Was looking for a place to activate during 2022 ARRL Field Day June 25-26 and discovered I’ve never been to this preserve yet despite the fact that Mt. Diablo and vicinity are among my favorites in the San Francisco Bay area.
On top of that there are some nice lunch / dinner places in San Ramon just 15 minutes drive from the Las Trampas parking lot.
Some notes and recommendations
Check the park hours - if you stay past the gate closing time you will be cited!
Do note, in order to do everything by the book you need to get a trail permit from the East Bay Municipal Utility District because the point you activate from lies within a protected watershed territory.
Keep your eyes peeled for snakes on the trail and don’t tread on them.
Bring enough water, wear a hat, sunscreen and weather appropriate clothes - there is little shade along the top part of the trail and it can get scorching hot. There is a grove on the summit though.
I recommend taking the loop counterclockwise and starting early - this way you gain most elevation before it gets too hot. Elderberry trail looping back has some shade which was very welcome as temperature rose to about 90 F / 32 C in the afternoon.
Lovely vistas - well worth baking in the sun for a bit.
Historical name “Las Trampas” is translated to English as “The Traps” and reflects the use of the steep box-canyons by the first nations people and early colonists to entrap elk and deer for easier hunting.
By 1806 only a few native inhabitants remained in the area decimated by european diseases.
Initially inhabited by the members of the Saklan tribe, land was granted to Romero brothers Inocencio, Jose and Mariano in 1844 by the Mexican government. According to old histories “the new ranchero symbolized his ownership by pulling up grass, breaking branches of trees and shrubs and by throwing stones in four cardinal directions”.
Due to the loss of original paperwork and pressure from US officials harassing Mexican rancheros after California annexation Romero transferred ownership to Andrew Jackson Tice in 1858.
In the mid 20th century some land in Bollinger canyon was bought from private owners and converted into a wilderness preserve.
Check the dock for more trivia on history, geology and wildlife of the area.
Rocky Ridge aka W6/NC-268 SOTA activation
Trees provide a lot of options to deploy an antenna but raising a dipole on a mast was a bit of a chore as the antenna caught on branches. Ended up with a quite low dipole. Surprisingly enough reported SWR was 1.0 but something tells me a higher dipole would get more contacts.
Stations worked from Rocky Ridge
To be honest I made less contacts than I expected on a Field day - could be too early? Could it be the low deployed dipole? On a bright side made a nice summit-to-summit contact with Paul K9PM/P on W7A/CS-022, Little Squaw Mountain in Arizona.
|Time UTC||Call sign||RST sent||RST received||Frequency||Mode||Maidenhead grid|
This is all I have today, take care. 73, K0SSK out.