Tuesday, February 14, 2017

W6/NC-338 Brushy Peak

Brushy Peak is a nice little peak in the hills above Livermore, and a very pleasant peak to operate from, and aptly named. From a distance, it is the only peak in the area with trees on top, and it looks like brush is growing at the summit (at least as seen from Maguire Peak, W6/NC-516). There is a large parking lot at the end of Laughlin Road, with a bathroom. This peak is very easy to do as a loop, and I recommend doing it counter-clockwise. The beginning of the trail is in a small canyon, but after a switchback it begins to climb. During the wetter seasons, you may encounter cattle grazing in the park, so be sure to shut gates behind you.
The true peak is on the right.
Eventually you climb up enough to get great views of the peak and of the Livermore valley area. Follow the trail to its high point, which is in the col between the true summit and a lower peak. Turn off the trail towards the true peak and head uphill. You will reach a well-maintained barbed wire fence. Follow this to the high point, and you will be inside the activation zone. The summit is closed because it is a sacred space for Native Americans, and entry requires a guide.
The fence near the high point.
There are many live oaks, or bring a pole and lash it to the fence. There are also many rocks for sitting, so bring a pad. I threw my antenna over a tree and got on HF. I made 10 contacts on 20, 30, and 40 meters. I called on VHF, but didn't get any responses. Self spotting and a directional antenna would have helped in this regard.
The operating position.
The Sierra Nevada mountains were visible across the Central Valley, but didn't come out in the picture.
When you're done, head downhill to the trail and continue to follow the loop around. If you take the right trail at the junction (head uphill a little bit), you will be rewarded with more great views as you head down.
Looking towards Livermore.
Calling CQ.

Trailhead: There is a large parking lot at the end of Laughlin Road. No fees.
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: http://www.ebparks.org/Assets/_Nav_Categories/Parks/Maps/Brushy+Peak+map.pdfKB1KXL SOTA Hikes map
Route: Take the Brushy Peak Loop Trail to the high point, then head uphill to the fence. Follow the fence to its high point. Hike up is exposed, but lots of shade at the top.
Red Tape: The summit is closed, unless you're on a guided tour, because it is a sacred space for the Native Americans. The high point of the fence is inside the activation zone, but requires off-trail travel to reach.

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