Pine Log Mountain is only accessible via the Lake Arrowhead community, which is a gated community manned by a guard shack. It’s also accessible via vehicle, if you have business to be on the mountain and sign out the gate key from the guard shack. After seeing it first-hand, I’d recommend that route as it’s mostly “paved” with very large granite gravel. The kind that twists ankles.
Knowing all that, I figured my best bet would be to wait until one of the local country groups was headed up top to conduct some repeater maintenance and offer any assistance in exchange for being the first to activate the mountain. On Sunday I joined a small crew from CARS and Cherokee County ARES to perform some much-needed landscaping around the county repeater towers on top of Pine Log Mountain.
The plan was that we would collect enough volunteers to tackle both Pine Log and Mount Oglethorpe simultaneously. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough persons or hardware to split the difference and tackle both mountains at the same time.
I originally signed up to assist on Pine Log but we all headed over there together. My idea was that we’d quickly tackle Pine Log and then I’d be able to activate it. That changed to cleaning up the brush/grass around Pine Log to activating the mountain before continuing to Mt. Oglethorpe. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, either.
The individual that checked out the gate key couldn’t leave me up there with the gate unlocked and check the key back in and I didn’t want to hold him and the others up just to complete the activation before moving onto the next mountain. It would have required that I collect all my gear, hike down the mountain out of the activation zone and then back to the top. Set up the gear and start calling CQ.
I suppose I could have activated the mountain via VHF, as there were enough guys running around with radios that I could have easily made the 4 contacts once they were down the mountain — but this seemed like cheating, so I didn’t do it. I knew of at least two people that had emailed me to say that they were anxiously standing by to collect some unique chaser points for this mountain and I was sad to let them down.
But the morning wasn’t void of excitement. For example, I came within a foot of stepping on this guy:
That certainly got the blood flowing. Thankfully he didn’t strike and we didn’t have to put another ham’s newly-graduated wilderness first responder training to use. So I had that going for me, which is nice. I’ll pay a bit more attention next time.