Monday, July 17, 2017


This unnamed peak is one of two SOTA peaks near the Dowdy Ranch entrance of Henry Coe State Park, along with Burra Burra Peak. Kaiser Aetna Road, which leads to the trailhead, is gated and only open weekends in the summer. I arrived at the gate around 8:15, and it was open. The dirt road was well graded and my car had no problem driving to the ranch. I did see a coyote while driving in which was neat. At the visitors center I paid for parking, then set off. It was warmer than I would have preferred, but not too hot yet. Dowdy Ranch is at the same elevation as Peak 1679, so I had to go down about 950 feet, then climb back up. I took the Mack's Corral Trail to the bottom.
The peak, from just below the trailhead.
It took about 20 minutes to get to the dry stream bed at the bottom. Here I left the trail and began bushwhacking up the slope. There is an area of open forest that was easy to follow up to an old ranch road. The road then led up most of the way to the top. About a quarter mile from the top the road turns and goes down hill. Here, cross the old fence and bushwhack through the thick scrub to the top. There are some areas in this last section that look like there might have been a trail here, but overall it was very dense.
One of the denser sections near the summit.
I made it to the top and got set up. There are a few trees at the top and in the activation zone, but I just set up my pole and doublet. There was great cell service, so spotting was not an issue. I got on 30 meters and quickly made eight contacts. 20 and 40 meters were less productive, but I made a few more. I didn't expect much for VHF, but I tried calling anyways. No voice contacts from this peak, CW only. By this time it was getting hot in the shade, so I packed up and headed down the hill.
Antenna setup. Burra Burra Peak on the left. Dowdy Ranch was visible too.
It was a quick hike back to the river and Mack's Corral, but it was very hot for the climb up to the visitors center. I had brought two liters of water with me, and finished them both by the time I got back to the parking lot. I didn't have a thermometer, but it was probably at least 100 degrees. I had to stop a few times on the way up because I was getting so hot. At the top I stopped in the visitors center to cool off and have some lunch. I ended up taking a long lunch and talking with the ranger. Apparently there is an old mining claim on the mountain that can be seen if you know where to look.

Trailhead: Dowdy Ranch, Henry Coe SP.
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: AA6XA SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Mack's Corral Trail to the bottom. Cross the stream and climb through the open forest to the old ranch roads. Follow roads up ridge to barbed wire fence. Cross fence and bushwhack up ridge to summit. Note that the ranch roads are not marked on most maps, but are easily visible on aerial imagery.
Red Tape: None. Dowdy Ranch is only open weekends during the dry season. Check the Henry Coe Website or call to make sure entrance is open.
The poison oak was the greenest thing around.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! You beat me to it! That's the route I was thinking of taking, too. I decided to wait until the weather is cooler to do it. Cheers.