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Hiking McKee Peak is not overly difficult. Many do it for exercise on a regular basis. I come here once a year to activate the summit with my radio. In the winter season only the few low summits can be hiked if one insists on avoiding deep snow, so it is a nice break when a sunny day comes along and one can get out and explore those smaller summits.
Our adventure began with Ralph arriving at my place a bit before 9:30am. We loaded up my wife’s electric car and we were off for the nearest Starbucks. As the car is electric, we were able to skip the filling of the vehicle so our next stop was on the slope of the mountain. For this trip we tried another spot to start the hike. The west side of the mountain has housing subdivisions slowly migrating up slope and we were able to park at the end of the highest one. Starting a bit higher up meant we were starting where the cyclists park and enter the many bike trails that are all over the peak.
It was worth the bother to find this location as we shaved off a good bit of trail. Rather than start the hike following an old road, we were immediately on a major bike path. It was a bit rougher and steeper in places than the road but still quite an easy walk. There were only a few cyclists on the trail with us so we had it pretty much to ourselves. We made good time to the main road and then continued up it to the summit. Part way along we came by a chap opening a gate that was across the road. We stopped to chat with him a bit and learned that he was the farmer who owns the fields through which some of the trail passes. He shared some of his frustration with trying to operate a farm where there is a large public interest in access. After commiserating with him for a few minutes we continued up the road and into the open fields. Here we took a brief rest and I gathered a few photos of the western view.
Soon we were at the summit and spreading out our gear. I got my beam antenna up in short order and my new mobile radio was on the air. It worked very nicely, I made 9 contacts in short order. Reception was clear on all of them. Ralph meanwhile was setting up his Buddipole antenna and started calling out in Morse. He had a very rough time of it, making only a single contact. Normally he has many quick contacts in the log and I am left scrambling, but not today. Eventually he asked to use my 2m radio and complete his contacts. I then used the KX2 and his HF antenna and made 3 contacts on sideband phone. Two of the stations were in Hawaii!
So we had succeeded in activating the summit, getting some exercise and fresh air and it was now time to return. The way back down always goes quite quickly and soon we were off the road and onto the bike trails. This time we tried another trail to see how it would work out. I think the one we took on the way up was the better one. Back to the car in 25 minutes of descent and we were ready to head home. In the end we did encounter a few dozen bikes but all were with pleasant riders and none scared us off the trails. A pleasant hike for a warm spring day.