|Activation Date: 22 July 2018|
|Transport: Drive-Up / Short Hike||Distance: 0.5 miles|
|Elev. gain: 120 feet||Time: 12 minutes|
|Rig(s): MTR-3B, FT-817||Band(s): 40m/20m (cw/ssb)|
|Antenna(s): Linked EFHW 40/30/20m|
|Cell Service: Moderate (T-Mobile)|
|Parking: Summit Lot, via Green Mountain Summer Road|
|Trailhead: Vista Trail|
|Fees/Permits: Discover Pass ($11.50 daily, $35 annual)|
|Route: Walk up the Vista Trail|
|Dogs: Yes||Toilet: Yes|
|Antenna Support: Lots of trees, fence||RF Noise: Low|
I was up in my home state of Washington (not DC) for a family wedding and wanted to squeeze in a little bit of SOTA fun. This summit fit the bill, and also looked like it’d be really enjoyable, with a good view. Too bad I injured my knee just a few days before the trip! But not to worry: it turns out this summit has a drive-up option if you don’t mind a few miles of dirt road.
Since I’d originally planned on doing this summit as a hike, I put all of my planning into that. So, when I decided I’d do it as a drive-up, I put almost no planning into the drive. I mistakenly believed it would be completely straightforward as a drive-up. Early in the morning, I put the destination into Google Maps and started driving from Gig Harbor, about 45-minute drive from south of the summit. My route took me northeast of the summit, then it hooked west onto NW Holly Road. Turning left again onto Rock Quarry Road, I ran into one of my first problems.
I think this would have been a bit too far to cover on foot. I realized, too, that I had the wrong destination put into Google maps. There’s a nearby “hiking lookout” marked on Google Maps, a little bit to the east of the summit. OK, maybe quite a bit east of the summit. Anyway, I realized my error and corrected it. Still wanting to try and make it to the summit quickly, I hustled over to the next possible road to the summit, a little further west. This one was called “Green Mountain Rd NW.” This route went by some houses and didn’t quite seem right, but I kept going since the name seemed to indicate I had the right road.
This was a little more awkward – I had to back up quite a bit before I could turn around. But I did manage to turn around and get out of there. By this time, I didn’t have any cell service, so I couldn’t just look up where the heck the correct road was. I got back out to NW Holly Road and headed west again, turning left on Lake Tahuyeh Rd NW. I had a pretty good hunch that the correct road approached the summit from the west. Either that, or the seasonal closure of the road had turned into a permanent one. I eventually found the correct entrance.
This is the road you’re looking for. As it turns out, not only is the opening of this gate seasonal (summer), it has hours—9am-6pm Saturday-Sunday only. Fortunately for me at 7am on Sunday, the gate was already open.
From this point on, I primarily used intuition, mixed with an occasional sign. For the most part, I just followed the parts of the dirt road that seemed most heavily travelled. A little under 4 miles later, I was near the summit of Green Mountain.
The (very short) Hike
Even though I’d done a hike of Little Si the day before, I was a little apprehensive of the hike. I didn’t know if it would be super-short, but I’d heard it was short and easy. I wasn’t disappointed. There was one slightly steep and loose section. Nothing I’m not used to.
After just 5-6 minutes of walking, I was at the top.
The top has a few picnic tables and lots of trees. There’s a fence where the lookout is, presumably to keep people from falling off the cliff. Apparently, the true summit is just a little bit south of here, but a bit tricky to get to. This part of the summit is well within the Activation Zone (AZ), so I just stayed here.
After enjoying the views a little bit, I threw my EFHW wire high up into a tree on the west side of the summit, sloping down to a picnic table in the middle of the summit area. I hooked it up and got to work.
I made several contacts on 40 meters, using my MTR-3B. I then switched to 20 meters and made twice as many contacts there—including a summit-to-summit (S2S) contact with George KX0R over in Colorado.
Then, I pulled out the FT-817 and made 5 more contacts on voice/SSB. I love CW the most, but it’s fun to hear voices once in a while!
Having finished getting contacts on 20 meters, I briefly considered doing 30 meters, but figured I better get going. The family wedding was later that day!