Sonoma Trails Challenge: Complete!

Today, Stef and I finished the 2016 Sonoma Regional Parks Trails Challenge by hiking our fifth trail in the Sonoma Regional Parks system. It was a great way to see the parts of Sonoma that one doesn’t go to when wine tasting. 🙂

We started with a camping trip to Stillwater Cove park, which let us hike three different trails along the beautiful Sonoma coast (Stillwater Cove, Bluff Top Trail, and Pinnacle Gulch). Then we did a couple of ham radio summit activations, climbing Hood Mountain and Taylor Mountain. All in all, it was a terrific experience that we hope to repeat next year.

Watch the video to see some of the sights we caught along the way!


W6/NC-379 Taylor Mountain (429m)

Stef and I went to Taylor Mountain Regional Preserve to hike up the namesake mountain for another 1-point activation. This was a 5-mile round trip with 1100 feet of elevation change through cow grazing territory. We took the Eastern Trail up and returned on the Western Trail. This was also the last hike we needed to complete the Sonoma Parks Trails Challenge.

The peak of Taylor Mountain is on private property and fenced off, about 20 feet away from the highest point accessible in the park. I attached my Yagi to a wooden pole by the fence and had an easy 2m-only activation.

Thanks to all the chasers – my SOTA activator score is now 15 and counting!


W6/NC-165 Hood Mountain (833m)

Stef and I went to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (parking in the state park costs $8, which you slide into an envelope and box) on September 3 for another activation: a 7.5-mile round trip hike ending on Hood Mountain (833m, 2pts) along Goodspeed Trail. The hike started easy enough, with about 300m of elevation gain for the first 2.1 miles up to the border with Hood Mountain Regional Park. Nattkemper Bench sits at the border with a beautiful view of the Sonoma valley. It was a good thing that we rested here, because the next 1.3 miles were a surprisingly strenuous series of switchbacks and climbs. Mercifully, this second half of the trail had ample tree cover.

Once we made it to Mount Hood, the end-fed wire went up and I got to work on 20m CW. After 6 quick QSOs, I switched to 2m FM with the Yagi and got a couple more QSOs: a summit-to-summit with KB1KXL on Mount Diablo (W6/CC-045), and another with KO6PS who has chased me for 46% of my activations.

Since there were no views from Mount Hood, we stopped by Gunsight Rock on the way down and were not disappointed!

Here’s a video that shows some of the sights on the hike as well as a QSO with N4MJ. You’ll be able to hear a sample of my poor (but improving) mobile CW skills.

Thanks to all the chasers!