A great camping/SOTA trip

 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. 

On Saturday Mary and Robbie (the dog) joined me in hiking up Buckeye mountain. This is a 1.5 mile hike with about 500 foot elevation gain. It is a very pretty hike, with great views again from the top.  Mary enjoyed the view while I operated nearby.

I operated the KX-2 on both summits with the 20 meter end-fed antenna.  The bands weren't great, so the number of contacts was limited, but I still made 18 points for the two days, bringing me to 982 points.  I'm just 18 points shy of Mountain Goat status, which I'll probably pick up this weekend.