Some nice hikes and astronomy in Joshua Tree National Park. Peaks planned were Peak 5352 (W6 SD-044), Peak 5540 (i.e Eureka Peak East, W6 SD-039), Ryan Mountain (W6 CD-016), and Inspiration Peak (W6 SD-037)
At about 0130 on 17 May I headed up to Joshua Tree. In Yucca Valley, La Contenta and Covington Flats Roads to the picnic area at the end while still dark
Headed up well to the left to hit the ridge of Peak 5352, then up the ridge to the summit
Teddy Bear Cholla, also called Jumping Cholla. Sharp needles!
A pleasant peak, headed down and then drove over to the Eureka Peak parking area. Eureka Peak has a trail and is slightly lower than Peak 5540 (Eureka Peak East). The latter is a 15 or 20 minute cross country walk.
Headed back down to the valley
Looking back at the fork: left to Peak 5352, right to Eureka Peak and Peak 5540
In the town of Joshua Tree I bought a sandwich at Subway, then to the park main entrance and into the park
Drove to various campgrounds – Ryan, Jumbo Rocks, and Belle. Was surprised to find that the big campgrounds in the park such as Jumbo Rocks are reservation only now, Belle and Ryan are first come first served. Decided to camp at Ryan, looked best for astronomy and Ryan Mountain is close by. The campgrounds were filling up fast!
Went for a few short walks, slept in the car. Up at 0330 for astronomy, observing star clusters M13 M8 M103 NGC663 M7 M6, M25. M7 was large and visible to the naked eye. M7 is also known as the Ptolemy cluster since that astronomer noted it 2000 years ago
M7, photo from Wikipedia
Then over to the Ryan Mountain trail head for another early morning hike. The trail is well maintained, with frequent steps to control erosion
A very scenic hike, and very popular!
Then drove over to Keys View for the start of the use trail up Inspiration, and up for the SOTA operation
After lunch took the 4 Wheel drive Geology Tour Road
Lela Benchmark, W6 SD-072, activated one time only, by Dan WO6M, now NA6MG. A thousand foot climb
The way back to the main road, beyond the horizon. This road is quite popular, cars were coming by about every half hour this Saturday afternoon
Then back to camp, more astronomy later at 0330. Spent 45 minutes trying to find the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy but I think it was just too faint for me to find. Observed M7 M6 M25 and the nice M11 “Wild Duck Cluster”. Image from Wikipedia. It is one of the smaller clusters in angular size, almost looks like a nebula the stars are so close together
Then an easy early Sunday morning drive home. After the sunshine of the desert the thick cloud cover over Los Angeles was depressing. We often have the May Gray or June Gloom weather conditions!
A couple weeks later, arranged a hike to Mt Williamson (W6 CT-247) with my friends Gary and Rob. 2m FM only since I did not want to bore them with an hour of Morse Code! I spent the night at Buckhorn Day Use Area, slept in the car for astronomy at 0330. Observed M25, M11, and the M31 Andromeda Galaxy and one of its satellite galaxies M32. I had last observed M31 almost 50 years ago so it was good to see it again. A feeling of looking deep in to time since it is over 2 million light years away. In my small telescope I can only see the oval central core, not like all the famous photos
Met up with Gary and Rob at Islip Saddle at 0700
Above the clouds thank goodness!
Mountain Men Gary and Rob
Clouds coming up over Islip Saddle
Rob listening to QSOs
Rob and Gary at the top
Me and Rob
Last year Dan NA6MG and I rode our bikes to Mt Gleason W6 CT-017 this time of year. The Lupines were blooming then, so I wanted to return to take more photos of them
Operated 2m FM, and 20 40 30 CW
Heading down. This was my fifth activation of Gleason and each year nature claims more and more of the road
A nice ride back down to Mill Creek Summit. There, four guys were stranded because their car (a Mini) had run out of gas! I took one of them (Victor) down to Acton where the cell phones worked. I dropped him off at the Acton Market so he could call his friend Mo to bring a gas can or call the Auto Club. After I dropped him off, I drove back to Mill Creek summit and gave some water to the other three. They were all members of the religious sect Moors America, which I had never heard of, but looked it up when I got home. You learn something new every day! It is quite interesting.
73! Hal N6JZT