On 14 March Peyton and I decided late that we were going to head to Pinnacles National Park and do some hiking / SOTA. We arrived at the camping area at Pinnacles about 2330 to find that all of the campsites had been taken. This was not that big of a deal as we were probably just going to throw the sleeping bags in the back of the truck anyway. We parked in the overflow parking area and threw the sleeping bags out and went to sleep. At about 0600 we woke up to frost covered sleeping bags. We tossed them inside the truck and took off, following two other vehicles to the trailhead. There is space for about 12 cars at the TH. Get there early or you will not get one! We ate some breakfast, Cliff bars, and headed up the trail as soon as it was light enough to see it. About 1 mile in I encountered the caves. I knew there was caves but did not realize that our route would take them right through them. They were amazing! We continued on up the trail to the summit. The day was great at about 80 degrees and my only worry was sunburn. We had originally planned to do South Peak also but SOTA always depends on the energy of my trusty companion Peyton. When Peyton is not to motivated to keep going then it is time to head down. He was really excited to get back and explore the caves. If you have never been to PInnacles and have the chance. Do it! The caves are amazing, if they are open. I overheard a Ranger saying that most of the caves are only open in March and again in October depending on the migration pattern of the Bats. We got LUCKY and were there at the right time.
Good analog signal. Was receiving and sending SOTA goat spots but I would not depend on it.
Radio working conditions:
At wake up about 32 degrees but quickly warmed up to about 80. Cave temperature at a solid 45 degrees. Felt good after the long hike.
$5 for park entree. $21 for camping
PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo - http://www.qrpkits.com/pfr3.html
Elecraft T1 Tuner - http://www.elecraft.com/T1/T1.htm - I was trying this new toy out today. Worked amazing!
AME Porta Paddle II - http://www.americanmorse.com/portapaddle.htm
I had 20 Contacts on 3 bands with the PFR3. For more pictures and downloadable gpx tracks see my everytrail post.