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Ascent of Chalk Peak Northwest on 2017-01-28

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 28, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Chalk Peak Northwest
    Location:USA-Texas
    Elevation:2490 ft / 758 m

Ascent Trip Report

This Wind Farm County has 21 candidate high point areas, all just inside (west-of) the Nolan/Taylor County Line and of course inside huge Wind Farms. I have numbered the Areas a la PB and visited them as listed here - it would take me 3 visits to complete. They are bunched in 3 areas:
1) 3 NORTHERN AREAS (#1,2&3)
2) 9 MIDDLE AREAS NEAR JCT FM126/FM89 (#4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,&12)
3) 9 SOUTHERN AREAS (#13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20&21)
I should note that topo map/GPS is a must.
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VISIT 1 DATED 2015-02-02 ... a reconnaissance visit to check out access issues.
We drove the roads to the different areas and checked out access, didn't go to the main office as I thought it would be a waste of time. Everywhere we went there was worker traffic, so entry without permission was not to my liking, a lot of time is required here. However with some driving the areas can be reached in-out from main roads (unlike Shackelford but like Nolan). I think a quite time or weekends with some risk might be doable !!!!
Not in a risky mood so we moved on to Nolan County.
I find it truly amazing and mind boggling the extent of the Wind Farms in these Texas Counties, turbines in all directions as far as the eye can see. They overpower everything, the view and the noise ..... what happened to the "noise of silence or the wind", how/why people can live here and allow these installations is beyond me. This is ugly stuff.
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VISIT 2 DATED 2017-01-27 ...successful to 12 Areas (Northern and Middle areas)... 18.5 miles RT of easy hiking, allow 9 long hours including the in-between driving.
We had a very quite/sunny visit with no traffic inside the Farms and on the roads. We did not run into anyone except for one meeting which needs to be reported. All fence hopping was of the low variety except for the one tall fence on way to Area 12 (talked about below), all easy flat road/grassland walking.
HIKER BEWARE: When I came back to the TH from my trip to Areas 9-12 (northwestt of JCT 126/89). I got cleaned up, and as we were ready to leave, a couple in a truck pulled up to ask if we needed help. After chatting a bit he told us that the guy who owns the land to the west of our TH (Area 9 with the horses) is apparently not very friendly to strangers. "Texans are generally friendly but not this guy, I suggest you stay out of there." Perhaps a safer access point needs to be found (!!! memories of my Victoria County attempt).
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VISIT 3 DATED 2017-01-28 ... successful to the 9 Southern Areas ... 6 miles RT of easy hiking, allow 6 hours.
Another exceptional quite/sunny day, Rose did not have one vehicle go-by while she waited for me at the TH (on the small road Nolan CR197).
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DRIVING/HIKING DIRECTIONS TO THE 21 AREAS

1) 3 NORTHEN AREAS (approached from the north)... road walk, 8 miles, 2:50 hours RT.
From I-20, exit 263, in Tye, we zeroed our odo and traveled south.
0.0M ... left I-20, exit 263 southbound to an immediate right onto North East Street.
0.7M ... turned left (south) on FM1085
3.1M ... turned right (west) on CR370
4.1M ... turned left on CR611
6.2M ... gated service road on the right with old oil tanks, only sign "H2S POISON GAS". Parked here, this was our TH. CR611 continues 200 yds to a left turn.
I hopped the gate and walked/climbed the road westerly 1.1M (300'ascent) to the E-W ridge, grazing lands with a service road for long row of Wind Turbines.
-- Right turn (west) is .8M to AREA 1.
-- Left turn (east) is .8M to AREA 2, the another 1.3M tp AREA 3.
Overall a flat/easy walk except for the .3M (300' ascent) moderate/steep climb to the ridge. I didn't see anyone, a truck passed-by Rose without stopping.


2) 9 MIDDLE AREAS .... 10.5 miles, 5.45 hours.
From the Northern Areas TH we returned to FM1085 and continued south 5.7M to a right on FM126, 11.2 miles south arrived at JCT FM126/FM89 - our main reference point for the 9 Middle Areas.

4 AREAS EAST OF THE REFERENCED JCT AND NORTH OF FM89 ... 4.7 miles, 2:20 hours including all driving
All of these 4 hikes are in tall grass land with ash juniper.
0.0M ... we zeroed our odo at the referenced JCT 126/89 and first went to the Areas to the east.
0.8M ... AREA 7 is .4M to the north in the area of the Wind Farm Road, 2 fence lines to deal with.
1.6M ... AREA 6 is .2M to the north.
3.0M ... gated/unsigned entrance on left leads to AREA 5 & 4. (3.5 miles, 1:20 hours RT)
I walked the road north .2M to AREA 5 on the left inside a patch ash-juniper woods, spent a lot of time looking for the "Rhodes BM" with no luck.
I continued north a short distance to the first jct and turned right, then northeast where at 1M from Area 5 road dips, on the left is grass track with an unlocked gate. I turned left and followed the track (past an old windmill) .3M north then turned left and went west xcountry .2 miles to the AREA 4 high ground (grass land with open ash-juniper, somewhat rough).
We returned to the Referenced JCT

4 AREAS NORTHWEST OF REFERENCED JCT 126/89. .... road/grassland, 5.5 miles, 3:10 hours RT.
.3M north of the referenced JCT 126/89 on 126 is an E-W Power Line ROW. On the west side is a locked gate, this was our TH. There is nothing obvious in all of these areas.
I walked the ROW west .5 miles to AREA 9, 100 yds further west is farm track going north which I took for 300 yds to a Wind Farm service road (past a Communication Tower on the left). I continued north on the service road .5M to AREA 10 (on the right east of a Turbine). I continued north and in .1M
was my only obstacle of this trip - a tall fence not at all to my liking. I walked the outside of the fence line .2M north to a sturdy fence corner. AREA 11 is 250 yds east of this corner mid open ash-juniper woods.
AREA 12 is another 1M north to the right of service road.
HIKER BEWARE: Pls se my note noted in Visit 2.
AREA 8 an easy hike, see my tomorrow's "9 Southern Areas" for directions.


3) 9 SOUTHERN AREAS ... 10.4 miles, 4:30 hours
From JCT 126/89 it is .75M west on 126 to Nolan CR198 on the left (100 yds west of County Line). We zeroed our odo here.
0.0M ... JCT FM126/CR198 we drove south.
0.2M ... gated road on the left leads east 100yds to AREA 8
2.1M ... T-JCT turned left on CR197 followed by an immediate right.
2.5M ... 4-way xing with a gated Wind Farm service road. AREA 13 is .7M to the east.
3.3M ... 4-way xing with gated Wind Farm service road. The road to the east is my route for the remainder of the areas. I walked the road east .7M to Turbine #S80, then xcountry south (over a fence) .2M to AREA 14 (at a hunters stand). I then went xcountry east (over a fence and across the service road) .6M to AREA 15.
I returned west to the service road and continued south 3+ miles, as it makes 3 jogs to the 6 most southern AREAS 16,17,18,19,20&21. All easy off the road.
While I was away 2 trucks passed by Rose without stopping.
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CONCLUSION/OPINION
1) AREAS 8,10,11&13 are right on the N-S County Line, the tip of contours spilling over from Nolan County (very small) and in my opinion are not contenders.
2) AREA 3 and the 6 most southern AREAS (16,17,18,19,20&21) are very small contours and also not contenders.
3) This county has at the very most 10 contenders.


"TEXAS IS #1 IN THE NATION IN THE PRODUCTION OF OIL AND GAS, CATTLE, COTTON, SHEEP AND GOATS, WOOL AND MOHAIR AND HAY ..... I AM GUESSING THAT THEY WANT TO BE #1 IN WIND POWER PRODUCTION, IF NOT ALREADY."


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Extra Gain:60 ft / 18 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.4 mi / 16.7 km
    Route:9 southern areas
    Trailhead:Nolan CR198  2460 ft / 749 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country



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