My woes at Mt. Hardy garnered some sympathizers willing to help to find the trail that leads up to the summit – among them Joel Shannon KC4WZB, Scott KW4JM and Dean K2JB. Dean was amenable to the date that had the best weather Wednesday March 20, 2019. Dean and I met at Rough Butt Bald Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway at noon. Dean and I got out of our vehicles, exchanged pleasantries, and admired the view from the overlook. He pointed out “There is Rabun Bald. Over there on the right is Wine Spring Bald and to the left of it is Siler Bald and the gap in between is Wayah Gap”. I considered myself so fortunate to have the “Obi-Wan-Kenobi” of SOTA show me the way to summit Mt. Hardy. We were soon on the trail and Dean shared stories of the times he got lost and most notable was the time he got lost on Mt. Hardy.
The time evaporated as I listened to Dean’s stories. I marked waypoints along the way. Dean let me lead for a while. It was so easy to get lost and wander off from the main trail. It was a good thing Dean was there to rope me back in to the correct trail. I saw finally where I had erred in the previous attempt. The hike got steeper during the last kilometer. When we arrived at the summit, Dean showed me the USGS marker which read “Black Mountain”. Just a few meters past the summit Dean showed me a clearing which had a view of the Devil’s Courthouse and the Blue Ridge Parkway. With the clear blue skies, the view was fantastic. It was so warm under the sunlight. It felt like 60F. I asked Dean if I could have the clearing and he said by all means yes.
It was such a delight setting up in the warm sunshine in that clearing. I had no cell service. I would have to rely on RBNHole to pick up my CQ and spot me on the SOTA network. Sure enough, it did. Cell service came back and I saw the the RBNHole spot. I tried to call Dean on 2m simplex to see if he wanted to be spotted but he must have his HT off. I then saw RBNHole pick up Dean’s CQ on 40m. I made 4 S2S’s that day and had enough points to make Shack Sloth with the S2S chases. Dean had been operating in the shade the whole time. It was 20F cooler in the shade. Dean came over to where I was and basked in the sunshine to get warm. He said “I am happy. I made a lot of contacts on 40m”. I told him I was able to sweep the other bands and I said “Hey Dean, I made 2 S2S’s with Patrick”. Dean answered, “Yeah, I got Patrick too on London Bald and got Brad WA6MM on Mt. Herman. We both decided to pack up and head down the mountain. The time evaporated once again as I listened to Dean’s stories. We arrived at the trail head and met a couple of gentlemen staring at the view. Dean shouted “Do you guys know what you are looking at?”
Dean proceeded to explain all the different peaks in view. Soon it was time to go home. Part of me wanted to linger there and enjoy the view. I said good bye to Dean and I said “see you at the Spring Camp-out if not before!” Soon I was home relishing the spoils from the day. For those interested in hiking Mt. Hardy, it is recommended that it be hiked with a partner. Here are the waypoints leading up to the summit. To backtrack simply follow the same way points in reverse.
Trail Head N35o 18.24’, W82o 56.552’ (1) N35o 18.608’, W82o 56.178’ (2) N35o 18.621’, W82o 56.162’ (3) N35o 18.628’, W82o 55.915’ (4) N35o 18.638’, W82o 55.903’ (5) N35o 18.624’, W82o 55.832’ (6) N35o 18.597’, W82o 55.708’ (7) N35o 18.560’, W82o 55.619’ (8) N35o 18.515’, W82o 55.594’ (9) N35o 18.535’, W82o 55.554’ (10) N35o 18.530’, W82o 55.527’ (11) N35o 18.531’, W82o 55.520’ (12) N35o 18.407’, W82o 55.503’ (13) N35o 18.313’, W82o 55.620’
Summit: N35o 18.186’, W82o 55.656’