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Ascent of Britton Hill on 2015-12-30

Climber: Chris Gilsdorf

Date:Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Britton Hill
    Location:USA-Florida
    Elevation:345 ft / 105 m

Ascent Trip Report

***This is an account of my reaching what is now believed to be the TRUE highest natural point in Florida--an area 0.2 miles west of the stone marker within the park***

Based on the work of a few intrepid county highpointers using LiDAR data, detailed in the links at the bottom of this report, I drove from Andalusia AL through Opp and Florala down to Lakewood Park, arriving before dawn. After taking my time to enter in the waypoints ringing the highest contour area, as well as the suspected highest ground, I set off. The simplest way to reach the true high ground, particularly if you didn't happen to bring a GPS, is thus:

At the south end of the grassy park area (away from the stone monument), behind the covered picnic pavilion, two trails lead into the woods. Take the one on the left. The trail winds through the woods, actually losing about ten feet after passing a sandy depression, then bends west to a fork. Go right, immediately passing a Highpointer's Club bench, then look ahead shortly thereafter to try to eye where high ground is along the trail ahead (I counted about 100 paces past the bench). Here, turn right into the woods, take about thirty or forty winding paces, and you'll reach an area that seems subtly higher, with about four or five moderate-sized trees I felt were the best candidates for true highest ground. Going directly to the highpoint coordinates led me to one such tree; a pair of close-together trees a few dozen feet east seemed like the winner to me. Walk around the base of all of them to be sure, or at least as sure as one can get on this fairly flat forested piece of real estate.

This entire endeavor should take all of five minutes one way, and entails (at least in winter) surprisingly easy bushwhacking. Despite recent heavy rain, I never ended up getting my jeans wet. If you're even more pressed for time, the highpoint area can be reached by the other trail in less distance but with a bit more bushwhacking. Both trails are no more than a stone's throw away from true highest ground.

I made sure to also visit the stone monument and slightly higher ground around it, as well as sign the summit register. This was state HP #43/50 and COHP #318-ish.

http://cohp.org/fl/Walton_2.html
http://www.thegreatzo.com/cohp/lidar/counties/fl/walton/
True highpoint: 345.8', N 30 59.090' W 86 16.943' WGS84 datum
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The true Florida highpoint, per LiDAR data (345.8', N 30 59.090' W 86 16.943' WGS84 datum). The ground at the base of the pair of trees a bit left of center in the foreground felt highest (2015-12-30). Photo by Chris Gilsdorf.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack



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