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Jove Peak Activation - Sept 16 2014

N7KRN's picture
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 This could be the second of two 6-point peaks in the same day when you combine this with an activation of Union Peak (SN-082) - you'll want to cross Union on the way to Jove anyway! These peaks are located in the Mt Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest just east of Steven’s Pass off of Hwy 2. Access is via a Forest Service Road #6700 (Smithbrook) which is rough, but ok for passenger vehicles. Parking is off of a spur road, so a NW Forest Pass isn’t needed here. An accurate and useful guide with driving instructions can be found here:

I arrived at the spur road where the track begins and got walking around 8 AM threading my way through the trees, debris, and low-lying brush. The navigation was simple - following the ridgeline up and over the hills and across the narrow gaps between them. The going was steep and slower when this little-used trail faded away from time to time. It took me two hours to reach Union Peak – twice as long as that leather-lunged, spring-loaded, alpine peak bagging scrambler who wrote the SummitPost guide said it would.

 The top of Union Peak is sparingly forested with plenty of antenna room for my linked dipole. I tied the telescoping pole to a small tree and didn’t need guy lines. Found a shady spot and operated in comfort for about 40 minutes making eight 40M contacts and 17 more on 20M. Even with my slow approach, I was only 20-minutes later than my activation alert posting and was able to continue towards Jove Peak right on schedule.

 It took another 2 hours to reach Jove. This was also a longer hike than what I had originally thought was a generous 1.5 hour travel allowance. It was the steep slopes, minor route finding, and hot sun that took their toll on my speed. Oh well, I was once again only 20 minutes later than my alert posted the night before. I’ve done worse.

 Jove Peak s an exceptional viewpoint with very few trees to obstruct. The top is long and fairly level in one direction. There is a lot of low vegetation grows in the shallow topsoil. The huckleberry bushes upholster one whole slope of the mountain with their wiry branches and deep red leaves this time of year. They probably accounted for the one visitor I saw all day – a lone bear who was about 500 yards downhill from me as I reached the top.

Keeping a watchful eye on the bear, I once again attached my pole to a convenient scrubby pine and sat down for lunch and some radio fun. I was able to reach my home-town repeater on Camano Island with the HT, and had a nice chat with XYL - KG7JEH before strapping on the paddle. Traffic from here was light, and I ended up with only 10 QSO’s before packing up and heading back. It took 3 hours (and two ibuprofen) to reach the truck, dry socks, and comfortable shoes. In retrospect… what a great day!