The last few weekends I spent more time outside with The Girl. My weeks are mostly filled with work, either at the trading desk or at the engineering desk. We do get out everyday for some exercise, but there is always the pressure to return to the home office and get things done.
After working a slew of weekends the last quarter of 2021 and into January of 2022, I am at risk of burnout. So I am gave myself permission to take some time off on the weekends, work on some personal projects, and play. Weekend before last was a little Winter Field Day play. After passing the morning at the house waiting for the air to warm, we spent the afternoons in the hills out east of town. We had some great hikes out there, the old man huffing up the hills with The Girl looking over her shoulder or running back to encourage the old man to huff a little harder.
Then we returned to the rig where I put out an old furniture blanket for The Girl while I setup a radio and either chased SOTA and POTA activators or played search-and-pounce after the Winter Field Day runners.
Last weekend we had a friend accompany us on Saturday. She another ham who loves to hike and especially loves The Girl. The Girl begins wiggling before we even get close to our friend’s place. And then she will greet friend with more intense wiggles and lots of love. We drove out to my new favorite spot, parked the rig, and hiked out two more hills. The overlook from there is spectacular, with view of the Carson Range to the west, Carson Valley to the south, and Carson City to the northwest. We paused at the summit to look around, enjoy the view, and enjoy the sun on us.
We returned to the rig for water and a snack. Then I setup the Elecraft KX3 with a magnetic loop antenna. There were plenty of operators running for the three QSO parties in progress. But I did not want to work that hard, so I looked for POTA and SOTA activators. I saw their spots on my phone and listened for them on their spotted frequency. I logged four contacts Saturday. On completing each exchange, I offered our friend the key. But she declined, not feeling quite ready to take to the air.
We had a bit of an adventure on the way home, though. I violated the “first rule of the day” and went north, forgetting I was on the third peak and not the second. It was only about a hundred yards when I realized I was not on the trail I came up and that this one was steeper and more narrow than I preferred.
After a couple of failed attempts to back up the trail, I managed to get mostly turned around. But the ass-end of the rig was still too far off the trail to get squared away. So I stepped out to survey the situation, saw that I was still making progress, and returned to the cabin of the vehicle.
After a couple more tries, I got close enough that I was able to back down the trail about 20 feet. I made a run at the snowfield and made it about halfway. I backed up and made another run and got about three-quarters of the way. The third attempt I made it 90 percent, but had enough traction to continue crawling until the right front hit soil and drug us out of the snow.
It was then easy going back to the correct trail. I was not looking forward to calling another friend for help and having to eat crow.
The Girl and I returned Sunday about noon for more outside time. I parked the rig and we got out to walk to the site of our previous day’s experience so I could make a couple of photographs. Then we turned south and climbed the same route as Saturday. A group of off-road bikers passed us on the way up to the summit in two parts. I saw the first group peel off the trail to some single-track and then turn back south. The second group stopped near where the first dropped over the edge of the ridge, but did not see where their compatriots had gone. One rider returned to our location and to the summit. He then turned around and coasted a bit, calling “Sorry buddy for driving past so many times. I lost the rest of the group.”
“No worries!” I called back. The Girl and I finished our ascent and paused at the top, as I like to do. I heard dirt bikes approach as we headed back down. We walked up to them paused on the slope, chatting. One called to The Girl “here buddy!” and she immediately responded.
I chatted with them a couple of minutes and then we parted ways, The Girl and I returning to the rig. There I setup my table and the KX3, but this time chose a different antenna I wanted to test. The Girl relaxed on her mat while I played a little radio. Again I was chasing SOTA and POTA activators, not wanting to work so hard working the QSO parties.
About mid-afternoon I put everything away, tired, a little cool, and ready to be home for the rest of the day. We crawled back down off the hill and toward the house, listening to some chatter on the local repeaters as we moved.
In the end, it was another good day. I came away with some contacts, knowledge of the antenna under testing, and a couple of nice images. Below is an example of why I love the west and why I love being in the mountains.
Life is good. I am grateful.