Monday, March 26, 2007

What a SOTA Adventure!

What was supposed to be a 6 mile roundtrip hike up South Beacon Mtn near Newberg, NY and overlooking the Hudson River, turned into a 12 mile hike! The goal was to activate this site for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. ( see http://www.sota.org.uk/ for more information)

I started out around 1 pm, a little late, but given the estimated 2.8 miles into the site, I thought I could make it in time for at least 3 hours of operating. But.....the trail started on the northside of a hill, shadowed from any warming sun. Within a 1/4 mile I had a foot of slushy snow, slipping and slideing with every step. There's got to be a better trail I thought.....which I found after I backtracked but the new trail added a lot more to my trek.... like another 6 miles I figured out later.


I made it to the abandoned Fire Tower atop South Beacon Mtn at 1600' ASL. The view was amazing of Hudson both North and South. You could even see the distant outline of NYC buildings. But it was 4 pm. It would take me about 30 to 45 mins to set up my rig and hang an antenna off the Fire Tower. I was concerned about the trail back in the snow since I now had no time to go back the long way. Common sense being the better part of bravery, I choose not to set up and activate this site, being concerned about getting back to the parking lot before dark. I'll save South Beacon Mtn for another day when I can get there in plenty of time and spend at least 3 or 4 hours operating. So I'll chalk this one up to a "conditioning hike."