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I was first on Gwendoline last November on a lovely sunny day. Today in September it was an overcast one and the top of the summit was in the cloud layer. After our last hike, Nick suggested doing something easy such as Gwendoline. So, I thought it may be a nice break from the strenuous hikes. As this summit is on private property (the UBC Research Forest) behind locked gates I needed to arrange access. I contacted the forest management group and they set up an access code for the gate. They also have another gate mid-way that I needed the code for. They remembered me from last year and quickly provided the access codes. They also provided a hand-held radio should I need help for anything! That seemed funny as I was bringing 8 of my own!
Come Saturday morning Nick and I finished loading the truck and we set off for fuel, coffee and then the drive through Maple Ridge to the start of the forest. I was surprised at the amount of residential development taking place almost on the border of the forest. It seems people are moving in ever faster! We arrived at the gate and found the director at the care-taker cottage. He got the radio and we were off through the first gate. Just after we turned off the main road to Loon Lake, we found the second gate but it was actually unlocked. So, through we went, heading for Gwendoline Lake and the fork to the summit.
We actually drove past the fork as my GPS map was not quite aligned with reality and so after backtracking a couple hundred meters we were onto the narrow over-grown portion of the road. Here we switched to 4x4 mode and started up the dual track tree filled centre road to the summit. This part of the drive was slower but still a fairly easy drive for us. We reached the end of the road and the activation zone. Here we turned the truck around and backed out a ways to give us space to set up our gear.
I hauled out a table and chairs and then the tripod for the 30-foot mast. I stretched out my Spider Beam OCF antenna and affixed it to the mast and then Nick and I lifted it to height. Once the centre was up I stretched out the wire elements in a SE/NW direction. Next was the 2m beam and then I organized the radios and put out a 2m call. First in the log was a summit-to-summit contact with a chap in Washington state, quickly followed by my friend Don (VA7GL). I made a number of 2m contacts and then moved to 10m where people listening on 2m moved over to try 10. I had 4 10m contacts in the log but all were local stations. Next, I tried 15m but managed only a single contact into Washington.
Next up was 20m, here I made some contacts throughout the states and eastern Canada. So that was a fun group to work. Finally, I switched to 40m and worked an additional 8 to stations in the Pacific North-West and California. So, a very good activation. Nick meanwhile enjoyed a book and cooked lunch over a ‘camp-stove’ He actually borrowed one of my tripods to hold a pot over the burner. We enjoyed a nice warm meal.
Done with Radio we packed away the gear and I wandered around looking for a few photos to grab, the summit area was really too over-grown to offer much to see, so I wandered back along the road to a small pond which offered a few scenes. Next Nick and I drove down to Gwendoline Lake where there is a small dock floating on the edge of the lake and there, I gathered some nice photos of the lake. On our way back We stopped at Placid lake. Here I wandered along the southern end and outlet gathering photos of the lake and marshy grass. The area I was walking was a mere inch above the water line and I had to be careful not to step into a hole and get my foot soaked – I did manage to stay dry.
Once done with the lakes we drove back through the one gate and this time I locked it as instructed. Then it was off to the main gate and returning the radio. I had a brief chat with the director and the it was on the road for home. A good day with 34 contacts, a new high for me.