SOTA and camping trip to the Mojave National Preserve, a place I had never been before. Dan NA6MG and I had planned to go there and meet up at the Mid Hills Campground later in the day. He planned to start on Kokoweef Peak (W6 SD-016) and I would start on Teutonia Peak.
I started the drive just before 0200. A pretty fast drive of about three and a half hours to the Shell station on I15 and Kelbaker Road where I refueled, and bought a muffin and coffee. Then a nice drive down Kelbaker, avoiding the rabbits that hopped out in front of me. Reached the trailhead parking place at about 0600. It was cold, just below freezing so I put on my wool long johns under my hiking pants. It was pretty light, but waited until 0700 to start the hike so it would be a little warmer at the summit.
The Teutonia trail is very popular, it is well graded and runs through a scenic Joshua Tree forest
You are east of the peak, the trail then leads up to the right and over to the west side and up to the crags that make up the summit. The crags and the terrace below them all all in the 25m activation zone, according to the digitized topo map
The trail ends on the west side, then scramble easily up to the crags and then down to the nice terrace back on the east side
Juniper and small Joshua Trees on the terrace
A nice activation, including summit to summit with Dan on Kokoweef
|15:00z||NA6MG||144MHz||FM||S2s on kokweef pk|
As I was finishing up, a nice Israeli couple arrived, chatted with them, they had ice on their tent this morning and would be heading to Death Valley.
The trail down
My next objective was Kessler Peak (W6 SD-014)
Arrived back at the road trailhead, then drove a little ways south and then north on Kessler Peak Road where I parked at a big rock formation, quite popular I guess since there was a big area to park the car at. I then headed through a maze of cactus and shrubs for half an hour, then turned around…I was not having any fun…and the climb looked unpleasant
So turned around and headed back to the big boulders and car…
Worked Dan on 2m FM, he was on Peak 5921 W6 SD-440, Slingshot Peak. I then went for a drive up Kessler Peak Road, seeing how the Subaru Outback performed..it was OK even on some pretty deep ruts but I should probably take a 4WD driving class or watch some videos to learn more to give me more confidence.
Back at the boulder parking spot
Then back to Kelbaker Road, met up with Dan and had lunch at the Mojave Cross, originally a war memorial for those who died in the Great War (WW1)
Dan headed for Teutonia, so I hung out for about an hour till I worked him on 2m FM. Turns out I was his only contact from there, later found his APRS spots did not get out and RBN did not spot him
Then drove south and west to the nice Mid Hills Campgound. Chose a camp site surrounded by low Pinyon Pine trees. There is a SOTA peak that is an easy walk from the camp site: Peak 5875 W6SD-022, a walk of maybe half a mile and 200 feet elevation gain
Nice views from the top. The campground is among the trees.
Set up and worked a couple of non-SOTA stations before my alert time of 2330z, and Dan on 2m who arrived at the campground. The band was very quiet. Only worked W9MRH of the regular chasers, though KG3W and I think K3TCU called me but could not complete QSOs with these two. Earlier in the day here is much better for SOTA!
New York Mountains W6 SD-001 in the distance, and Pinto Mountain W6 SD-015 protected by some low cliffs in the right middle distance
Table Top Mountain W6 SD-012
Then down and met up with Dan back at the camp site. Had dinner and set up our telescopes as it got dark. Observed Venus, and the M38 and M41 star clusters, the latter appearing much brighter than I had seen it from my light-polluted home location
Dan slept in his truck, I slept in the back of the Subaru which was fairly comfortable since the temperature was only 45F/8C when I got up at 0345 instead of below freezing like the night before. Set up the telescope and observed the spectacular milky way, and then the M8 Lagoon Nebula which I had never seen before, a bright nebula also containing the open cluster NGC 6530 which appeared round in shape.
The Original uploader was Rbruels at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1746380
Of course, by eye through the scope I could see no color, and saw the bright nebulosity on the left and star cluster on the right.
Around 0630 Dan left to activate Peak 5875. It was very windy. When he came back we decided to pack it in due to the wind and the poor weather forecast for the night, we did not really want to spend the night there in crummy weather. Dan stopped to do an activation of Kelso Dunes (W6 CD-019) on the way home
73! Hal N6JZT