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Iwas back to Victoria for a few days of relaxation with my wife. We plan to come here a few times a year to get some down time from home life. We do quite enjoy our time at the hotel and I also get an opportunity to activate some summits and parks In the area. Today my cousin Jim who lives in Victoria was able to join me for a hike up Mount Finlayson. He picked me up at 11am and we set out for the trailhead. When I climbed Finlayson before, I parked at the main lot on the south-west side of the summit and hiked the short 1.5Km trail up the south side of the hill. It is unfortunately a very steep route and the steepest part is fully exposed to the sun. On this trip I wanted to try the slightly longer route from the north.
Jim said that he had climbed the hill several times years back with his kids and he claimed to have done the north route, so I felt comfortable letting him lead the way. Unfortunately, he went to the south-west lot which is where I was previously. I mentioned the other trailhead but he didn’t know of it. He had always gone up this route. I convinced him to follow the narrow road north through the park and then outside of it until it reaches another part of the park where the road meets the north trailhead. It was a narrow single lane road in places yet homes were scattered along both sides of the road. It was a very rural and isolated area to live. We eventually reached the trailhead where we found a couple of cars parked. Parking was alongside the road and we were able to get parked right next to the trail.
After donning our gear, we started out on the trail. A few meters from the road is a notice board showing the route. Once past the board the trail dips down a few dozen meters crossing a short lower area before it starts a fairly constant climb. The trail is actually quite wide and well-travelled making it almost impossible to lose. There are a few bridges and stairs in places but the trail does follow some water ways that would be a bit tricky to navigate if they were running with water. Today the route was dry the whole way.
About two thirds of the way along we came up to a group which included another ham radio operator. He had done a few summit activations but wasn’t here for radio though he thought he might see how things were. They were taking their time so we passed then and continued to the summit. Once we reached the top it was in full sun and getting very hot. I spotted some shade trees on the north-east side of the summit that would be a good spot to set up in. The view was from the north to the south-east. All the directions I needed. So, we dropped our packs in the shade and after a few moments to catch my breath I started setting up my yagi.
Today I tried tying my two walking poles together to get a bit more height. The stiff ties worked quite well but I still used a tree to secure it. Then it was off to calling, the first three came in very quickly with the first being another summit activator who was just finishing. I got the fourth contact also in short order so SOTA was done but I needed 10 for POTA. So, it was more calling to try and round up six more. It took a bit of time but I eventually got my tenth with one more following almost immediately. I had what I needed and so I packed up the station. Even in the shade it was getting hot. The ham we met on the trail had come by to see my setup while I was operating. He was quite impressed with it, especially the PVC piece I use to attach the yagi to my pole.
Once packed up we walked back across the summit to get back to the trail. We saw the chap again. I asked if he was going to activate. He said that he did set up his antenna but could only hear static from the stations that he heard me working. His little j-pole antenna was not doing it. So, he didn’t bother. He thinks he will get a better antenna. The route back was hotter than coming but being mostly down we made good time and soon reached the car. We were both quite over heated so we continued along the road we were driving from the other part of the park and soon we will on Mill Stream Road looking for the A&W restaurant where we could get a cold root beer. We both enjoyed the cold drink and were quite refreshed from it. We then fought a bit of traffic as we continued back to the hotel.
The north route was definitely easier and cooler than the southern one and I was glad we used it as it was getting quite warm by the time we were done. It was a pleasant hike and the summit views were very nice.