Five Years After the Station Fire: Mt. Lawlor (W6 CT-089), 5957 ft, 24 May 2014

The US Forest Service finally reopened May 24 the Strawberry Peak area almost 5 years after the Station Fire of August 2009. I had called the USFS office twice to confirm this. The information was also on their web site.  So Strawberry Peak, Mt. Lawlor and Josephine Peak are once again open to the general public.

6AM at Red Box. The trail head is north of the road and a couple of hundred yards east.

Trail ascends gently to the east, then a sharp turn back to the west

If you have an uncontrollable urge you can go steeply up 1000 feet….

I think it is better just to continue on the trail. Strawberry Peak (CT-018) comes into view

Spring flowers

At the saddle turn back sharp east to go up the ridge on the use trail/fire break. It is easy to follow on the ascent

Steep and rugged in places

From far to near: Mt. Lukens (CT-030), Hoyt Mountain (CT-146, Point 4202 (CT-150)

The long Barley Flats ridge to the east. Nike Ajax missiles used to be based there. The control site was on Mt. Disappointment. Nike Ajax did not carry a nuclear warhead.

Handy post for the mast at the top. Mt Wilson, Occidental Peak (CT-098), San Gabriel Peak (CT-019) and Mt Disappointment in the background

No luck finding chasers on 20m or 30m. My 20m RBN spots didn’t make it to the SOTA spot page, I don’t know why. RBN did not pick me up at all on 30m. Maybe the CQ WPX contest was saturating the systems. So I worked contest stations on 20m, including my old friend Mats KQ7W, once LU9AUY/LU9AY

2m was interesting. I worked Frank KK6EHQ, and then Mike N6MKW who had stopped in a turn out on the Angeles Crest Highway to call me. I noticed a high S9 noise level on the HT. Towards the end of the operation I thought to move north below the lip of the ridge to shield me from Mt Wilson and the noise went away! I was able to work Ken KN6CCW and Jeff K6QCB. I guess junk from the TV transmitters was interfering even though they were several miles away. Maybe a filter on the HT would help.

20m CW, all contest stations: VE7WO WG0M JA7ZFN NE5LL KE2VB AD7JP KQ7W N7RO NQ2F NK7U

During the descent, I made a route finding error! At some point I headed down a spur trending left, I guess following a deer trail or something. I finally noticed that I needed to be back on the ridge to the north! I traversed through thick and nasty chaparral to get back there, getting pretty scraped up in the process. This was very annoying! I called my self a dumass when I reached the correct path!

Here is a picture back at the saddle. I went down the spur on the right (which was on the left when heading down). So if you do Mt. Lawlor be more careful than I was!

The trail is very nice and well graded. About half a dozen mountain bikers came by during my hike today. I think they come up from Big Tujunga and then down to Angeles Crest.

Had a Mountain Dew back at the car. The Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center at Red Box. I recommend a visit.

Visitor Center


Stopped in at Clear Creek Ranger Station to get a new Adveture Pass. The ranger there (Angela) said that even though the Strawberry area was now open, some of the trails were still not up to par yet.

Three miles each way, 1300 feet elevation gain. One and three quarters hours up. Took 4 pints of water and drank 2. Temp about 60 degrees, very mild.


Another activation here:

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