W0M/SP-001, Thorny Mountain - 414m, 4 points (1st ref activation)
Logistics: Thorny Mountain is remote even compared to other peaks in the area. I opted to approach via Peck Conservation area which lies to its south. I studied topos and sattelite views of the area and found a likely looking parking spot at 37.084544, -91.162916. The last ~12mi of the drive in were on decent gravel road excepting the last ~2mi which involved a number of creek crossings and very steep grades. My little car made it, but I would not do this if there were recent heavy rains (or the threat of them!).
Ascent: There is not supposed to be a trail to the top of Thorny Mt, so I came expecting a ~2mi bushwack. I picked the parking spot as old USGS topo maps indicated it was the head of a jeep track that went .5mi or so. When I arrived, I set off on the jeep track intending to follow it until it ended or headed off in the wrong direction. I was very happy to discover that it continued on directly up the ridge and almost through the AZ. My 4mi bushwack turned into a nice (though very hot and buggy) stroll up the hillside on a well defined trail.
Summit: No views, but there is a nice rocky plateau in the AZ to set up on. On the way up there are a couple of open areas ~50m off the trail that offer nice views.
RF: KX2, 40’ EF 9:1 matchbox and 24’’ coax. I worked 60m, 40m, 30m, and 20m all cw.
Summary: If you’re up for the long drive on the dirt road, this is one to add to the list. It would be a nice pair for nearby Barnett Mountain for a nice day of hiking. Probably a better one to save for Spring or Fall when the temps are lower and the bugs less hungry.
W0M/SF-030, Knob Lick Mountain - 406m, 4 points
Logistics: Drive up.
Ascent: More like a 100 yard traverse from the parking area to the bench on which I operated.
Summit: I wasn’t expecting the spectacular views this modest hill offered. There’s an observation tower that you can climb about ¾ of the way up. In cold wx you could also probably operate from there, but it was too busy when we visited. I set up on a nearby bench that offered shade and the view.
RF: KX2, 40’ EF 9:1 matchbox and 24’’ coax. I worked 40m and 30m. I intended to only work one band (we still had ~6hrs to drive) but I only got 3 QSOs on 40m.
Summary: This is a quintessential drive-up, just a mile or so off the highway. Really beautiful panoramic view from the top.