Tuesday, February 7, 2017

W6/NC-150 Black Mountain

Black Mountain is a prominent peak along the peninsula. There are many trails on the mountain, many of them open to bikers, and a backpack camp near the summit. There are also a plethora of options to choose from when deciding on a route to the top. The summit is open, with a few stands of trees near the top. On a nice day there are excellent views of the bay area from the summit. This trip, however, was very wet.
It was overcast as I left the parking lot and headed downhill on the Skid Road trail. All of the recent rains had turned the trail into a sea of mud.
So much mud.
I got down without slipping, and crossed the numerous, very full streams at the bottom of the canyon. One section of the trail looked like there had been a small slide, but it was not big enough to block the trail.
The streams were all full.

As I hiked up the other side, the wind and rain picked up, especially when I got to the backpackers camp. It was chilly, and it reminded me of hiking above tree line in New England. My original plan was to do a HF & VHF activation, but with the wind and rain I decided to do a quick VHF only activation. Near the towers on top I found some trees on the lee side that offered some much-appreciated shelter.
Some sheltering trees. The towers are behind me.
I made six contacts, five on 2m and one on 70cm in about 20 minutes. There is a fair bit of interference from the towers. It was intermittent on 2 and 70, but constant on 1.25m, so no contacts there. As I headed down, the rain started for real, and did not let up until I drove down to the valley.
A very wet hiker.
I saw some deer while I was hiking here as well, but my camera did not cooperate, so no pictures. When I activated last September, I enjoyed clear blue skies, and had a much better time at the summit.
The summit, September 2016.

Trailhead: I started from Skyline Ridge Parking. Also trailheads on Page Mill Road, at Rancho San Antonio, and other places.
Website: Sota Site
Maps: http://www.openspace.org/sites/default/files/map_MB.pdfKB1KXL SOTA Hikes map
Route: I took Skid Road Trail to Canyon Trail to Indian Creek Trail to Montebello Road. There are many other options in the area. For an easier hike, start on Page Mill Road. For a harder hike, start at Rancho San Antonio, or another trailhead at the base of the mountain. Also lots of options for mountain bikers.
Red Tape: None

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