Starting the new year with a first activation
I've started January with four summits activated in the first three weeks. If it's above 50 degrees and sunny, I'm trying to get out in the woods. This is a good time of year for hiking in the Ouachita mountains. The leaves are off the trees so you can see where you are going, the ticks are dormant and the poison ivy has died back for the winter. As a bonus, it's no longer deer season, so the woods aren't full of hunters.
On Jan 18 I activated a summit that previously hadn't been activated. It's the Crystal Mountains High Point, W51/CA-006. I'd had my eye on this summit for a couple years, as the topo maps show an old road headed back to base of the summit with what looked like a doable bushwhack to the top. I knew one other SOTA activator had his eye on it, so I wanted to beat him to it and claim first activator rights on this one.
The topo maps are correct, and the old road makes a pleasant hike to the base of the mountain. The climb up is a typical Ouachita Bushwhack, a little steeper than I'd like and picking your way up the hill across brush and rocks. Once on top there was a nice activating area, but not much view. But I have the honor of having this shown as first activated by K9OZ.
As the photo shows, not much to see up there. With one newly activated summit in my pocket I decided to find a couple more this winter. I also activated Round Mountain northeast of Waldron and one of the many Pilot Knobs in the state, this one west of Russelville. Both were tough bushwhacks, but doable. So I now have four summits in Arkansas where I was the first to activate.
View from Round Mountain looking west toward Poteau wildenerness.