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SOTA Activation: Tolmie Peak, Pierce County, Washington - June 21, 2015

K7MAS's picture
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On the first day of Summer, 2015, a short and easy hike up to a lookout tower providing one of the best views of Mount Rainier.  Shady forest walk, a beautiful lake and a final ascent to a lookout tower that is periodically still manned.  A fine weather Sunday made for crowds, however 90% + of hikers stop at the lookout tower, which is not quite the actual summit of Tolmie Peak.

There is ample data on line concerning Tolmie Peak.  See: and also: . The hike is in Mount Rainier National Park.  One of the nice things about being "older" is that I qualify for the US National Parks Senior Pass, which got our car full of "Codgers" in for free.  See:

From the town of Carbonado, the trailhead is accessed via 5 miles of paved road, followed by approximately 12 miles of very dusty, and in places very rutted / washboarded gravel road leading to the vicinity of fantastic Mowich Lake.  In short order we were in deep, shaded forest, leading first to Ipsut Pass, then to Eunice Lake.  At the lake look up to see the lookout tower high above.  The flowers were gloriously on display, earlier this season because of the unseasonably warm temperatures and low snow pack.

Reaching the lookout tower we arrived to find many many hikers strewn about the base of the tower, soaking in the sun and the stupendous views of the NW quadrant of mighty Mount Ranier.  I left my hiking companions and headed for the actual summit, reached via an up and down traverse of the rotten ridge, leading to a final smallish summit block.  Ample room for compfortable operating is availble just a few feet below the actual summit, on a small bench. 

I started the Activation on 2M FM, intending to deploy my KX3 for some operating on 20M and 40M, which I prefer.  In about 17 minutes, I snagged 7 contacts using only my hand held 2M rig, with a 5/8 telescoping whip.  At this point I headed back to the lookout to have lunch, and discuss further SOTA operating with my non-Ham hiking companions.  Unfortunately, I was informed that the group would rather head back down to Eunice Lake, to take advantage of the warm & sunny weather to take a dip.  Alas, so went the HF Operating.  Oh well, I'll have to return next year for that.

After a nice break at the lake, and a quick and easy hike back to the cars, we had enough afternoonleft to stop for an ice cream consolation and celebration in Enumclaw.