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.