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Fawn Peak, WA Activation - 10 June, 2014

N7KRN's picture
Cellular Provider: 

When you consider this peak for an early season trek, think "beautiful flowers, peaceful solitude, and great views". Early in June this year the hills are festive with colorful wildflowers. There is no trail, no signage, no parking lot... no hikers! And finally, the view - an unubstructed 360 degree view of green valleys, and snow-capped mountains. If you're comfortable with a little cross-country navigation, I recommend this one.

To start with, read the information I found on the site. It is accurate and extremely useful:

The road in is gravel, with some washboard with a few minor washouts. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. My 4WD was nice, but probably not absolutely necessary. I drove in slowly, but the directions were good and I parked the truck 25 minutes after leaving the pavement. Although there is no lot, there is plenty of room to park.

I managed to leave home without the GPS that day, but was successful using a compass, the map (Green Trails #51), and a few landmarks. It's not far - about 2.5 to 3 miles in, but I strongly suggest using a GPS. The area is generally easy to walk through, but it was rocky, steep at times and hard on the feet. Once you've reached the first knob on the ridgeline, Fawn Peak will be in sight to the North and East most of the time. I made it to the top within 2 1/2 hours, traveling over two other distinctive hills on the way.

The summit is large, with plenty of room for a dipole. The cairn was a perfect support for my telescoping pole. The day was cloudy with sunbreaks. If it had been colder, it would have been simple to move down the gentle slope to get out of the wind. It didn't rain, but a very light snow reminded me that this peak is over 6500 feet. I was warm from the climb, and the temperature was about 50F so I just sat next to the rocks and enjoyed the view. 

I started off on 2M simplex, 146.52. At least I thought it was simplex until a local - N07RF informed me that he heard me better on 446.000. He's set up some cross band in the area on that frequency so pick another one for your VHF work. Mazama and Winthrop are quite close, if anyone's listening. After that, I settled in to a steady stream of 28 contacts on 20 & 40M CW. I was starting to get cold, and 40 was very slow at the end. I was on the air for an hour before shutting down. 

Thanks to you patient chasers! It never ceases to surprise me how much difference there is between operating CW from an armchair here - compared to a stoney throne up there. I know of a couple callsigns I never did get right - sorry. Two activators found me for some S2S work that afternoon too - special thanks to K6EL, and NS7P for their efforts.

The walk out took 1 1/2 hours (with only minor direction-finding anxiety). Driving down to the pavement added 20 minutes travel time. You can expect to be enjoying that bracing expresso or smooth latte in the Mazama Store within 2 hours of leaving Fawn Peak.