I spent a few days activating in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Despite the mud and nettles, it was great to operate in the Appalachian backcountry. Activated summits were W8V/PH-003, W8V/PH-006, W8V/PH-009, W8V/PH-010, W8V/PH-013, W8V/PH-018 (boldface refs: first-time activations). Details here.
Thanks for the memories. In the 1960s I did a lot of cave exploring in West Virginia and your reports bought back a blast of recollections of the times I spent in Marlington, Greenbrier, Germany Valley and other places. We used to drive down from Canada in the days before the Interstate served the area, 500 miles in 12 -14 hours each way, cave all week-end and drive back in time for work on Monday morning!
In fact the cave-exploration started my interest in radios, through working on VLF radio -beacons and eventually SSB devices for communication between the caves and the surface.
It looks like a great area to re-visit for some SOTA activations, although I remember it as hot and muggy in the summer-time.
Happy to stir up fond memories. That’s a pretty impressive ratio of driving to exploring: 25 hours of driving for a weekend of cave. I’m afraid to report that they do what they can to discourage spelunking these days. It’s less about tourists and risk management than, as I understand it, endangered bat species.
I hadn’t been to Monogahela myself in about forty years: Shenandoah and George Washington forests are closer to home. But this forest really has its own feel. It was muggy, to be sure, but so quiet. Not even coyotes at night. But that barred owl, wow, what a lovely call. And there are lots of summits to tackle. I’m eager to go back already.
David - N3II