Ascent of Jefferson County High Point on 2017-02-28

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose.
It took 4 visits to complete.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Jefferson County High Point
    Elevation:45 ft / 13 m

Ascent Trip Report

According to PB and COHP.ORG this County has 41 Candidate Highpoint Areas ..... yes, 41 !!!!! The west-east chain of candidates are located along the Hwy #90 corridor at the northwest side of the County. To visit them-all will require numerous visits. I will have this-one-only TR, updated accordingly after each visit.
I have numbered the Areas according to PB and visited them in the order listed here. Maps and a GPS is a must.

VISIT #1 DATED 2011-01-16 - SEVEN WESTERN AREAS SOUTHWEST OF NOME (#1 THRU 7) .... a successful visit to all the 7 Areas in 3 1/2 hours.

Our goal today was to visit the 7 seven Areas SW of Nome (#1 thru #7), at the very W end of the chain of candidates (S of hwy 90 and all off of FM 1009). I started with the furthest N candidate Area #7.
It was raining lightly as we left Beaumont this morning on hwy 90W, through the community of China, to a left turn on FM1009 as we entered the community of Nome. We zeroed our odometer.

M 0.00 ... JCT Hwy 90/FM1009, we left southbound on FM1009.
M 1.12 ... AREA 7 -- paved road on left, the driveway on the right leads to a farm house with the HP behind in the area of the silos, the lady had no problem with me walking the area.
M 1.43 ... AREA 5 & 6 -- turned sharply right at the unmarked road , a house at 60 yds on the left amid a huge flat field is AREA 5, further up at .4 miles is AREA 6, also in a large flat field on left, tramped both areas.
M 1.81 ... AREA 4 -- driveway on right leads to a house amid a large a flat field, behind is AREA 4, no one was home, took the liberty to walk the table.
M 2.00 ... Made a left onto Nolte Road at a bend and continued S.
M 2.18 ... AREA 3 -- came to an Overhead Power Lines with silos on the right, I walked left 100 yds along the Power Lines to the high ground.
M 2.37 ... Turned right on Wagley Road and traveled W (short road with 4 houses).
M 2.43 ... AREA 2 -- driveway on right leads 40 yds to a house amid Area 2, the guy working outside had no problem with our presence.
M 2.50 ... AREA 1 -- Arrived at left- bend of Wagley Road with a pond on the right. Parked here, HP is to the W. The road continues/dead-ends ahead at a house, first went there for permission and found no one no home. Then went to the house we just past on the left. The friendly lady knew that this area was the high ground of the County and had no problem with us proceeding.
We left the TH under spitting rain, a track heads due W with the pond on the right (swampy/tall woody area), stayed left at a fork and arrived at a T-JCT at 150 yds where we turned left and at 40 yds made a right turn at another T-Junction. The track continues W (to points unknown) with a slight bend to the right where it enters an open area with dense tall brush. The whole area is flat and impossible to pick "The" HP. After stomping around chose a spot at 60 yds (from second T-JCT) to the right side of the track by a small tree, GPS 30.00674, 94.44333. I tied an orange flag tape to a tree.
The whole hike is .3 miles RT, no bushwacking involved, backtracked to the TH.

We went back to Hwy 90, then W through Houston, where all you see is roads and more roads, to Victoria for the night. Being new to this part of Texas I found today's exercise on the flat table somewhat-like, "This is highpointing?".

VISIT #2 DATED 2015-01-21 - SIXTEEN AREAS BETWEEN NOME AND THE LOWER NECHES VALLEY AUTHORITY CANAL ON THE WEST SIDE OF CHINA (#8 THRU #22 inclusive + #40) .... a successful visit to 14 of the 16 areas .... 2.5 miles, 5:30 hours totals. I was unsuccessful at only areas #11 and #19

We started at the same intersection as on VISIT #1, Hwy 90/FM 1009, where we zeroed our odo.

M 0.00 ... JCT Hwy 90/FM 1009, we went E on #90.
M 0.4 ... turned right (S) onto Avenue C.
M 0.7 ... left turn (E) on Kotz Road
M 0.9 ... AREA #8 (30.03072,-94.41633), successful .... parked at house #1635 Kotz on the right, lady was surprised with my request, she allowed me to walk around.
M 1.0 ... AREA #9 (30.03261,-94.41452), successful .... I continued E and parked in front of house #1625 Kotz on the right, on the left (N) is a driveway, I walked the driveway 200 yds N to AREA #9, at some shrubbery on the right. We continued E.
M 1.4 ... turned left (N) on FM 365, crossed #90 to FM 356
M 1.9 ... turned right (E) on Old Nome Road. This road is immediately N/parallel-to the RR Tracks and 50 yds N of #90.
M 2.0 ... AREA #10 (30.04161,-94.40273), successful .... parked at Sunoco Pipe Line sign. The high ground is .25 miles N inside the large flat contour in open field. I hopped over the ditch (narrow at this spot) to a track on S side of field, 50 yds E turned left on another track which led N to the flat contour. Has to be visited in the off-season. Returned to Old Nome Road and drove E.
M 2.7 ... AREA #13 (30.04256,-94.39462), successful .... "Douget Turf Farm" garage is on the left and the high ground is to the N. No one at the garage, took the liberty to proceed. I walked the service road N half+ miles and stomped the contour. Another impossible one, the high ground (????) is on the fence line on the right side of the road. I backtracked W on Old Nome Road to Hwy #90.
M 3.5 ... back to JCT FM 356/Old Nome Road, crossed RR tracks and went E on #90.
M 4.4 ... AREA #11 (30.03753,-94.39315), unsuccessful .... 2 houses on right #23067 & #23000, both gated and therefore no access, left it for another visit (see Visit #3) . We continued E.
M 4.8 ... turned right (S) on Thomson Road.
M 5.0 ... AREA #12 (30.03741,-94.38727), successful .... parked at unmarked driveway on right. I walked W 100 yds to an industrial garage, no one around, walked the area. We continued S on Thomson Rd.
M 5.4 ... AREA #14 (30.03179,-94.38362), successful .... house #4179 is on left. Drove the long driveway E to the house, a guy working in his garage behind the house allowed me to walk around. A fence opening behind the garage allowed me to check out the woods to the N. Returned to Thomson Road and went N.
M 6.0 ... turned right (E) on #90.
M 6.3 ... AREA #15 (30.03975,-94.37981), successful .... House # 22021 is on the right, just before is a large sign "For Sale". I went to the fairly new house, Michael appeared somewhat confused with my request, "High Point, over here?". He allowed me to look around, "You can go to the house next door, it's a real dump, the guy doesn't live here. there is an opening between my fence and his."
I walked the back yard, full of donkey bump, 2 donkeys were at a rough looking shed. Nothing is really obvious, the high ground is behind the "for sale" house. We continued driving E on #90.
M 7.2 ... turned left on McDermond Road and went N over RR Tracks,
M 7.3 ... turned left (W) on Old Nome Road.
M 7.4 ... AREA #16 (30.04535,-94.36661), successful .... Parked at house #1840 on the right, there was no one home at the little/fenced-in white house (N of the road) sitting on the high ground. I took the liberty walk the area. Back to the road and stayed W.
M 7.5 ... AREA #18 (30.04703,-94.36755), successful ..... an unnamed driveway on the right. Drove N 300 yds to the somewhat obvious high ground in the middle of the road. Stomped this pasture land, cows in the area. Continued W on Old Nome Road.
M 7.6 ... AREA #17 (30.04600,-94.36950), successful .... house #2350 on the right, drove N to house sitting on the high ground. Guy was working on a tractor's electrical system at the garage in the back of the house. Allowed me to walk around. Returned to the road & reversed our directions and drove E on Old Nome Road.
M 8.2 ... AREA #40 (30.04520,-94.36108) successful .... parked on road, the high ground is N 40 yds inside dense underbrush, fighting my way inside the dense brush was not easy. Continued E.
M 8.4 ... gated grass track on left, signed "Member Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Ass, Inc, Posted". Parked here (30.04533,-94.35854), this was my TH for Areas #21, 20 & 19. I hopped the gate and walked the grass track N 300 yds then entered the woods on the left (W), once inside the woods are fairly open.
AREA #21 (30.04770,-94.35896), successful .... found it at 25 yds W of the grass track. An animal food station is at 30 yds W, didn't think of looking for a service track. I continued W, slightly dropping to a low/wet area before ascending again.
AREA #20 (30.04756,-94.35972), successful .... at 100 yds W of #21, the underbrush somewhat denser. I backtracked E to the grass track and continued walking N.
AREA #19 (30.05057,94.36161), unsuccessful .... I walked N on the grass track for another 400 yds (.4 miles from TH), then wacked W 300+ yds. Dense patches, impossible to move around or locate the HP. This is a long N-S contour, decided to leave it for another day. It needs further study (see Visit #4).
***** NB ??????? see note below.
I backtracked to Rose at the TH, and as I was getting cleaned up, a lady in an SUV stopped to question/advise us that this is private property. She was polite and didn't say as much but her body language told us that we had no business being there. Its noted that the sign only said "posted", nothing about No Trespassing. We continued E on Old Nome Road.
M 8.8 ... turned left on Blanch Road and drove N.
M 9.2 ... AREA #22 (30.05071,-94.35285), successful .... at house #1705 Blanch Road on the left (west), no one home, took the liberty to walk the area.

***** NB ???????
When entering this TR I noted a possible small 50 foot contour (not clear), inside the Area #19 40' contour, W of Area #20. Is it possible that there is one only 50' contour at 30.04804,-94.36177, just W of Area #20 ???? thereby eliminating all of the other candidates ???? Access to it appears easy (from house to its S). Wouldn't that be great if this is correct. Needs to be pursued. ??????????
I later presented this subject to Michael Schwartz who in turn got the opinion of Andy Martin, Fred Lobdell and Greg Slayden. It was concluded that the small 50' contour is a depression and wrongly shown on the map .... Greg revised the site accordingly .... however it was generally agreed that a site visit needs to be made in order to confirm these opinions. Maybe on another visit ???

With this second visit we have now successfully completed 21 of the 41 areas.

VISIT 3 DATED 2017-02-27 -- AREA #11 + 15 NORTH-SOUTH AREAS IN CHINA OFF OF BROADWAY/CHINA ROADS (#23 thru #36 inclusive + #41) .... a successful visit to 12 of the 16 areas. I was unsuccessful at Areas #23,25,26&27. (allow 5 1/2 hours).

We started in China, the stop light at JCT90/Broadway), 5.5M E of our start for our 1st 2 visits (JCT 90/FM1009).

0.0M ... zeroed our odo, JCT 90/Broadway and went N on Broadway.
0.1M ... 4-way JCT with Old US 90, stayed N on Broadway.
0.3M ... left is W Washington Road, which leads/dead-ends .3M W where one could easily hop a gate for Areas 27,25&26 all pasture land (a quick trip). Didn't feel too inviting, decided to look for another approach (see Visit 4). Returned to Broadway.
0.5M ... left is W Vera St., 175 yds W is a football field on the left (S) with AREA 28 (30.05452,-94.33862). We drove to the house at W/dead-end of Vera St and talked to Greg Ferguson about Areas 25,26&27 to the W. Apparently leased as grazing land by a guy who lives due W of him. Told us how to get there (We didn't feel right asking him to hop the guy's electrified fence behind his fence). Has a baseball field and batting cage on his property (A Field of Dreams), originally built for his kids, now runs a baseball clinic, has to turn away clients. Returned to Broadway.
0.7M ... on the left is Benoit St which leads W and N to a Cemetery and AREA 24 (30.05881,-94.34351), A very large NW-SE contour, with the high ground at the cemetery. Didn't try for AREA 23 (see Visit 4). Returned to Broadway.
1.0M ... after xing Lower Neches Valley Authority Canal, Blanch Road is on the left and heads W (to 4 Areas) - at .2M is AREA 29 on the left at house #315) - at another .3M is AREA 30 on the left and on the right is AREA 31 at old farm house #600 (Cathy Lewis was very nice, her husband has passed away, has trouble maintaining the farm, says that this is the highest in Jefferson, never gets any water with the heavy rains). We continued W on Blanch Road for 200+ yds to a sharp right on a gated farm track, our TH for AREA 32 (I walked N 400 yds over a ditch, then a grass field E 250 yds to the high ground). Returned to Broadway.
1.3M ... Westbury Road on the right leads to Areas 37,38&39 (see Visit 4)
1.4M ... driveway on the left leads to a farm with numerous buildings and a row of silos. At the road is the Historic Marker "SITE OF WW2 PRISONER OF WAR CAMP (China Branch Camp)". We talked to a few fellows, "I know that we are on high ground here but I was told the highest point in the county is further N." His location puts it at Area 34.
I walked the grass field 100+yds NW to AREA 41 (30.07044,-94.34181), then 250 yds NE to AREA 33 (30.07174,-94.33986). A bit of a visible swell. Returned to Broadway - someplace north of here the road name changes N Chine Road.
1.8M ... House on right MB #2028, parked here. On left W is an unfenced grass field which contains AREA 34 (30.07481,-94.33819) at 150 yds.
2.0M ... parked on right side of road just past tall fenced area, no fence here. AREA (30.07667,-94.33243) is a .25M bushwack to the E.
2.9M ... China Road turns right (E).
3.3M ... house #3584 is on the left (S), somewhat in poor repair. With permission a good access to AREA 36 (30.08744,-94.32932), about 250 yds S of house. A large NW-SE contour.

AREA 11 (the driving directions are with Visit 2) .... successful
We found an open gate at #23067 and a number of workers at the farm (garages with lots of farm equipment). The Owner, Mr. Jeffcoat, was very friendly and accommodating. He said he bought the place, knowing it was high ground with a 45' very huge contour, with plans for a subdivision. Said that he understands the HP of the county to be on the north part of China.
He built the house #23000 next door right on what he considers "the" HP. His daughter lives there. He allowed us to drive over the back way and check out the area.

With this 3rd Visit we have now successfully completed 33 of the 41 areas.

VISIT 4 DATED 2017-02-28 ... THE 3 MOST NORTH-EASTERN AREAS (#37,38&39) + 5 UNSUCCESSFUL AREAS FROM PREVIOUS VISITS (#19,23,25,26&27). ... allow around 5 hours. Happy to report that this visit completes this county.

Today is our 63rd day of our 87 day "Winter Trip 2017" and our last day COHPing in Texas. Rose and I met our goal this winter "to visit/attempt all of the Texas Counties" - we however succeeded in only 231 Counties, the remaining 23 (except for a few) will probably be not done because of access issues. We will however do our best to research the required permission. As they say in French, "C'est la vie".
I am hopeful that my success will motivate others to put Texas on their radar screen.
Access issues due to fences and some landowners are the major risk obstacles, not to mention a lot of rough back road driving. The actual hiking is not a problem but not without risks. COHPERS know full well that "success without risk does not exist".
I have entered TRs where necessary to help my fellow COHPERS.

AREA 23 ... xcountry
We returned to the W end of Benoit Street where the road turns right (N) to the Cemetery. On the left is driveway #601 that leads S-W to a large house at 200 yds from Area 23. No one home so we opted for another approach. The cemetery is inside a rectangular paved road, we parked at the S-W corner of this rectangular. I stepped thru the fence and walked grazing land 400 yds S-W to the high ground.
We went back to Broadway then N to the Broadway/Westbury Road JCT (see Visit #).

0.0M ... we zeroed our odo at JCT Broadway/Westbury and went N-E on Westbury.
2.6M ... road turns right changes name to Old Sour Lake Road.
2.9M ... AREA 37 (30.08874,-94.30268). a small (somewhat hidden)) driveway on the left MB#15614 (just passed a large house MB#15665) leads N 150+ yds to a house/barns/corrals with horses. We went to both of these house (no one home) which are inside the high ground contour. Had to make my way through gated corrals to check out the area. We continued driving east.
3.5M ... on the left is Kolander Road, our road for AREA 38. We drove N on Kolander for .7M to a T-JCT of sorts, Kolander continues left. On the right is a gated service road (open) that leads .5M N-E to the high ground at a gas platform.
4.5M ... turned left (N) onto Moore Road.
5.5M ... 2 parallel driveways on the left #1247. We drove to the first one. The lady knew nothing of the HP saying, "Its pretty wet back there, maybe the guy next door cam help you." So we went to the next driveway (2 tracks, the house at about 200+ yds back from the road). No one home, we walked to the high ground of AREA 39 (30.10299,-94.27990), ponds in the area. We drove back to China.

AREAS 25, 26 & 27 .... .5M, 18 minutes RT.
We tried to go to the farm house recommended to us by Greg Ferguson (entrance on Old Hwy 90, .7M W of Broadway). A locked gate(??). There was no way I was going to walk away empty handed, so we went to the west end of Washington Road and hopped the gate for a quick .5M CW run to all 3 areas.

See Visit 2 (Mile Marker "8.2M") for the driving directions to Area 40. 50 yds west of this Area is house #15684 with a long concrete driveway and nicely decorated grounds to the house set back in. We went there and found no one home, except for a large barking dog inside the house, (Grrrr). We drove back out and waited at the driveway entrance for half an hour, before deciding to risk a walk N to the HP, while Rose stayed behind to deal with the consequences (she wouldn't have any). I first went 250 yds N to the famous contour talked about at Visit 2 - then another 300 yds to the long N-S contour and once again stomped/fought my way inside the dense rough brush. Insanity. I called it good(??).

This visit completes Jefferson County, and as I've noted numerous of times before, something needs to be done with these multiple-areas counties - visiting contours is not visiting HPs. This to me is not "COHPing" but more like "County Contour HPing".

I must say that the risk involved in a number of the areas made me very uncomfortable/nervous-like - always rushing and on the defense. The same can be said for a lot of the Texas Counties.


Summary Total Data
    Route:visit 4 to 8 areas completes county
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack

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