Monday, June 19, 2017


The forecast was for a very hot weekend (the forecast was right), so I picked a SOTA mountain with shade to operate from and hike in. This unnamed peak on EBMUD land was a pleasant choice. I parked at Rancho Laguna Park, near the end of Camino Pablo.
Start of the trek.
Cross the field, on the right side, and go through the gate to the EBMUD land. A permit is needed, and there is a sign in sheet at the gate. Climb up the hill, and turn right. Follow the Kings Canyon Loop Trail to the end, going through two gates. The trail is reasonably well signed with small arrows on wood posts, like in the picture below.
On the way. Trail is on the right.
Follow the signs and make a U-turn through a shady field to the dirt road, and go through the gate on the other side. Follow the trail to the right. There was a big washout to the left when I was there. The trail is flat until it crosses a small seasonal stream. Here it begins to climb. At the top of the spur it turns sharply left and joins a fire road. This is the area where I saw some coyotes when I activated last December. Continue up to the junction and take the left branch that goes uphill. I could tell that no one had been up this way an a while because there were some very large spider webs across the trail. After walking face first into the first one, I was much more careful to knock them down before passing.
Looking back to Rocky Ridge (NC-268)
At the top turn left and follow the road up to the high point. There is a worn use path that leads to a USGS Marker. There are lots of trees and shade at the top. There are four metal posts surrounding the survey marker, one of which I used to support my pole.
Antenna up among the trees.
HF setup is QRV.
I got setup, and got on the 30 meter band. There were a lot of flies flying around my head, but they didn't do anything else, so I ignored them. I quickly got 6 contacts, including two summit to summit contacts. The second was difficult, as he was in the noise, and there were some other chasers that started calling over him. I then went up to 20, and had a nice conversation with W7GA who answered my CQ. After finishing my QSO with him I worked two more chasers on 20. I got one contact on 40. I still had some time before I needed to head down, so I got out the HT for some VHF. Calling on 2 meters and 70 cm did not get any results, but after a few calls on 223.5 I got a reply. I was surprised that the popular bands didn't get any responses.
Marker at the summit.
I packed up and headed down in the heat. It felt a lot hotter now than an hour ago when I was heading up. I drank over a liter of water, quite a bit for a hike only 1.5 miles long. It was a quick hike back to the car for the drive home. Overall, this is a nice little summits on the air peak.

Trailhead: Rancho Laguna Park
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: Map from EBMUD.  KB1KXL SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Take Kings Canyon Loop Trail and fire road.
Red Tape: Permit required. I bought a 12 month permit.

Panorama on the way down, looking generally East.


  1. Hey Jeff! That's my VW on the right, in the first photo! I guess I did Rocky Ridge around the same time you did this one. Cheers. Rex KE6MT

  2. Rex,
    When did you get to the top? I don't remember seeing any spots for nearby peaks when I was on my summit.
    You certainly picked a hot day to take the long route to the top.

    1. I got to the top a little bit before 9am. Only operated SSB, for about 20-30 minutes. It sure was hot on the way down!