Saddleback Butte

Vintage photo c. 1963 with the author (about 7 years old) and Phyllis Sterk on the summit of Saddleback Butte shortly after it was made into a state park in 1960

KG6MZS SUMMIT ACTIVATION

13 MARCH 2021 W6/ND-308

I originally planned to try Circle Mountain out of Wrightwood, and, in fact, drove up to Wrightwood at dawn. It had snowed all the way down to Topanga Canyon the day before and the little town of Wrightwood was freshly blanketed with snow. The problem was I could find no place to park anywhere near where Lone Pine Canyon Road was closed in Wrightwood. It seems that the locals are sick and tired of city folk coming up to their town for snow play and clogging the streets of their little town and threatening NO PARKING signs are everywhere.

So rather than risk getting towed by parking in a market parking lot or some such, I opted to try another summit.

I just headed out across the high desert and migrated toward Saddleback Butte. The distinctive saddle shape of this mountain is visible all over the Antelope Valley and I just pointed the Audi at it and drove.

Parking in the campground parking lot ($5 day use fee for seniors, $6 regular), I enjoyed a leisurely 1.9 mile stroll to the summit. The 950 feet of elevation gain and it took me about an hour.

So much of that initial hike long ago came floating back to me as I hiked up the butte and I drifted on pleasant waves of nostalgia. I really am so very fortunate to have been exposed to so many great outdoor adventures as a kid. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Fresh snow on the San Gabriel Mountains. Mt Baden-Powell on the left.

My very first contact was a summit to summit from AC1Z on Blackrock Peak in Georgia! Great way to start the day. I made 13 contacts with many regular chasers. Thank you all. It was a bit breezy and the doublet’s feed line does not suffer contact with metal, carbon fiber or the ground very well. It was a bit of a chore to keep the feed line in free space.

I had the summit to myself for about an hour and then a fairly steady stream of hikers started to appear. This is a moderately-traveled summit – especially on a cool winter Saturday.

Saddleback Butte holds a special place in my heart as it was the first named elevation I ever climbed with my family and our good friends, the Sterks, back in the early ’60’s. They had five kids and my parents had three, so all twelve of us made the summit back then. On my descent I passed a large family party on the way down and informed a 10 year old young lady (soon to be 11!) that I did this mountain when I was only seven years old. She was profoundly unimpressed. 🙂

The Station
Benchmark
Saddleback Butte and the trail as it leaves the campground

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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