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I had wanted to do Maguire for a couple years now, originally I was hoping to be the first to activate it but weather intervened on my first attempt and I had to cancel. By my next time in Victoria the summit had been activated so I skipped it for a few visits doing a few closer to Victoria but its time finally came. After reviewing the maps to find the closest place to park I selected a point on the end of Copper Mine Road. The park map showed an access but another SOTA hiker had reported that there was no access from there. So it was with a bit of uncertainty that I set out for the place I had planned. After a pleasant drive from Victoria I approached the end of Copper Mine Road a reached the fork with Valentine Road and sure enough there was a big sign posted saying no access. But it looked to be more on the Valentine side of the fork so I went the other way and quickly arrived at another fork, this time I went right and after a few hundred meters the road led right past a sign marking the park boundary. I continued into the park and found a nice wide area ready to hold several cars.
The trail was before me and I set out for the summit. The initial stretch of trail was the continuation of the road so it was broad and easy to walk. The next section was not a wide but well maintained and I made quick time to the final trail up the flank of Maguire. The sign posted at the start of this section said the summit was 400m further and according to the gps I still needed 80m elevation gain, so I knew it would have some steep sections. It did have a few but nothing difficult and soon I reached the summit area.
At the summit I started scouting for a place to operate from and noticed a chap off to the side. I mentioned that I hadn’t expected anyone up here and he briefly replied much to the same. I looked over a few spots and selected one a bit to the east of the summit with nothing blocking the way eastward. Here I set up my 2m yagi and started calling, nothing. After many minutes of silence I tried the Victoria repeater and that came in and I talked to two chaps the second of which was willing to give me a call on simplex in a few minutes. Unfortunately I never did hear him. Feeling a bit frustrated I decided to set up my 20m antenna and try 20 phone. I could hear a few stations so I started calling a bit.
After a while with no results I decided to post my activation in the SOTAWatch site. Being on my iPhone entering the details was a bit tricky and I had to restart twice before the entry got entered and then when I reviewed it, I noticed that the call sign had been changed by the auto corrector. Annoyed, but it had the other details so I just left it and made some more calls, now I got some action and soon had 4 contacts in the log. I tried a few more 2m calls but that was still dead. I had been here a while so it was about time to pack up. The next thing I noticed was the chap I had seen on the summit earlier coming my way, I supposed to find out what I was doing. He introduced himself as VE7EA! Not only was his the call sign I thought my phone had autocorrected but he had just completed his SOTA activation! Fortunately he was doing CW so we didn’t interfere with each other. It was a pleasant surprise to be way out here near Sooke in the middle of the week and find two people activating the same summit! So I took a few minutes to chat with Larry and we had a good laugh over the situation. At least now a few more activators had met each other and encouraged the other in the fun of SOTA. Larry continued on his way and I started to pack up my gear.
On the way back I stopped by the view point near the summit. It was a lovely view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The water was actually fogged over and looking down on it was like looking at the clouds. It was really quite beautiful. The provided bench was perfect place to enjoy the beauty. I started down the slope and met a pair coming up. Then on the lower trail I met a few more groups doing the loop trails. Soon I was back to the car and ready to rest and drive back to the hotel. It was a good hike and activation and the scenery was quite amazing. This whole region really is incredibly full of wonder and sights to enjoy.