Monday, July 10, 2017

W6/NC-331 Pine Mountain

It was a beautiful day, and was forecasted to be cooler, so I headed up to Marin County to activate a few more SOTA peaks. On the schedule for today was Pine Mountain, Bald Hill, and Tiburon Peninsula. The first trailhead, for Pine Mountain, is at the height of land on Bolinas-Fairfax Road, at the Azalea Trailhead. This is a fairly large lot. The road seems to be popular with bikers, so watch for them on the drive up and back.
Parking lot, looking across the road to the trail.
I crossed the road, and headed up the Pine Mountain Fire Road. The junctions are all well signed, and it was easy to follow the road to the top. The road seemed rougher than other fire roads I've hiked in the Bay Area. The fire road does not go over the summit, but it does enter the activation zone. The summit is covered in knee-high scrub, but there are some thinner areas if you want to get to the high point. The high point is a rock with a metal pole sticking out of it. It took me about an hour to get to the summit.
At the summit.
At the top there is a flat rock, perfect for sitting and operating on. There were no trees nearby, so bring an antenna support. I set up my doublet, and was on the air. There was decent service, so I was able to self-spot band changes. I quickly made seven contacts on 30 meters, then went up and made two on 20. I called on 220 and 440, but didn't get any responses. I was able to get four contacts on 2 meters. It was getting hot, so I packed up and headed back the way I came. There were a lot more people on the trail heading up than an hour earlier. I drank a bunch of water at the car, then headed down to the Bald Hill trailhead.

Trailhead: Azalea Hill Trailhead, Bolinas-Fairfax Road..
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: KB1KXL SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Pine Mountain Fire Road.
Red Tape: None. Watch for mountain bikers.
Mt Tam on the right, Mt Diablo in the center-left distance

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