The big sky country looking northeast off the summit of 4,020′
31 DECEMBER 2021 / 1 JANUARY 2022 W6/CT-158
It was Scott WA9STI that first alerted me to the “Zulu New Year” phenomenon last year. This is one of those great SOTA events when there is a lot of summit-to-summit activity and this year’s event was no exception. Unlike last year’s drought, this year the New Year came one day after a huge rainstorm blew through the Southland. My Davis Instruments Vantage Pro registered 5.64″ of rain in one 24 hour period so I expected any activation was going to be muddy with mountain roads a little sloppy.
I had no idea if the Santa Clara Truck Trail up to Contractors Point and Fire Camp 9 was going to be open as the Angeles National Forest ranger stations didn’t seem to be picking up the phone on New Year’s Eve Day.
I drove up Placerita Canyon to Sand Canyon Road and everything seemed to be freshly plowed of mud and rock. The gate was open and the truck trail was all clear. David N6AN had warned me that the gate closes at 6pm and care must be taken on Zulu New Year to get back to Bear Divide by that time to avoid being locked in overnight.
I got to this near drive-up about 22:00 and parked a few hundred feet from the site where I set up. There were big fluffy cumulus clouds flirting with the summit and the surrounding countryside was dappled with the cloud’s shadows. It was a gloriously fresh and clear day after the rain.
As I expected the activation was a delightful chaos of rapid-fire logging with cold hands. This event is really a lot of fun and I managed 18 summit-to-summit contacts. I tried to fit in as many chasers as I could but I did need to give myself plenty of time to retreat to that gate at Bear Divide by 6pm. Besides, siting for almost three hours I got pretty cold in the fresh wind blowing out of the southwest. Thank you all activators and chasers!