Saturday, December 16, 2017

W6/NC-499 Windy Point

I picked an appropriate day to hike up to Windy Point. There were high wind advisories for the North Bay and the East Bay hills. Hiking in I could see why. It was one of the windiest days I've been out in in California.
I drove up the South Gate Road, paid my entrance fee, then parked at Curry Point. There is a small lot here, enough for a dozen or so cars. The trail is initially flat, then drops down into a small col.
Sheltered section of the trail.
After this drop, it is flat or uphill all the way to the summit. The wind was really blowing, and it was nice to get into the sheltered sections out of the wind. I lucked out and managed not to get any dust in my eyes as I was hiking. There are a few junctions, but they are all well signed.
Mt Diablo and North Peak.
The trail I took cuts across some land owned by the Save Mount Diablo conservation group. It contours around a large bowl, the Curry Canyon Ranch. On the other side it comes out of the woods and walks along a ridge in the open for the last mile or so. There were a lot of cows here, and they stared at me as I passed, but didn't bother me. Just before the summit the road re-enters the state park. The true summit is just above the boundary. I dropped my pack at the fence and walked up to tag the high point, then returned to set up. I managed to find a spot that was somewhat sheltered from the wind, and in the sun.
Setup at the park boundary. There was a big, black raptor in the dead tree when I arrived.
I strapped my pole to the fence, and got on the air. I started on 60 meters and worked my way up. I worked all the usual suspects on 60, 40, 30, and 20, including John, ZL1BYZ, who was the last contact on 20. When I moved up to 17, John was the first to call me again. I made a few other contacts, then moved to 15 and spotted myself. Again, ZL1BYZ got into the log. For fun, I tried calling on 12 meters to see if it was open to New Zealand, and it was.
Decent view to the south. It was very clear, and I could see Loma Prieta in a gap between the hills, as well as Sunol Ridge and Wiedemann Hill, and many more.
After all this excitement I took a break to have a snack, then started calling on some VHF bands. I managed only one contact on 70cm and 6 meters each. I then went back to HF to try some voice, but I wasn't able to get a signal to spot myself, so I packed up. I had been worried that I would get cold in the wind, but I was sheltered enough that it wasn't an issue.
The trail crosses the Mt Diablo Meridian, which was used to survey northern California and Nevada back in the day. There is also a baseline that runs through the summit.
The hike back was uneventful. I managed not to get trampled by any cows, or blown away by the wind, so it was a success. This was also the last peak in Contra Costa County that I hadn't activated.

Trailhead: Curry Point, Mt Diablo State Park. On the South Gate Road.
Website: SOTA SiteSave Mt Diablo Site
Maps: AA6XA SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Hike the Knobcone Point Road to the Curry Cave Road to the summit. There also appears to be a route that comes up from Morgan Territory Road.
Red Tape: None. Watch out for bikers on the drive up the hill.
Marsh Benchmark on the left. Livermore was easy to see in the valley.

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