Ascent of Vankleek Hill on 2009-06-19

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
Date:Friday, June 19, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Vankleek Hill
    Elevation:404 ft / 123 m

Ascent Trip Report

Located in the village of Vankleek Hill. PB shows 3 candidate HPs for this County. This TR is a result of 2 trips to this HP.

The Village of Vankleek Hill is a short distance north of Highway #417 ...... exits #17 (rte 10) or #27 (rte 34) will take you directly to the center of the village (junction of rtes #10/34. It is a quaint historic beautiful place with a lot of nice old buildings, advertises itself as the Gingerbread capitol of Ontario. A short detour off of #417 is well worth the time, even if you're not a highpointer. It's a pretty village.

On our first trip to Vankleek Hill I was very naive/new/not-schooled on CoHPs, in fact I thought that the locals would know exactly where it was. We drove into town from Hwy #417. I went up to the 2 locals on the sidewalk, next door to the newspaper office, "The Review", on Main street (rte #10), while Rose waited in the car.
"Excuse me , do you happen to know the location of Vankleek Hill Highpoint?"
"It's right where you are standing.", came the reply from the smaller guy.
I knew that this couldn't right, because it was higher just by looking up the street so I pressed the subject. The conversation went back and forth, the more friendly bigger Guy said that it was probably at Higginson Tower ..... pointing the way.
I asked if there was someone in town that would know, by this time the smaller less-friendly Guy started getting a bit testy, repeating "You're standing on it" ....... he seemed tipsy somewhat, had a coffee-like cup in his hand ????.
I asked him, "Why are you angry, is it perhaps you don't like tourists?"
He angrily replied, "Well, you come here asking stupid f...n questions, how am I supposed to know the f...n Highpont."
I chuckled to myself thinking that perhaps he was right and that I was somewhat stupid for even asking, I thanked them and together with Rose went next door to "The Review".

The professional run office did their best to help me. The receptionist relayed my inquiry to the publisher "Louise Sproule", who came out to talk to me.....she didn't know where it was, she had already put in call to the Mayor's office and was waiting for an answer .....he called later, saying that the highpoint is at Higginson Tower, elev 400'.
I told her about Peakbagger and the Ontario County Highpoint's list, we both agreed that it would be a good thing if the County's highpoint was in someway known/marked......especially since it's in their village (it could use another point-of-interest). Louise will make a suggestion to the Mayor "requesting a survey and a small sign/monument in a park like surrounding".
I thanked her for her help, she offered me a village tourist bag but I had already bought one (Rose wanted it as a shopping bag). A very helpful friendly lady.

On our second trip I came better prepared, Rose and I drove the area, visiting the spots that PB shows as being the candidate HPs, we agree with the PB coordinates.

Area 3 .... on rte #34, at the bend in the road just west of the Knox Presbyterian Church (.1 km west of the "stop-light at the junction of rtes #10/34") and about 40 meters before you get to Mill Street.

Ares 2 ..... at the Smith/Pedleton corner, the highground is in the field to the northwest.

Area 1 - The goggle map in Peakbagger locates the highpoint in the area of Smith/Pedleton corner (Smith street is off of rte #34, about .6km west of the same stop-light noted above), in the field 30M northwest of this corner. The Goggle map's 120M contour runs southwest from Vankleek Hill and from my observations a higher height-of-land could exist about 100M further southwest on the ridge, at a blue farm house with a small barn (reached via a driveway to the right, at west-dead-end of Pendleton Street). We drove there and found no one home at the farm house, I stomped the ridge hopefully touching the highground. To the north is a beautiful panorama of Quebec's Laurentide Mountains and a huge soy bean field to the west.

Hopefully the Mayor will carry out the suggestion, in spite of the costs. It will definitely be an added attraction for the village.

ADDENDUM #1 DATED 2010-04-11
I came back on this date equipped with proper information from PB, check out the Highpoints and added-to/tweaked this TR accordingly.

ADDENDUM#2 DATED 2011-09-05
We were on our way to Ottawa, just one of our frequent trips, to visit our daughter's family, we decided to once again take a short detour through this beautiful area. While here we drove to the blue farm house for a view.
A collie dog approached us as we drove up, a man came out of the barn with a paint brush in hand, he was painting the barn's eave troughs, two outstanding antic cars parked in front of the barn. Neil is the new owner of this 4 acre property, he purchased it last fall primarily because of its location. He loves his view.
He has a teal 56 Caddy "gold line" (gold hub caps and trim) and a black 50 Meteor, the Caddy has only 80,000 miles. Both are outstanding originals in amazing shape, worth a few bucks. Neil is about my age so we had a nice long chat about the cars of the 50ies. I had a 55 Pontiac, 2 door hardtop, and Neil says that "that car" is very rare, an original in excellent condition today is worth 200k$.
Neil was well aware of this property being the HP of the County, I told him about Ontario CoHPs and Peakbagger and to expect the odd visitor, he said that would be OK. I suggested perhaps he should survey/mark the highpoint as a point-of-interest for the community. He wasn't too receptive to the suggestion. "I don't think I need that".
We took photos of his cars, thanked him for his time and continued on to Ottawa. Nice guy.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4 ft / 1 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4 ft / 1 m
    Route:drive up to corner of smith/pedleton, nw of #34
    Start Trailhead:village of vankleek hill "the review"  400 ft / 121 m
Descent Statistics

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