On a Dark Desert Highway – Peak 3996 (W6 SD-463)

I have enjoyed the previous summer desert activations, so I thought I would hike Peak 3996, W6 SD-463, I guess you could call it Shadow Mountains South Highpoint, since it is several miles south and west of Shadow Mountains Highpoint (W6 ND-270). Peak 3996 has been activated once before, by Dan NA6MG.

Left the house around three. Finally got to the less-travelled desert roads which I enjoy.  Like the Shadow Mountains Road which becomes well graded dirt after leaving the pavement at the LA County/San Bernardino County border.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…


The day dawns


There are about a half dozen rough dirt roads leading off to the south towards the peak. Coming in from the west, I turned in at the first one, 34.72394 -117.57397. I could leave just enough room for another vehicle to pass on this narrower dirt road, but after a while I walked down the road, made sure the surface was OK (hard dirt, not sand) and then drove down 100 yards and parked off the road. I did not think this was really necessary, since there were so many other access points further east along Shadow Mountains Road.

Had coffee, then headed just west of south, then south at the Joshua Tree “pasture”


The idea was to head south and up to the saddle between the two peaks. The higher Peak 3996 is the south (left) peak

After a little while picked up a rough road, then left it to hike up and around the shoulder, crossed the dry water course, then up to the saddle



Went in between the dark rocks and the rocky summit ridge, then up the easy ridge on the left, not the steeper right ridge


Nice views to the north


Was able to set up in the shade, with a nice flat rock for the transceiver

Looking south with El Mirage dry lake on the right


Started on 20m, was spotted pretty quickly

14:36z W0MNA 14MHz CW
14:38z W0ERI 14MHz CW
14:38z NG6R 14MHz CW
14:39z K6MW 14MHz CW
14:41z N4EX 14MHz CW
14:46z W5BOS 14MHz CW
14:47z VE2JCW 14MHz CW
14:48z K7VK 14MHz CW
14:49z AD5A 14MHz CW
14:50z WD4CFN 14MHz CW
14:52z K3TCU 14MHz CW
14:56z K5EDM 10MHz CW
15:02z N9KW 10MHz CW
15:04z KE5YUM 10MHz CW
15:06z NS7P 10MHz CW
15:08z WW7D 10MHz CW
15:15z KB7HH 7MHz CW

Then the hike down, felt hot in the sun when I reached the “pasture” again, though the temperature when I got back to the Jeep was only 70F/21C.


Drove the Jeep the 100 yards back to the main road, then sent an “All OK” check in message to my wife on the SPOT device. Had some more water…I took 4 pints and drank two on the hike. The hike was just over 50 minutes up, about 45 minutes down.

Then a nice drive back, along Shadow Mountains Road


Stopped at Blum Ranch and picked up some peaches and corn on the cob. The place is for sale, one of the grand daughters and her husband are trying to raise enough money to buy it. They irrigated the trees this season so there are peaches and will be pears, but they did not use any pesticides.

73! Hal N6JZT




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