I had a few hours this last weekend and wanted to get out somewhere a little bit from home and Golden Gate Canyon State Park seemed like a great place. I’ve been to the park quite a few times in the past and absolutely love it there. The trails are amazing to hike and has some great views. I’ve mainly been on the more northern side of the park and when I was mapping out a place to activate from I settled in on the south west side of the park at the Ole Barn Knoll Trailhead. The satellite imagery showed some nice picnic tables and a little more open sky without the need to hike up a mountain. Which is perfect as I wasn’t looking to do a SOTA as well.
Of course getting to the park I forgot to get a pass so had to head back to the visitor center and get that but it was quick and was able to see the trout at the visitor center (pics below). Wouldn’t it be great if paces you could fish all looked like that? If you get a chance to go into the visitor center it has some great info and a relief map of the park as well. You can also ask about hiking the park and what to take and how long trails are.
With a pass in hand I headed back up to the trail head and got a parking spot in a little shade. This was rather pleasant when I got back in to the car so I wasn’t being boiled alive. The trailhead also has some nice restrooms in case you need them as well. The picnic tables are spread out so I was able to setup the dipole without worrying too much about it getting in anyone’s way. I found it just amazing was how the picnic tables were setup. Between the seat and table top was just enough space for the mast to go between and be vertical. With grated surfaces it was super easy to lash the mast in place and be very secure! Of course when I was putting the mast up the first time I didn’t tighten the sections well enough and once it was 20 feet in the air it came shooting down one section at a time. Felt a little like you see in the movies where a person slowly falls through a building one floor at a time. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Nothing was broken so cinched each section tighter and up it went.
I didn’t successfully activate the park. Just seemed whenever I listened on a frequency there was either someone on it or a kilohertz or two off. Unbeknownst to me it was also International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend while I was at the park and between that and normal people on the bands I couldn’t find a clear frequency. The one time I thought I had a clear frequency (listen, listen, listen, check if in use) and started calling CQ about 30 seconds later someone rose up out of the noise doing their own thing so I cleared the frequency. I did end up making three park to park contacts so that was okay.
Now I’m not complaining. It was such a beautiful day and the view was spectacular. After a bit of hunting for a frequency I just kind of listened around and enjoyed being outside for a while. Plus that just means I need to go back to the park again and I don’t hate that at all.