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3442 (NC-066), May 2020

AF7MD's picture
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NC-066, in my head named "Souther Saddle" (even though it's not part of a saddle pair), was a nice bike ride into Stimson forest land. This peak forms the lower point of a triangle between South Saddle NC-002 and NC-065, commonly a paired activation. One could easily do both NC-065 and 066 in a day, provided enough time to hike or bike this route. There are also a number of other nearby peaks on the way in/out of the forest area that could be paired if you had time in the day.

The driving route from Highway 6 down to the Stimson gate is straightforward: Turn off at (45.60697, -123.46303) near the Elk Creek campground, and navigate the forest roads to the gate at (45.55033, -123.44646). The gravel roads are reasonably well groomed and could be driven in a passenger car without much trouble in the late spring or summer.

At the gate, transition to a hike or bike (we rode commuter/hybrid bikes) for a 3.75 mile route to the summit. There are company forest roads the entire way except the final approach on peak, and we had a good time riding. Some of the later spans of road have some aggressive/long slopes, and we did find ourselves walking our bikes up towards the end. The final approach is a clear-cut hill of a little over 100 ft in gain; standard hiking shoes/boots will get you up just fine.

The AZ is broad, clear-cut and has nice views of the surrounding hills; it's easy to spot South Saddle's antenna towers and NC-065 nearby. 2m contact into Portland was mixed but one could achieve 4 contacts with a beam or a whip and a bit of luck.

The ride back was much easier, gliding mostly downhill back to the gate.