Achieved a goal

 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 Mena I was immediately in heavy fog. So now I was dealing with heavy rain and fog.  I got to the parking area for Rich Mountain at noon, but it was still pouring rain.  I went up the road to Queen Wilhemena State Park and killed another hour sitting in the lodge until it quit raining.  The minute it stopped, I headed back to Rich Mountain for the first summit.

Foggy and wet is all I can say, but it was successful.  The fog was still so thick I could barely see, so I went back down the mountain to below the clouds and headed west to do either Winding Stair Mountain or 2290.

By the time I got to the base of Winding Stair Mountain it was raining hard again, and no nearby lodge to hang out in.  So I sat in car another half hour and moved to 2290 a few miles down the road, as it wasn't looking like a good day for a hike. I sat in the car for a while, and it finally stopped raining.  I scrambled up the slope and wound my way through the trees to find a clearing to set up in.  I got the 20 meter end-fed half-wave up quickly and got on the  air.  I managed 9 contacts before the rain started up again -- hard.  So I tore down in the rain and in my confusion headed the exact wrong direction down the hill.  I knew I was maybe 50 yards or so from the highway, so when I didn't see the highway after scrambling down the slope a ways, I finally looked at GPS and realized I was going south instead of north.  So I turned around scrambled back up the hill and back to the car, totally soaked. 

But I had made Mountain Goat.  My easy day wasn't that easy, but it was memorable.  

Comments said…
The rough days end up being the most memorable, for sure. Eventually, they become fond memories. Thanks for posting, for stopping by my website, and congrats on the Mountain Goat status!
Steve Westfall said…
Congratulations on reaching Mountain Goat status! Just wondering if you've ever tried scraping off a little paint and loading up one of those watch towers for an antenna.

And thanks for the January-February 2021 CW Academy class!

Steve, N5EP
Charles, K5KXJ said…
Heck of an adventure! Congratulations!

Charles, K5KXJ