Ascent of Britton Hill on 2014-07-17

Climber: David Odenwalder

Date:Thursday, July 17, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Britton Hill
    Elevation:345 ft / 105 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hurray – I accomplished the lowest highpoint in the nation, on a road trip cross country that also included the highpoints of OK, LA, MS, and AL. Alright, most of these are pretty unimpressive. Still five more checked off, and several in states where I had never before set foot.
I came down from Montgomery AL, using the most direct highways available: general direction Florala. Florala is just a hop, skip, and jump from the FL highpoint. After following highway 331, one turns east at highway 54, and follows it for a couple of miles. There is a sign indicating the direction to the highpoint. Britton Hill is apparently the official name, but all of the signs indicate Lakewood Park. I was expecting the highpoint to be in a snooty, posh, neighborhood with condos and golf courses. Not so – the area is quite rural, working-class, with some kind of industry next door – at least I heard quite a bit of machinery. The highpoint marker is in a small grassy park, about the size of a football field, next to the highway. As with other “flat” highpoints, it is really difficult to say what is the “actual” natural, highest feature. The perimeter of the grass area seemed to be a tad higher than the ground right at the monument. My vote is for a mound of dirt near northeast part of the park, near a discarded cement post or barrier lying on the ground at the edge of the park. The register to sign one's name is hanging on a nearby restroom wall.
There are some short hiking trails around the primitive area surrounding the park. I walked a brief distance on one of these, but my compressed schedule to get to central FL prevented further exploration.
Evidently, the local community has really gravitated to the designation as the FL highpoint. That includes creating this park and erecting a stone monument. Seems to me that I read some years ago, that the highpoint was actually an unmarked hill in an orchard near Orlando. Since Orlando was the endpoint of my journey, I kept an eye open for this. Obviously, I don’t have topographic maps or survey equipment, but I’d have to state that the area near a water tower and antenna mast near Clermont (on Orlando’s west side) looked pretty high “for Florida”. So I’d like to see confirmation from an official source, that Britton Hill / Lakewood Park is actually the real McCoy.
What Florida lacks in vertical height, it makes up in horizontal distance. My travel from Lakewood Park to Orlando was well over 400 miles – and that doesn’t include the first 100 miles of the panhandle, or the last 200 miles to the peninsula tip – plus maybe another 100 to Key West.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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