Ascent of Briar Hill on 2013-07-31

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Artski
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Motorcycle
Peak:Briar Hill
    Elevation:1706 ft / 519 m

Ascent Trip Report

This highpoint was especially important to me as not only is Briar Hill the highest point in Wexford County and the mitt of Michigan, but it is one of the seven mountains of the Midwest (over 1000' prominence). This marks my sixth ascent of the seven, with just Boundary Butte, ND to go! It was getting late in the day, but Artski and I needed to get this peak quickly and head towards Ludington to sleep before catching the SS Badger in the morning. We were able to find the turn off of 115 for FR 9784. We followed the good gravel road south to an intersection with a sign stating that it was the start of a school forest. We took the right fork going south at this intersection and rode about 0.6mi further, staying on the main road, to the intersection with 5007 which is a sandy road branching off to the right. We parked here as the sand was too much for our motorcycles. We began hiking west on 5007, and we mistakingly took the first right onto a dirt road that quickly ended. We continued up the gully with a northwestern heading for at least 30 minutes. We passed over false summits, and without my topo map and compass, we would have been lost. Our coordinates in our GPS receiver didn't help either, as they were in the wrong datum. However, when we were feeling rather discouraged, the receiver showed us that we were near the top of the north south road that goes to where the fire tower used to be at the top. Shortly afterwards, we found a very pretty road well cut through high straight trees that ended in an overground turnaround. We found the four tower footings, but no other markers. This, however, was it, and we had made it to the glorious summit of Michigan proper! There were not any decent views, but the forest itself was a sight to enjoy. On the way down we followed the old fire tower road back to FR 5007. Once on the downhill pitch, it has been dug up into 5' high mounds and trees lay across the road. It appears to be an attempt to close the road and prevent erosion. The intersection with FR 5007 was obvious and we took a left (East) following it back to our bikes. The bottom of the fire tower road had a marker saying no motorized travel. FR 5007 was actually a decent gravel and then dirt road, only giving way to sand right before FR 9784. This route was a long walk compared to our fairly direct bushwhack, but to Artski's surprise, my map and compass served me well to find exactly where we need to get right back to our motorcycles. Any road car could have driven to the base of the closed road as long as the tires were not bald. The main intersection to watch for is the 9784/5007 intersection. Both roads are signed on the right side when traveling west at the split. This was one of those hikes that tried us with a number of obstacles, but was very rewarding at the end because of it.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:354 ft / 107 m
    Elevation Loss:354 ft / 107 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:319 ft / 97 m
    Extra Loss:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Trailhead:FR 5007  1407 ft / 428 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:334 ft / 101 m
    Extra Gain:35 ft / 10 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    Route:fire tower road - FR 5007
    Trailhead:FR 5007  1407 ft / 428 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 

This page has been served 788 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2018 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service