ViewVoting details

Activation of "The Twins", Deschutes Co., Oregon 10.5.2013

ND7PA's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 

"The Twins" is a nice activation target just north of Hwy 58, east of Oakridge, Oregon. We took off 10/4 from the Willamette valley in dense fog and headed towards the Cascades to find the fog clearing by the time we reached Oakridge.  The big soaking rains from the Chinese typhoon blown our way had no doubt left some snow so I checked several SNOTEL sites and found that very little snow had fallen and none was currently recorded at any of the sites I checked. Apparently, "The Twins" never bothered to check with the SNOTEL sites.

Take road 5897 off of Hwy 58 shortly after passing Salt Creek Falls turnoff. The trailhead for trail #3595 is not well marked from road 5897. There is only a small sign that says "The Twins trail". There is a small parking area there.  Didn't see a entry form to fill out but displayed my Forest Pass anyway.  There were only two other rigs there.

We were surprised to find about 3 inches of snow at the parking lot. We were not equipped for snow travel and hoped for the best that once out of the trees it might thin out. So much for that thought.  The trail was well graded with the typical blue diamonds for cross country skiing.  Good thing, as in many areas the trail was impossible to follow due to the snow. We would walk to a diamond marked tree and not proceed until seeing the next one. This technique worked well.

As one would expect, the snow got deeper as we went.  After crossing the PCT, the trail gets a bit steeper but is not ever very steep.  The snow gradually got deeper with some places 12-16 inches.  However, with GoreTex and wool on our feet we were able to stay reasonably warm and dry despite no gaiters and bluejeans.  Well,...we got a little wet, but only the bottom of our pants.

When we busted out of the trees near the lesser Twin, the wind really picked up.  We saw the bigger Twin and I seriously doubted being able to summit and operate within our time limits.  It had taken us over 3 hours to get to the ridge between the two twins.  With essentially only glorified tennis shoes on, making time in the snow was difficult.

We dropped over the edge of the ridge to shelter from the wind. I set a turnaround time of 2pm for us.  We decided to traverse towards the bigger peak and see if the wind dropped there.  If time permitted, I would go to the summit while Jane waited for me. She had decided the fun factor of the equation was going to go to zero if she had to make the summit.  It looked steep and very snowy.

We traversed towards the bigger Twin and the wind did drop. Jane made a "nest" in the snow, and broke out the smoked oysters, cheese and a good book.  She had a nice sheltered place in the sun where she would enjoy my craziness from the comfort of her CrazyCreek chair.  I took off for the bigger Twin.

It only took me about 15 minutes to attain the summit. It got pretty icy and the snow in places went to my knees but only for short distances.  The wind was pretty stiff up there.  I had all my clothes on and knew that I probably only had about 15 minutes to operate.  Up went the EFHW and put the Sierra on my pack.  In 15 minutes, had worked 13 stations.  God bless you awesome chasers.  SOTA dog Cooper, was trying to make a place in the snow to get out of the wind but eventually just came to me and snuggled up against my legs.  He told me in no uncertain terms, it was time to QRT. Eight minutes later, we are on our way down.

I had noticed that I did not get a good dip in my improved tuner to the EFHW.  It was not till I got home that I saw why.  In my haste, I did not wrap the EFHW around the pole as usual.  The wind on the summit had blown the wire over to a adjacent tree and was loosely attached to a limb.  I found out only because of one of my pictures clearly showed the situation.

Cooper and I dropped down off the big Twin to a late lunch in Jane's nest. It was good to get out of the wind.  We had a much more relaxed time getting down from there. The sun was shining through the trees and the light off the snow was very beautiful. What a great way to spend a Friday.  Beats the best day at work.

Starting out on trail 3595
Bigger Twin from the Smaller, almost turned back here
The Three Sisters and Bachelor from Summit
View of Waldo Lake from the hamshack
EFHW wire was tangled in a tree, never knew till at home
Heading home, great Friday