Ascent of Alcona County High Point on 2015-08-14

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, August 14, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Alcona County High Point
    Elevation:1273 ft / 388 m

Ascent Trip Report

A visit to 6 areas, a tough county ..... 9 miles, 7 hours RT including driving in between areas.

We followed Bill Schuler's excellent TR. Bill's approach was from the east, ours however was from the west (village of Mio), so we visited the 6 candidate high point areas in the reverse order to that of Bill .... starting with area 6. I should note that Bill's numbering system is the same as that of PB.

From the Jct of #33/F32, just north of the Au Sable River in Mio, we traveled east on F32 for 14.5 miles to Hardy Grade Road on the left (Bill's 1.9M Marker) . We zeroed our odo.

AREA #6 (furthest west area) ..... a bushwack of 1 mile, 37 minutes RT
0.00M ... left F32 northbound on Hardy Grade Road, a good (washboard like) dirt road,
1.37M ... past road #4312 on the right (straight ahead Hardy Grade Road is numbered #4126. Road #4312 is the road we took for the next 4 areas.
1.80M ... Jct with road #4023 on the left (Bill's 3.8M Marker), 30 yards ahead on the right is road #3984 heading northeast. There is no fork here to speak-of, and Bill's description is somewhat confusing, in fact it's incorrect since he alludes the dirt road #3984 going directly to the HP, which is not the case. We turned right on #3984, a much lesser road (2 track) which was just OK for our Dodge Caravan. There were a few very sandy/risky sections, luckily it was very dry. So highpointer beware.
2.80M ... #3984 bends left, a very small pull-off is on the right, we parked here (44.69429,-83.87902).
I bushwacked a 110 degree compass line approx half a mile directly to the obvious HP .... 44.69272,-83.87002, open woods with little underbrush and downfall, easy going. I descended in 11 minutes.

AREAS 2, 3, 4, & 5 .... a road and bushwack , 4 miles, 2 hours RT.
From the Jct of Hardy Grade Road/#4312 (see above) we traveled east on #4312 for 1.93M to a dirt road on the left (Bill's 30.4M Marker). We parked here (44.68293,083.84914).
As Bill notes this dirt road is "for high clearance vehicles only". I would find out that the driver needs to be equipped with a chain-saw, ready to cut/remove fallen trees across the road. In fact the first downfall tree at 40 yards appears to have been purposely cut/fallen to block traffic.
I walked the dirt (2-track) road north for 1.2 miles to a fork (44.69553,-83.85213) where the main road stays straight. I turned left and followed the track (right-of-west) .3 miles to its end (44.69685,-83.85658), then bushwacked west 150 yards to the obvious HP of AREA 2 (44.69648,-83.85805).
I continued my wack on a left-of-west line .3M to the obvious HP of AREA 3 (44.69525,083.86259), then a short distance west to AREA 4 and 5.
My eye-level told me that Areas 4 and 5 are both definitely lower in elevation than Area 3, and need not be visited.
The woods are open with little underbrush, easy going. I backtracked to the TH for a lunch break, then on to Area 1.

AREA 1. .... bushwack, 4 miles, 3:10 hours RT.
We found our way to Bill's parking spot at the east end of Small Road, past the cemetery (44.70444,-83.78191), this was our TH. We followed Bill directions to the HP , the worst of the 6 areas.
The worst part (eastbound) was the first section, on flat land with low areas (perhaps 3/4 mile)... in tall grass, bushes and some nasty thorny brush and low areas probably a bigger problem when more wet. It was impossible to stay on a straight line, had to zig-zag, always looking for the easy-way.
Once inside the woods the wack/climbing is typical for the area, not difficult, however overall it was slow going. I descended in 1:20 hours.

We moved on to check out Turtle Lake Lookout.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:953 ft / 289 m
    Extra Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Route:visit to 6 areas
    Trailhead:various  1120 ft / 341 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack

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