Fitting to find Old Glory on the summit of Mount San Antonio on the Fourth of July Weekend. Photo by Greg Jones
My old climbing buddy, Greg Jones wanted to do a conditioning hike in preparation for the John Muir Trail starting the following week. He suggested doing “Baldy” via the Sierra Club Ski Hut trail – a route on this mountain I’d never done. My first trip up Mount San Antonio was on October 17, 1978 – 43 years ago! That trip was with my old friends Allan Gardner and Jon Bucci. I returned some years later and did it with my faithful mountain dog, Chauncy Gardener. Both those excursions were via the Backbone Trail.
We met at Greg’s house at 5AM and were at the roadhead and ready to go at 6:30AM. This hike is short – only 4 miles – but unremittingly uphill. This trail gains almost 4,000′ of elevation from Manker Flat. We did it in 4 hours moving at a fairly consistent pace. This is a heavily trafficked trail and we encountered a lot of people going up and on the summit on this holiday weekend Saturday.
I decided to cut the pack weight down for this trip and the usual 25-30 pound pack was reduced to 18 pounds. I only brought the Kenwood TH-F6A and the roll-up Slim Jim for this trip.
2 meter coverage from the highest of the San Gabriel Mountains is spectacular. I made clear contacts from San Diego to Tehachapi during two short sessions. These contacts included two summit-to-summit contacts and a whole slew of regular chasers. I shared 146.580 with a very courteous POTA operator at Cabrillo Park on Point Loma in San Diego. W4ID/6 Tom was very cool about returning the “SOTA frequency” to me after a short stint in which he collected his requisite 10 contacts. I was even able to offer a park-to-park from the Angeles National Forest.
I also received encouragement from Mike KI6SLA who has done the John Muir Trail twice!