Black Hills SOTA trip of 19 summits
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 at 6,000 feet and hiking to 7,000 to 8,000 feet. Those first few days were tough with some huffing and puffing, but by the second week I was doing fine. So when I arrived in Wyoming a few days later and camped at 8,500 feet, I could feel it, but it wasn't bad. The hike up Red Mountain wasn't bad and I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment making that high-altitude climb.
|My shack on Red Mountain W7Y/SW-022|
|Happy hiker at summit|
As for the activation, I ran the KX2 and my 40/20 trap dipole supported at 15 feet by my collapsible fishing rod. It and my 24-foot end-fed half wave wound up being the go-to antennas on this trip. When I had the room I put up the dipole, but on tight summits or with approaching thunderstorms the little EFHW worked great. On Red Mountain I took my time and made 27 contacts, mostly on 20 meters with a few on 40 meters.
Summit 1 -- Iowa
|Not an exciting view, but a pleasant experience nonetheless.|
Summit 2 -- The Badlands
|Operating position at the Badlands with the Ventenna vertical.|
Welcome to South Dakota
I made it to my small hotel in Keystone, SD about 4 p.m. I looked at the weather radar when I heard some thunder. It wasn't pretty. I spent the next hour in my hotel room hearing golf-ball sized hail hitting my car. I've never had hail damage before, so it was a new experience.
Summit 3 -- Lowden Mountain
|Operating position on Lowden Mountain|
Summit 4 -- Saint Elmo
|Looking east from St. Elmo Peak you get a good view of Black Elk Peak. This view was worth the hike. |
Summit 5 -- Castle Rock
|The view from 6850. Black Elk Peak is visible on the horizon and the lake at the right side of the picture is Deerfield Reservoir where I was camped.|
|Here's my view of the lake and the line of hills that include Castle Rock at sunset that same evening. This had to be one of the best views in the camp site. I spent my afternoons enjoying the view.|
Summit 6 -- Crooks Tower
Summit 7 -- Green Mountain
|Looking west from the summit of Green Mountain. |
Summit 8 -- Little Devils Tower
|View from Little Devils Tower|
Summit 9 Smith Mountain
Summit 10 -- 6361
|Looking toward Wyoming from 6361|
Summits 11 and 12 -- Bear Mountain and Odakota Mountain
Summit 13 -- Bear Lodge Mountain
|The smoke-obscured Black Hills from Bear Lodge Mountain, Wyoming|
Summit 14 -- 5900
|Trees obscured the view from 5900|
Summit 15 -- Hat Mountain
|Operating position on Hat Mountain. I discovered these small trees make good supports for my fishing pole/antenna mast.|
Summit 16 -- Scotts Bluff
|Scotts Bluff National Monument|
Summit 17 -- Mount McConnell
|View from Mount McConnel|
Summit 18 -- Red Mountain
|The combination of the Subaru Crosstrek and the REI Kingdom4 tent served me very well this trip.|
Summit 19 -- Kennaday Peak
|The Crosstrek on Kennaday Peak. Medicine Bow Mountain in the smoky distance.|
|Better view of Medicine Bow Mountain. Maybe next year I'll make it up there.|