Ski Trip to Knox Mtn Cabin

W1PID January 12, 2008

I headed up to Knox Mountain this morning for the first
time this winter. It was a perfect day... bright sunshine
and over 40 degrees. I tried to go up a few weeks ago
on snowshoes, but the three feet of snow was too much
for my small Black Lab, Meghan. But with a week of
warm weather and some rain, the snow had settled
a lot. I started off around 11:00 am on cross country skis.
No one has been there all winter. Only deer had travelled
this path.

Deer tracks criss-crossed the trail

It was hard going. The snow was icy and I didn't have much
control especially on the hills. Meghan would walk a few feet
then fall through. And it was uphill most of the way to the cabin.
I dreaded the return trip because logs lay across the trail
precariously and there were even some bare spots. I envisioned
smacking into an obstacle as I careened downhill risking a
broken leg. But the scenery was fantastic, especially
where the trail runs alongside the brook.

The brook sparkled in the sunlight

When I'm walking in the summer it takes about a half an hour
to reach the cabin. This morning it took me nearly an hour.
It was a relief to see the dam and the cabin appear in the

The cabin faces full sunshine

It only took a few minutes to throw a 25 ft wire over a branch
in front of the porch. I was set up in no time. I started on 20
meters with the ATS-3 and an Elecraft T-1 tuner. I was
disappointed to find the band quiet with only a few strong
stations. I worked K0EJ in Tennessee quickly. He gave me
a 559 and he was a 599. I changed to 40 meters where
things sounded much better. I threw a 17 foot counterpoise
out into the snow and retuned. W8FHF, Sonny was just
finishing a QSO, and I gave him a call. He gave me a 579
from Norwich, Ohio and we chatted for more than 15 minutes.
Sonny was running 80 watts and was a strong 599.

The sun is warm on the porch

I like operating here in the winter because the sun hits the
porch with full strength, and there's an old table and a chair
which keeps me dry. Today it must have been over 50F
on the porch. I took my jacket off and didn't worry about
keeping my hands warm.

So after more than a half hour of operating, I packed up
and headed home. The ski down wasn't as bad as I
anticipated. I side-stepped down one steep hill (the one
with the fallen tree at the bottom). I did run into a bare spot
and nearly went flying. (You'd be surprised how quickly skis
stop on bare ground!) But I reached the car in one piece
and fully exhillarated from the outing.

To be honest, I'm looking forward to spring.

73, Jim