Ascent of Leach Benchmark on 2015-10-14

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Stray puppy
Date:Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Leach Benchmark
    Elevation:1260 ft / 384 m

Ascent Trip Report

No changes from the previous reports, in as so much as the location and access, so my trip report focuses on the journey and I will describe what interests me - the hike itself. As my obsessive behavior requires, I chose to make it a reasonable hiking endeavor so once I cleared the route ahead by car, and knew what to expect, and what houses and people I would encounter along the way, I started as far downhill as I could. I created my Trailhead at the creek bottom of Saline Creek over a mile and half SE of the HP. I was surprised to see that the creek was wide and deep enough to support a healthy population of small fish about 6 to 8 inches long. I scared off a large school of sunfish while exploring.

Parking is a challenge along the rock gravel narrow R/W but I found a small pull over on E0550 Rd near the second creek crossing to tuck my aggravatingly small rental car...Oh yes, Avis was out of cars and despite being "preferred customer status", I got stuck with a tiny subcompact - Yaris! Who drives a Yaris down rubble rock country roads in a state like Oklahoma? Talk about standing out in the crowd!

There were some friendly dogs that came out to greet me along the route from one of the houses along N55540. A very friendly and cute white puppy in particular. I made the mistake of letting him know I was not a threat to his master's house and gave him a little attention. He was very lonely and starved for attention. I told him to go back home as the paved road out front had fast moving trucks winging by from time to time and he obeyed and then I hustled away. But soon I felt a presence behind me and dang if he was not hovering about 10 yards behind me all the way up the hill. I was very worried about him getting hit by a car following me so I kept in the grass and followed. I made sure traffic could see us and shifted to the other side of the street when the hill blocked our view and he followed me. He followed me and all the way to the BM and all the way back down.

When passing his house, I tried desperately to encourage him to stay home with his beagle companion but he was now my best friend just for having petted him a little. By now every dog up and down the street saw him tag along with me and everywhere I went there was crazy barking. Turning back on the gravel-rubble road to go back to my car, he continued to follow me and then suddenly a large buck with what I would guess was an 8 pointer jumped out of the woods into the road we were walking and directly in front of us. The white puppy could not stand the excitement and gave chase to the buck and finally left me.....I was free.... BUT not for long as a new dog came out of the yard and followed me all the way to my car!

This is always the biggest danger to rural road hiking in the back country.... the dogs that do not stay in their yards. But I continue to read dog body language and not run from them and be friendly and non-threatening and so far.....I have had good luck making hikes out of these CHPing expeditions.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:355 ft / 107 m
    Total Elevation Loss:130 ft / 38 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:290 ft / 88 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 225 ft / 69 m; Extra: 65 ft / 19m
    Loss on way in:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    Route:Creek Bottom to N4550 to E0550 to N4540
    Start Trailhead:Saline Creek crossing N4550  1035 ft / 315 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:65 ft / 19 m
    Gain on way out:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.7 km
    End Trailhead:same  
Ascent Part of Trip: OKCHPing

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Leach Benchmark2015-10-14 a355 ft / 108 m
2Salina Benchmark2015-10-14 b300 ft / 91 m
3Keystone State Park High Point2015-10-14 c780 ft / 238 m
Total Trip Gain: 1435 ft / 437 m    Total Trip Loss: 780 ft / 238 m

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