Ascent of Leaf Wilderness High Point on 2018-01-07

Climber: Kreg Ellzey

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, January 7, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Leaf Wilderness High Point
    Elevation:90 ft / 27 m

Ascent Trip Report

Quite the trek/mud slosh/bushwhack/creek ford out to this Wilderness HP. For a short 3.5 mile round trip effort this one will remain in the memory for some time to come.

Parked at the lot along Hwy 57 (31.00729, -088.79365). There is a hiking trail on the north side of the parking area that heads to signage in the woods and crosses the railroad tracks shortly beyond the signage. The trail is randomly marked with orange flagon but in spite of my best efforts I was not able to stay on the trail or follow the flagon with any tremendous amount of success.

After crossing the tracks (there were stairs that were set up for folks to cross the tracks but they are broken and totally useless now), I descended the highground and began walking the western edge of the bottomland swamp in a northerly direction trying my best to circumvent the wetter areas while trying not to get too muddy in the process. This often required some creative root hopping. After a quarter mile or so I shifted my route back to follow the lower edge of the hillside that borders the swamp on its western flanks. I stuck to trekking the toe of the slope, which gave me a bit of high ground to work with and allowed me to speed up a bit.

Once I got away from the swampy area the remainder of the trek out turned into a random meandering that went from bushwacking, to trekking the slope along random game trails, to randomly finding the orange flagon trail, and then randomly loosing the orange flagon trail again, to passing a hunter's deer hide, to crossing a small creek, and back to bushwacking, etc... The further north I got the more I noticed the vegetation shifts to that of more upland type with random spruce pine, slash pine, beech, etc. It remained that way until I reached the highpoint but got denser requiring a moderate bushwack the last 0.10 mile or so.

The HP itself is the usual flat terrain that is typical of southern HPs. There are a number of pimples that dot the area near the HP from past tree falls. This makes it impossible to judge any substantial high ground changes. I can say the coordinates are near two slash pines but otherwise nothing else sticks out as being all that different or provides any substantial landmark. I popped a couple quick photos of the habitat and began my trek back.

My return trek meandered a bit from the route in (see GPS track) but overall followed about the same terrain. It required several rounds of bushwhacking, another stream fording albeit in a different location, passing the same hunting blind again, then locating a second climbing stand hooked to a pine tree, and shortly after that I ran across a steel leg trap for small game. I joined up with the orange flagon trail a number of times but as before, it was impossible for me to stay on it for any distance. I ventured very near a home that sits near where Jerico Loop meets the railroad tracks. I dropped back down the slope and continued trekking out until I noticed the railroad tracks to the west. I ascended the tracks and followed them out to the last short piece of trail leading out to the parking area.

Overall the trek was 3.5 miles roundtrip and took a total of 1 hour 44 minutes to complete. My takeaway: bring a GPS and keep a running track that you can backtrack with. Follow the foot of the slope to avoid the bottomland. Check for ticks and no seeums after you return. Amazingly after a week of sub freezing temps I found some hitchikers. I recommend going during the cooler months as the reduced vegetation helps with the bushwacking/trail finding. Finally, there are definitely hunters using the property so keep an eye out. Maybe even consider donning some blaze orange clothing during hunting season.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8 ft / 2 m
    Total Elevation Loss:8 ft / 2 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:8 ft / 2 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.8 km
    Route:Random Trail/Mudslosh/Bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Parking Area  82 ft / 24 m
    Time:52 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:8 ft / 2 m
    Distance:1.7 mi / 2.8 km
    Route:Bushwhack/Random Trail/Mudslosh
    End Trailhead:Parking Area  82 ft / 24 m
    Time:52 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Kreg Ellzey
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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