaching Mountain Goat status at 1,000 points sometime this summer.   I'll use this blog to track the progress. My last activations was a set of four 10 pointers in western Arkansas that I did over two days.  Two were simple drive-ups and two were  hikes -- one a 1/2 mile bushwhack and one a 5 mile roundtrip hike on the Ozark Highland Trail. You can see here's I've had a busy 202