18 DECEMBER 2020 W6/CT-269
The last time I hiked up Verdugo Mountain my brother Mark and I approached the summit from La Tuna Canyon. Brian WA6JFK warned me that cars parked there have been getting broken into, so I decided to try a new route – from Whiting Woods Road in Verdugo City, next to Montrose. This route runs steeply up the east side of the mountain, so it affords a wonderful view of the eastern sky and would take full advantage of the dawn. In the photo above Mount Wilson is on the extreme left, San Jacinto Peak is in the middle and Santago Peak is on the right. Venus shines in the pre-dawn sky over the lights of La Cañada and Flintridge.
I started out at 5:15 AM in the dark, which is fortuitous because parking at the road head is limited to 5AM to 10PM. The hike is 3 miles and climbs 1,700′ to the high point. It is a steep fire road and the climb took me about an hour and twenty minutes. I hike pretty fast and I only stopped briefly to catch my breath a few times. The hike is a nice workout up through some mature chaparral that hasn’t burned in a while. There are a few pine trees along the way but little in the way of shade. Perhaps my only complaint is that the 210 Freeway below is LOUD for a lot of the hike – even before dawn
The top has decent cellular coverage via Verizon and wonderful 2m coverage of a wide range of Southern California. I made 13 2m FM contacts early on a Friday morning without trying too hard. Joe K7KCE in Mission Viejo turned down his radio to >1 Watt and was still a solid 54 into my rollup J-pole. My furthest contact was with K6GAS in Temecula. Brian WA6JFK helped me to find the actual summit. It had been 18 years since I was last up there.