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McKinley Ridge, WA | November 2021

N7KOM's picture
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APRS Coverage: 
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TL;DR: Trailhead for a good "trail" to the AZ: 45.79083, -122.17261

The drive up from the 3977 (W7W/LC-085) trailhead is nothing worse than the road to that point. Arguably, it is a better road because it is steeper and thus mostly free of pooling water and potholes. Still, 4wd and clearance is recommended. 
It was a beautiful day, so I stopped at the Bluff Mountain Trailhead to take some photos of my truck with Mt Hood in the background. From there I drove a little ways along the rutted road and pulled out at a "campsite" 45.78431, -122.16380. From here there is a "road"/trail along the ridge, but I did not take the time to explore it. I've heard that it gets brushy fast. I opted to walk along FR4104.

It is difficult to tell where the best spot to enter the ridge hillside is. I picked a bad one and it was tough work hiking up the open summit. Once in the first band of trees it does not get much better. Rather than pick & fight my way to the summit proper, I was in the AZ and set up in an opening between the tree bands. Maybe in summertime with more daylight it would be worth it to bash all the way to the summit. 

K7ATN got back to my calls and spotted me. There was a lot of 2m action with many five-nine reports via my FT-60r & Longranger. I set up my trapped EFHW along the tree band and got on 20m. Lots of action there with booming signal reports. Great band conditions! Rather than calling CQ again when the calls trickled out, I switched over to 40m to get the "local" ops. Lots of familiar names and more booming signal reports. As I was working my final QSO someone started tuning up and QRMing the frequency. I was able to complete the QSO, but decided that was a good time to packup anyway

On my descent I found a rather nice game trail that quickly took me down to the road. Would've been nice to come up this way. This "Trailhead" is at: 45.79083, -122.17261. I recommend this spot and trail if you'd like to quickly reach the AZ. I don't know if there is a better path to the summit proper. 

The drive out via Sunset Falls campground was slow going with all the potholes. It might be worth exploring L-1100 road, but I'll leave that to someone else for now. 

The drive back into portland offered a beautiful sunset