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Mount Pilchuck Activation

N7KRN's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

This not-so-epic activation took place Saturday, on probably the busiest peak in the area. The constant flow of hikers up and down the trail didn't slow down until early evening. Be prepared for lots of company on this one. 


From Granite Falls follow the Mountain Loop Highway east. One mile beyond the Verlot Public Service Center, turn right onto graveled Forest Road 42 immediately after crossing the "Blue Bridge." There is currently a construction project underway on the bridge with one-way traffic controlled by a light. Drive 7 miles to the trailhead at the road end with plenty of parking available (elev. 3100 ft). The privy there is rather overused.


The trail is in good conditon, and moderately difficult when it gets steep. The only water readily available is a stream soon after the trail begins. The last 100' of the ascent is a boulder clamber. We took a leisurely 2.5 hours going up the 2.7 miles, mistakenly thinking everyone would come down in the early afternoon and leave us alone. Not so. There were probably 30 folks and their dogs at the top when we arrived at the lookout with a steady replenishment flowing in. Having left behind the overcast below and ascended into beautiful blue skies and awsome view to be had on this mountain, we were still happy to be there.


There were too many friendly hikers to comfortably operate from the structure, so we moved out onto the rocks to set up the 20M diple out of the way. I wasn't very happy with what I ended up with, the ends of the wire dropped down too far behind the boulders. But hearing plenty of activity on the band I decided to leave it alone and just get on the air. It was slow work. Tried the HT first and nobody came back (I was down in the shade of a boulder anyway). Then nobody answered my CQ's for the longest time, and I considered changing the antenna. I finally found a couple stations that heard me return their calls - and it was a very pleasant surprise too! Ended up working both New Hampshire, and Hawaii from that little crevice. Bagged one contact with the HT and another one on 20M from California, and called it a day.


In retrospect, in order to get a few more contacts, I should have posted an alert. I hadn't done it because I felt guilty after not making it to the peak I'd posted for on the previous day. I suppose that doesn't really make sense... I should have posted it anyway because this trip was a sure thing.