Ascent of Hawkeye Point on 2014-12-12

Climber: David Odenwalder

Others in Party:solo
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, December 12, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hawkeye Point
    Elevation:1670 ft / 509 m

Ascent Trip Report

I took the opportunity this morning to do Iowa's high point while on a business trip to Cedar Rapids. No, it wasn't particularly close - about 300 miles of driving each way. But I had the time, and a fairly fuel-efficient rental car - and don't know if/when I'll have the opportunity again. It was pretty cold, but not much snow in the immediate area, so that was an added reason for making the attempt.
I left yesterday (Dec 11) from Cedar Rapids, and took the best quickest way to "the peak". That involved following highway 27, then I-35N, and finally 100 miles of driving across southern Minnesota. I left about 3:30PM, so it was nearly bedtime when I reached Worthington, the closest city of any consequence on the Minnesota side of the border. I was prepared with a sleeping bag, but it was pretty chilly for my southern CA system (with no antifreeze any longer), so I opted for a hotel room. Thinking that I was off-season in the hinterlands of western Minnesota, I half-expected to find a decently priced hotel in the area. Wrong. Nearly everything was about $100/night or more - which is outrageous, since I was only looking for a place to rest for a few hours and wash up. I settled for the Travelodge, which set me back nearly $80 - but they did offer a meager continental breakfast (and Golden Waffles - a real treat). Set all the alarms for 6:30 AM, because I had to get back to Cedar Rapids by about noon for my flight home.

Got up, grabbed a hot waffle and some fruit, and headed for Hawkeye Point. From Worthington, I took Highway 59/60 (south or west). Made sure to stay on 60 (not 59) when the road forks just before the border. Continued on 60 into Iowa, maybe 2 or 3 miles. It's about the second place where you can cut across the other lane of the divided highway. There is a large sign indicating the location, so easy to find (I think the cross street is 130th). There is a farmhouse, and next to it a gravel road for 100 yards or so to the "peak". All total, maybe 13 miles or so from the hotel.

Hawkeye Point is not spectacular for scenery (just lots of corn fields). You can drive virtually to the highpoint - so it's not much of a hiker's challenge. It's really not much higher than the surrounding countryside. But golly, they have done themselves proud! An old silo with a viewing platform, a marker in the ground, two large boulders with inscriptions (not sure which one is the actual "high point"), and the poles with directions and mileage to each of the other 49 states' high points. My hat is off to the Iowans and to the farmer that allowed public access and set up all the goodies. I think only Oklahoma - in my travels thus far - has made a comparable effort to honor its state's "high point".

I noted that the log book had a recent entry from North Ogden (UT), near where I grew up. Glad to see there are some other Beehive State high-pointers.

I stayed on the point only a few minutes - took a few pictures, signed the book (my handwriting was pretty sloppy - it was really cold outside). Then off to catch my plane - 5 more hours on the road, followed by nearly 10 hours in airports / flying. We have to be crazy! There was not much snow to be seen in Iowa, but much of southern Minnesota along I-90 was covered with a light layer - an inch or so. I turned the car heat up to toasty warm, and headed back to southern California.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:cold (near freezing) - small patches of snow in the area. Overcast, little sunshine, but slightly w

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