Easter SOTA Activations VK3/VW-020 & VW-022

Easter saw us in Horsham in western Victoria visiting christens parents, and this gave us the chance to activate some summits and explore the Grampians at the same time, as well as Mt Arapilies, a summit i have activated a number of times previously.

First up, easter Monday we headed west to Mt Arapilies. VK3/VW-022. This summit is around 40km from Horsham and is famous for rock climbing. The summit is easily accessible from the road to a small carpark and then a small climb up some steps to a lookout/fire tower.

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Before we made our way up to the summit, we went and had a look at some of the rock climbing walls and the boys had a climb around some rocks. They have both been pretty keen to climb and we have taken them to a Melbourne indoor climbing centre as well as a public rock climbing wall we pass on our bike rides into the city a number of times.

I have also recently acquired a new toy and wanted to test fly my new quad-copter / drone. The below image shows a small rock outcrop the kids had a climb/explore on and around and this video <HERE> gives you an idea of the area.

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After the quick climb and fly, we headed up to the summit. I setup and Christine and the boys went for a walk, They headed off down the side of the mountain along a steep trail, Christine really isn’t that keen on SOTA 😀

I setup to the side of the lookout tower and started calling on 40m.

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After 45 mins, the chasers had stopped and I was thinking of packing up when I received an SMS from Christine, they were now down the bottom of the mountain and weren’t keen to walk back up, Would I come get them. So i packed up and drove down to meet them after a fun day.

Tuesday morning we decided to head south east with a plan to activate a number of summits in the Grampians. Initially we planed to activate Mt Zero VK3/VW-020 on the northern edge of the Grampians before heading for a waterfall and lunch with Christens Parents and then activating Boroka Lookout VK3/VW-007 in the afternoon.

Leaving home later than planned and a longer time at the waterfall, followed by Ice Creams in Halls Gap only saw us manage to activate Mt Zero. But what a summit.

We pulled up in the carpark and headed across the road and on the path towards the pile of rocks, The track starts off formed with stairs and then a sandy section before you reach the edge of the mountain and start to walk through the rocks and hill. The track is well defined, but not formed as such, and the rocks and path have yellow arrows along the way pointing you along the track. You climb through and over the rocks as you make your way up the hill. Its more scampering than walking, the boys were pretty excited with all the rocks they could climb on.

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I had read the activation notes from Peter VK3ZPF about a split in the track where the path ran between some rocks and a very tight squeeze vs a longer round loop. And we came to this, the boys wanting to go the hard way but we made them take the longer path (about 50m more).

The path got a little steeper and we continued to climb up before we arrived at the top.

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Once at the top, we did the obligatory photos at the marker and then I setup my gear using a tree to hold the squid pole and start the activation. Being a normal working Tuesday, not too many people were about, but I managed to qualify quickly and hand the microphone to Christine before she had a chance to wander off and she was able to qualify for the summit also. A quick pack-up and we made our way back down the mountain. This was such a nice walk/climb, we will be back to do this one again.

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Back to the car and then a drive to MacKenzie Falls to meet up with Christine’s parents and have some lunch before a walk to look at the waterfall. First we walked with everyone to a lookout that looks over the waterfall and valley, before the kids, Christine and I made the trip along the path down the steps to the base of the waterfall. These are an impressive waterfall, with a long drop and plenty of water flowing, even though we are at the end of a long dry summer.

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By this time, the kids didn’t want to do another sota, and Opa is rather fond of the ice cream shop in horsham so we headed down from the mountain to Halls Gap and ice creams before the drive back to horsham!

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