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Ascent of Monument Mountain on 2017-02-23

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Eric White with clients Lou and Eric.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, February 23, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Carpool
Peak:Monument Mountain
    Location:USA-Texas
    Elevation:2160 ft / 658 m

Ascent Trip Report

There are 2 candidate high point areas for the Mason COHP - AREA 1 (Monument Mountain) and AREA 2 (Blue Mountain Peak). It took a "MOST MEMORABLE" 2 visits to complete these 2 candidates, all as per this one only TR. The required owner's permission for both Areas is provided in this report.
Blue Mountain Peak has been added to the PB Library as a separate peak.
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VISIT #1 DATED 2016-01-29 .... a successful drive-up to AREA 2 (BLUE MOUNTAIN PEAK).
Rose and I came to this county armed with Scott Surgent's TR of 2003, confident of successfully completing the both candidates. This would not happen. Scott's writing does not address the obstacle between the 2 areas. ..... a tall/fragile 10' high fence (my guess is the tall fence was non-existent during Scott's visit of 2003). We would visit AREA 2 only.
Having said this however, does not mean that we were disappointed with our visit ..... far from it, it was a warm/most-interesting county high point adventure to date. All thanks to Richard Taylor, owner of the Blue Mountain Peak Ranch and a generous/knowledgeable individual full of information, who gave us a 2-3 hour tour of the Ranch.

Scott's TR led me to the Ranch's web site (bluemountainpeakranch.com) where I got what I needed. The reader needs to do the same in order to better understand Richard's philosophy/vision for the Ranch's Wild Life and Eco Systems, beside living in paradise.
In 2011 the Ranch won the Lone Star Land Steward or the Year Award for the entire Edwards Plateau. This year it's nominated for the Leopold Award (Texas best Land Steward Award).

I called Richard just yesterday with my request, and without hesitation he said, "When do you want to come?".
We agreed to meet at the Ranch's Main Entrance on R1871 this morning (see driving directions below). During the usual niceties and a nice/long get-to-know-chat, we got to meet the mail-delivery-woman, whose father started this delivery service back in the nineteen fourties.
We followed Richard up Blue Mountain Lane about 2.5 miles to his locked gated Ranch Entrance, his house is just inside the gate.

We were introduced to his girl friend Suzie who was just as nice and friendly (gave us a map of the ranch). The most amazing happening on this trip took place here, before Richard gave us the tour. Their pet steer "Old Tex" ..... a 17 year old Longhorn with an 8 foot rack, came right up to the front steps of the house to get petted and be fed goodies, perhaps just as friendly as their two Dobermans !!! We got to pet "Old Tex", although I must say, Rose was a bit gun-shy !!! amazing, never-before-seen interaction, truly beautiful and evidence of city life's shortcomings. Took photos.

Richard's gave us a tour of his 830 acres Ranch in his new 4WD Ford, the high lights of which were the American Tower, Maintenance Garage with all of his equipment, Guest House with 2 apartments and 3 double car garage (filled with his toys (Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Corvette, motorcycles),

He gave us an overview as to how carry out a safe "Prescribed-Forest-Burn" in order to regenerate new flora, resulting in new springs (actually showed us a flowing creek which was non-existent when he got here).

We were driven right to the summit of AREA 2 which used to be capped with a Radar Station (foundations still in place). These government stations, secret and called "Gap Filler Radar Station", were built in the mid-nineteen hundreds, and later made obsolete by new technology. Richard told us that the government built here because it was the highest point of land in Mason County.
After purchasing the property Richard drilled a well on the summit complete-with tanks and a 2" water main feeding the ranch's requirements. This well is the highest Edwards Aquifer Well in Texas and used by the state to monitor its health.

From this summit, AREA 1 (Monument Mountain) is a short distance to the northeast just inside his neighbor's property - unfortunately separated with a 10' fence and not accessible from this vantage point. Richard suggested I contact the rancher Will Scott (contact info is below). Perhaps for another time.

Richard brought us back to our car, and to top it all off, gave us a Blue Mountain Peak Ranch T-Shirt ... how nice was that!!!
Thank-you Richard and Suzie for your hospitality.

We drove to Fredericksburg for the night, stopping to visit Cedar Gap-North and South Peaks on-route.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:
From the old town center of Mason, JCT 87/R1871, we traveled southwest on R1871 for 18.1 miles to #3699 Blue Mountain Peak Ranch on the left (south) side .. a large black mailbox, Taylor. Across the road (right) is the entrance to Lazy H Retreat.
This is a gated entrance, access is only from prearranged agreement with Richard Taylor.

RICHARD TAYLOR
Blue Mountain Peak Ranch
3699 Blue Mountain lane,
Mason, TX 76856
Phone 325-347-7144
email us: bmpr@earthlink.net
web site: www.bluemountainpeakranch.com

WILL SCOTT RANCH
Phone: 214-766-8420
emails: 1) will_scott@kindermorgan.com
2)wfscott@tgsgroup.com
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VISIT #2 DATED 2017-02-23 ..... a successful drive up to AREA 1 (MONUMENT MOUNTAIN).
Prior to this visit I emailed/called the above contacts for Area 1 with no answer, so I called Richard for his advise. He suggested I go to the internet for "STAR S RANCH" --- A private huge hunting ranch advertised as "The Authentic Texas Safari Company", with exotic African Wildlife such as Bongo, Antelopes, Kudu, Ibex, Gemsbok, etc etc.
The web site gives the contact person as: Eric White, business manager, tel(830-285-8753), email (ssranch @tgsgroup.com).

I emailed Eric White, sending him a copy of my original request to Will Scott(the ranch owner). He answered, "Call me and we can arrange it."
Eric is extremely busy during the winter months, so after numerous-phone-calls and postponed-dates over a 2 month period he finally had time for me today. We agreed to a 10h00 hour date at the Ranch Entrance given below.

We planned to be early, a few minutes later a truck drove up with 2 hunters from Michigan (Lou and Eric, clients of Eric), they were invited to come along by Eric, who showed up a few minutes later.
After the usual introductions/niceties, we all jumped in Eric's truck, together with his very friendly dog, and drove to the COHP about 4 miles to the west.

The open summit is a 50 yd long flat short N-S ridge with no obvious HP, we all looked for a BM that Eric said was there - no luck. My eye level told me (not sure) that this summit is slightly higher in elevation than Area 2 to the southwest. Eric said that this is "the" Mason COHP. A beautiful spot for views.

On route we saw many of the animals named above, it reminded me so much of our African Serengeti Safari a number of years back. I asked Eric about Eco tourism - apparently not profitable.
On the drive back I was witness to an AMAZING FEAT. Eric suddenly stopped the truck and got out his Range Finder Binoculars, after a few seconds he said to me, "Are you ok with a gun shot."
"Ya", not knowing exactly what he meant.
His rifle with silencer was stored just behind our heads on the roof of the truck (I hadn't noticed it before).
Before I knew it, he rested the rifle on his truck's side view mirror, and shot a wild hog at 353 yds (I could hardly see it). WOW!! I heard the shot and what seemed like a long second, the animal dropped .... amazing shot, Eric hit him on the shoulder blade but told us he had set his sight about 10 inches above his target (because of the 353 yd distance).
He drove us to the kill, he hit him was dead-on. He left him there for the buzzards. Wild hogs (reproduce at a fast rate) are apparently a big problem on the ranch causing a lot of damage. I took photos.

When we got back to the Entrance, Rose an I were witness to some archery. Eric had Lou practice with a 50# Bow and Arrow on a 30yd target. Then we followed Eric to the Lodge about 7 miles away for a look-see - a beautiful building for his clients, with an amazing large living area full of mounted African animals (named above).

We had an amazing visit all thanks to Eric, a gracious/understanding/generous gentleman who loves his job.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO THE "STAR S RANCH" ENTRANCE.
From the JCY Hwy290/FM385 (3.5M W of the town of Harper) we drove NW on 385 for 13.3M to a right turn on KC430 (Mills Creek Road), 6.2M N on the left is one of a number of Star S Ranch Entrances with a small ranch house.
The Monument Mountain HP (Area 1) is about 4 miles to the west of this entrance.

Mason County is one of our more memorable/enjoyable visits of Texas , but what will live in infamy however is Victoria and Dimmit Counties - some real bad shit ????



"WHEN YOU GET TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN, LOVE THE MOMENT .... THE ENERGY OF THAT MOMENT WILL BRING YOU BACK."


Summary Total Data
    Route:drive up to area 1



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