Ascent of Saint Francis County High Point on 2015-11-19
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Thursday, November 19, 2015|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
|Peak:||Saint Francis County High Point|
| Elevation:||455 ft / 138 m|
Ascent Trip ReportBen L. report for CHPing is excellent and his suggestions for the private land candidate points is dead on. So I am only going to report how to get the ones on public land and do it in a more sporting manner. For those that are interested in earning the one's that are on public lands and obtaining 75% of the points through the state park and not trespassing or having to go obtain permission, this is my suggestion. There is still one candidate point you have to go on private land for and I agree with Ben that the other nearby one is not taller than the others and should be ruled out. The largest closed contour within the park at BM 455 is likely the true HP.
If one want to cheat down to the highpoints using he gas easement that might save some hiking time. The aerial shows a large clearing bisecting the woods down near the first HP (the northern most candidate). I did not verify access to this easement from the east but it looks on the aerial that you could simply park off Eddie Hill Road from the east and run down the gas power easement till it intersect with the white blaze trail at marker # 16 then begin your hike to obtain the 3 candidate points within the state park. This would shave off considerable hiking mileage and the gas easement is wide and easy to hike. I wanted a long hike so I actually took Ben's advice and went to the Visitor's Center and got a hiking trail map and began my journey way back at the Visitor Center (VS) to the NW.
I used many trails including the bike entrance trail (which is a little confusing to find - park at the VS and then do not take any of the marked trails in there, hike down to the SE and follow the paved road to where it swings NE and parallel to the park entrance road and you will cross a creek and there will be a chain link backstop by a large grassy field on your right as you look SE. The bike entrance trail is at the end of the field (there are signs for it) and it begins as a wooden bridge crossing the creek.
I hiked many of the meandering trails for bikes and hikers past post #13, 14, 15, and down to 16. Between marker 14 and 15 is one of the stream crossings that does not have a bridge. The fording was not bad. They placed it where the channel has a gravel bottom and it was not muddy and clay like other areas. Soon you are on the gas line easement. I counted over 20 large white tail deer along this hike. They were loud and huge. Many made threatening or warning snorting sounds at my intrusion. This is their territory!
From there you head due south along a ridge. The first HP is obvious and even showed up on my GPS phone peakbagger application. The, ridge runs N-S and is very steep on the east. The ridge falls sharply 150 feet down to the east. The blazed white trail that Ben mentions in his report is the trail to the HP. But if you want to go for the other two in this direction (Ben got them from the private lands to the south) you are going to have to abandon the maintained trails to do so.
After easily finding the first HP (the northernmost) I hoped the white trail would take me close to the next two but it does not. The trail swings too far west and misses the correct ridge line. Right past the first HP, where the trail begins to swing west, you will see another ridge staying due south. Along this ridge is a series of incised cuts that were obviously made years ago for vehicles that are now abandoned. In fall, the growth was not bad for a bushwhack. I kept the steep 150 foot drop ridge to my left (East) and followed the sometimes shallow ravine incised into the ridge and sometimes very deep cut. Basically along the ridge some trail/road was cut but erosion now has several of these N-S trenches running inside and along the actual ridge. You will dodge downed trees till the ridge peaks at elevation 440 but this is not one of the candidate peaks - there is a small breach in the ridge that you follow down and you find a barb wire fence that runs along N-S line near the steep drop.
Again keep the steep slopes to your left as you head south and you are fine. I can not explain the barb wire fence. The map shows the park boundary to be far east by Eddie Hill Road but trust me, the fence is there running north-south right on up to the second candidate HP. But the HP is within the western side of the fence so you can use the fence as your southern bearing. My phone GPS confirmed I was sitting on tip of that point as well. From there the largest closed contour HP candidate with the BM is just a very short walk to the SW.
Coming back, I elected to retrace my steps but took several side trips where the trails or cuts provided some interesting relief. I hiked up and down several steep embankments and my GPS and Pedometer gave me a total of over 1000 feet of gain for the entire 9 mile hiking day. A lot of that terrain could have been avoided coming back but I enjoyed getting the workout and selected the most hilly or steep terrain I could find.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1070 ft / 325 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||885 ft / 268 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||9 mi / 14.5 km|
| Grade/Class:||1, 1+|
| Quality:||3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Clear|
67F dropping to 60F
| Gain on way in:||575 ft / 175 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 185 ft / 56 m; Extra: 390 ft / 118m|
| Loss on way in:||390 ft / 118 m|
| Distance:||3.5 mi / 5.6 km|
| Route:||bike trails (white blaze) hiking trails, bushwhack|
| Start Trailhead:||Creek bottom by visitor center 270 ft / 82 m|
| Time:||1 Hours |
| Loss on way out:||495 ft / 150 m|
| Gain on way out:||495 ft / 150 m|
| Distance:||5.5 mi / 8.9 km|
| End Trailhead:||visitor center and and others |
| Time:||1 Hours 30 Minutes|
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