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This would be my second visit to the summit of Jocelyn Hill. The previous time my cousin who lives in the area joined me as he had never hiked the route himself. This trip he came along again just to enjoy the amazing sites one can find along the route. I picked Jim up at 11:30 and we drove to a local store to get some sandwiches for lunch on the summit. Then we drove the 30 minute route to the trailhead. Though there are a number of tail access points the one we use is the shortest one to the summit. Even so the route is over 5km return.
We arrived at the trailhead to find a number of vehicles parked alongside the road fortunately there was an open spot quite close to the trail which we were able to slide into. Once parked I donned my hiking boots and backpack, it was a bit heavier than last time. For this trip I swapped the vhf gear I normally pack to summits with my HF radio that I cart to parks. Since this was going to be a double activation – SOTA and POTA, I decided to go HF to ensure I got enough contacts.
The first part of the trail is a bit steep as it rapidly tries to gain some ground so it can join the main trail traveling along the bluff. Soon we reached the main trail and after some further elevation gain we reached the bluff edge where the views could be had. The rest of the route was along the bluff with its many small rises and dips. It is a bit slower going on this portion of the hike due to the rocks one must maneuver around or over. The first views were just as spectacular as they were last trip. I started gathering some photos but discovered that my GPS unit on the camera wasn’t working. Though annoying, it wouldn’t be too serious a problem.
When we finally reached the main viewpoint which is just below the summit. We met a couple walking the reverse direction, the chap knew a lot of the people Jim knew and they stopped to chat awhile about their common interest of Rugby. After a few minutes I continued on to the summit Jim to follow a bit later. At the summit I scanned the area and selected a small tree which I could use to support my mast for the antenna wire. Getting it set up was a bit slower than using the tripod on flat ground but I soon had the mast up and the wire stretched out and tied to two trees. Setting up the actual radio went much as always and I was now ready to try for some contacts
My operating would be a bit different today as Jim was sitting beside me eating his lunch, Though I had my headphones I wanted to try operating without them so that Jim could listen in on the responses. I also narrated the process as I went along. First up was scanning the bands for other parks, I started on 10m but heard nothing, then 12m was empty, on 15m there was a park activator in Kansas that I could hear so I tried calling. On my second try he heard me in the background but not well enough to work out my callsign. I upped my power output a bit to its max and tried some more, this time he was able to hear me and we both got a park to park in our logs. As I was already on 15m where I hoped to work, I just stayed there and moved up the band to a clear frequency and started calling. This trip I posted myself on both the sota and pota spot lists.
It was actually slow going today but I did manage 11 contacts on HF over a 30 minute period. Hunters came from Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and California. I even worked a local station up in Duncan. So, the signal though bit weak and variable, was making it out and doing well. It just seems like the operators were not out there. Done with HF I took out my handheld and attached my half wave whip and put out a 2m call I immediately had a response from a regular station in Sequim Washington and then another chap in Vancouver. So that added two more contacts to the log giving me 13, better than some trips but lately I have been doing a lot more. Next was to pack up the gear and start the trek back to the car. It was a lovely walk back and the light was different enough to give quite a different look to the water, so I was stopping to gather photos again. Walking back is a bit easier for me being mostly downhill. We still made good time despite the stops. For the the drive back to Jim’s home, the navcom gave a route quite different for the return as it was avoiding the backups on the highway. It was 32 minutes going out and 43 returning! Once Jim was delivered the final drive went quickly and then I was able to put my sore feet up for a rest! That first long hike of a season really does take much longer to recover from.