Ascent of Gillespie County High Point on 2016-01-30

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 30, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Gillespie County High Point
    Elevation:2267 ft / 690 m

Ascent Trip Report

Successful visit to 9 areas, not without risks ..... 5.7 miles, 3:15 hours RT hiking, allow 5-6 hours to include for all of the driving and breaks.

This county has 9 candidate high point areas all generally located in the central-west side of the county. I have numbered them a la PB and visited them in the order listed here. A few of them with a warm and welcoming reception and a few with a small level of risk.
I should note that in all cases there was no obvious HP, I walked/stomped the respective area to my satisfaction.

The plan was to approach AREAS 1, 2, 7 and 8 from Wendel Road .... we would not be able to visit Area 1 from this side.
From the flashing-light in Harper (west of Fredericksburg) we went west on #290 for 2 miles to a right turn onto Wendel Road. We zeroed our odo.
0.0M ... left #290 northbound on Wendel Road.
2.7M ... road jogs north again after going west for a short distance. Driveway with large sign "Ebert Ranch Camp, Cross Trail Ministry" is straight ahead (west). This was our planned route for AREA 8. We continued driving north on Wendel Road.
3.2M ... locked gated entrance on left was our choice for Area 7, signed "No Trespassing", decided to do it together with Area 8.
4.4M ... Josephine Road on the right our choice for Area 2. This was a locked gated small road (unexpected).
5.2M ... locked gated huge entrance on the right, "No Trespassing", our choice for Area 1. Not good so we went to Reiger Road, just 100+ yards before. We couldn't believe our eyes ... an open farm entrance with no gate. So we drove the driveway .4 miles east to 2 houses and found no-one home. Area 1 is to the east at only .3 miles. We didn't feel right starting from inside the property without permission, so decided to look for an eastern approach.

AREA 8 (30.33824,-99.29948)
AREA 7 (30.33973,-99.29791) ..... easy dirt road/xcountry, 1 mile, 35 minutes RT for both areas.
From Wendel Road we went west on the driveway .7 miles to the office of Ebert Ranch Camp. Stephen Krupicka, camp coordinator was with his son Zack and was very welcoming, he had no problem with my visit, had me sign a waiver form. The camp is very popular and very busy during the summer, offer RV camping at reasonable rates. They have a second ministry in Kerrville.
From the office I took a dirt road north 400 yards to the RV camp grounds, where a smaller road continues north 200 yards to the high ground of AREA 8 (just right of the road). I then continued northeast xcountry/hopped fence 200 yards to AREA 7.
We got an exceptional friendly reception, our thanks to Stephen and Zack, true Trail Angels.

AREA 2 (30.35263,-99.28025) .... xcountry, 1.1 miles, 37 minutes RT.
A power line right-of-way parallels Josephine Road on the south side, this was my route. Rose parked 1/4 mile before Josephine Road.
At Wendel Road I hopped over the fence and followed the right-of-way east .3 miles, then southeast .2 miles to the huge contour. As I walked the contour (had to twice hop a fence) I could see buildings to the south.

We found our way back to the flashing-light in Harper, Jct 290/R783 and zeroed our odo. This was our route to AREAS 1, 3, 4, 5 ,6 and 9.
0.0M ... left 290 northbound on R783
2.2M ... R783 bends right, we stayed straight (left) on Kramer Road. Kramer Road heads north but makes a jog left (west) before continuing north.
5.2M ... Kramer bends right (north), straight ahead (west) is Dallas-Josie Road, our route to Areas 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6). We continued north on Kramer.
5.7M ... gated driveway #3505 on the left, leads to Area 9. No signs.

AREA 9 (30.37271,-99.25726) .... a road walk and xcountry and a drive-up . 1 mile, 35 minutes RT.
Once again luck was on our side, the gate was just latched closed. I walked the driveway .4 miles west to the summit, capped with a house and buildings.
As is the case with a lot of farm homes, the front door entrance isn't always obvious. I knocked at one door with no answer, got an answer at the other, with a warm greeting from John and Mary Sandstedt, "Welcome, I thought I heard someone at the door." They love having visitors, "The front gate is latched closed because of the animals."
"Ya the highest point is right there at those trees.", pointing to a clump of trees 50 yards south of the house, the PB coordinates puts the spot 100 yards north of the house.
We together walked the flat elongated long 2260' contour. It appeared to me that the HP could be north of the house. He said that he had a friend check out the county maps and they located the HP at his said spot having an elevation of 2266'. I was impressed with that since PB says its 2267'.
After we were all finished John said, "Why don't you bring your wife up, we'd like to meet her."
I couldn't refuse so I did just that.
John grows trees (oak, mountain laurel, peach, maple). Asked if we wanted a tree. He can't sell them without a license so he donates them to charity.
They raise goats and they all come up to them to be fed. Mary raised one with a bottle since birth and today this goat is a real pet, like a dog ... came up to us to be petted, really amazing for us city folks.
Mary used to train horses. She has one horse now, Misty. She called out 2-3 times for Misty and in short order she came right up to us, ate with the goats.
Asked us to come back in March for the wildflowers, "You'll be amazed at the colors that we have."
We exchanged addresses:
John and Mary Sandstedt
3505 Kramer Road
Harper, TX
Phone # 830-864-4923.

We drove back to Dallas-Josie Road (according to John these were 2 sisters that inherited this whole area, and eventually parceled-off/sold the lots. We zeroed our odo.
0.0M ... left Kramer road westbound on Dallas-Josie
0.3M ... left on Gina Road
0.9M ... Road makes slight right bend (southwest). A Jenkins/For Sale sign here. This was my TH for Area 6.
1.1M ... road bends west, on left (south) is entrance Jenkins Ranch #837, signed "For Sale", "No Trespassing". Area 6 is just a few hundred yards southeast, we could see the house. Called out, blew the horn, everything appeared quiet. Didn't like hopping the fence here.
1.4M ... road makes sharp right bend, straight ahead (left) is the locked gate Heath Ranch entrance #1117. This leads to Areas 3, 4 and 5. Could see the house, called out, blew horn with no answer.
1.7M ... good road ends at old unused gate what continues beyond is a 2 track road ( signed Josephine Road off of Wendel Road). Left is a private farm entrance, and just before is a trailer house with no one home.
We decided to make this road end our TH for Area 1.

AREA 1 (30.3604,-99.27843) ... road/xcountry .... 1.3 Miles, 37 minutes RT.
From the TH I hopped the fence and went west on the road .2 miles, where I turned right hopping a fence and picked up a track the took me north/northwest .4 miles to the high ground (hopped another fence on-route).

AREA 3, 4 AND 5 ... road/xcountry, .8 miles, 30 minutes RT.
From Gina Road I hopped the gate and walked southwest 200+ yards to the house, calling out as I neared, all quiet, no vehicles. There was no one home, Rose waiting at the gate would deal with the consequences ???.
I walked southwest xcountry less than 100 yards to AREA 4 (30.35265,-99.26829).
I continued southwest 300 yards to AREA 3 (30.35036,-99.27085).
I backtracked and visited AREA 5 (30.35354,-99.26628) south of the driveway before the house.

AREA 6 (30.35402,-99.25950) .... xcountry, .5 miles, 16 minutes RT.
From Gina Road KM Marker 1.1M I hopped the fence and walked south xcountry 400 yards to the high ground with a lot cacti.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:467 ft / 141 m
    Extra Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:visit to 9 areas
    Trailhead:wendel/kramer roads  2100 ft / 640 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack

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