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It was a holiday Monday, a day when both Nick and I are free so we planned for another hike this month. After the challenge of our last hike I opted for an easier one this time. Black Mountain in Cypress Park was the best fit for the day and so we planned for it come Monday.
As the summer has finally been delivering some hot days, we decided to head out early and do the climb before the day got too hot. This meant we had to get up at an early hour – well not for some – and we were loaded and on the road by 8:30am. We were making good time to the coffee shop but as we neared the overpass on 176th just south of Cloverdale I noticed a few support vehicles arriving and parking at the start of the bridge. As I passed them, I spotted a SUV suspended in a tree just past the bridge! Later I learned that there were two in the car and it took until 3:30 to reopen the road, we had made it past just in time!
The rest of the drive went without excitement and we soon were in the parking area of Cypress Bowl. After some freshening up, we started on the trail at 10:45, it was getting hotter in the sun but the shaded areas were still pleasant. The trail is well maintained and quite wide but it is steep in several places and these really slowed Nick down. Fortunately, it being quite a short hike he was able to make reasonable time to the top ridge line. We took a short rest at Cabin Lake amongst the growing number of others who were also enjoying the scene. Then it was on to the north summit. This took only a few more minutes and we were finally at the summit. Nick immediately flaked out for a rest. It was well deserved as he had completed the ascent in about an hour and twenty minutes.
I took a few minutes to catch my breath and eat a few morsels before setting up for SOTA. I also took time to gather a few more photos of the views from the summit. It isn’t as open as the southern summit but the scenes are still quite rewarding. Done resting, I found a spot to anchor my antenna and then I assembled the yagi and put out my first call. I soon had several in the log. Previously I set my distance record on this summit with a Summit-to-summit contact with a chap east of Mt Rainier, 312km distant. I wasn’t expecting to beat that but I thought I could try for a new high in the number of contacts made on an activation. So, I took a bit more time working stations which continued coming in until I had 22 in the log. I took a rest to finish lunch and then called some more but only landed one additional contact. So I had 23 which was a new record for me.
I now have both the longest 2m distance set on Black along with the highest number of contacts, it is a good mountain for me. Not sure what to aim for next but perhaps trying for it on Black would be wise, mind you Sumas Peak has my longest distance HF contact at 8600km. I was done with contacts and Nick was now rested and restless. So, after quickly packing up the gear I asked if he wanted to visit the south summit for the view but he wasn’t interested. We set out for Cabin Lake, by now the crowds were forming and many were swimming in the lake, so we quickly started down the main trail to the car. This went very quickly as Nick had taken an energy and amino acid packet and was anxious to get moving. We were actually passing others on the descent! Our return time was around 45 minutes!
Once in the car with the A/C running we were finally able to get a good rest and reflect on the hike. It was a success and Nick is interested in planning for the next one. Shortly after leaving the parking area we were passed by an ambulance and three support vehicles making their way up. I guess someone was having difficulty in the heat. I had the map guidance on for the return and as we got to Cloverdale I noticed that it was directing me off of 176th which seemed very odd. But as I got to Hwy 10, I saw that 176th was closed due to that accident we passed earlier! It was still being worked on and the map software was taking the closure into its planning, that was impressive. So after the short detour we arrived home at 2:30 having had a nice morning of hiking and now we had the afternoon at home to enjoy the heat.