As the days passed, I activated 6 summits. Two each on Thursday and Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. Three of the peaks are mountains I had done before, Ortiz, Montoso and 7472 while the other three were new ones for me, Tetilla, Palomas and Escobas. Including the winter bonus I was able to collect 58 points to bring my total activator points to 349 or a little more than a third of the way to my goal of 1,000 points. On this trip I used the FT-817, pico paddle, Elecraft T-1 tuner and an LNR 40-20-10 EFHW mounted on my carbon fiber extendable 21' fishing pole. I operated 30 meters through 12 meters on most summits.
Operating on Palomas W5N/SI-010
Considering that I am a third of the way, what have I learned along the way. As I gave that notion some thought it brought to mind the following.
1. My activating process is much more efficient, i.e., pack weight, antenna configuration, set-up time.
2. I am much more confident in my previously rusty orientation skills. I don't need a trail to get to a summit and back.
3. I'm in much better shape than when I started. I've dropped pounds and added endurance.
4. I've explored much more of this country, getting to summits off the beaten path, than I would have ever done otherwise.
5. I've met a fantastic community of activators and chasers who share a common bond of a love a radio and the outdoors.
It is exciting when two of your hobbies converge into one activity and that is what SOTA is to me.
To add a star to this trip, my XYL Cris, KC5HZQ, was able to activate four of the summits on a combination of 2 meter and 10 meter QSO's. She now has 38 points. So she is off an running. I'm glad I got a 300 point headstart on her.