Ascent of Mills County High Point on 2018-01-25

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
Per my TR.
Date:Thursday, January 25, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Mills County High Point
    Elevation:1795 ft / 547 m

Ascent Trip Report

This County has 6 areas and it required 3 visits for me to complete the county, all as per this one only TR. I have numbered them a la PB and visited them in the order listed below. It is amazing the changes in this county observed on our 3rd visit - a Wind Farm installation is in the process of being completed.

VISIT 1 DATED 2015-01-28(b) .... on this first visit I was successful on only 2 areas (5 & 6).

AREA 2 & 5
We found our way to Priddy where we picked up FM 218 and went west approx 6 miles to its crest, my planned access for Areas 2 & 5 (both north of FM 218). If coming from the west it is 3.3 miles to JCT FM 218/573.
The area to the north has 2 grazing pastures (east and west) with separate entrances. On this day the west pasture was all full of animals (cattle and goats), whereas the pasture to the east with the Area 5 small contour had none.
AREA 5 (31.68592,-98.60210) .... successful .... easy 300 yards RT.
I hopped the east gate (with no animals) and walked north 100+ yards, nothing obvious.
AREA 2 ..... unsuccessful .... located to the northwest, no access on this day.
**** I should note that on the south side of the road (along the fence line) opposite the west entrance is a Witness Post Survey Marker with 3 BMs (all in a row along the fence) "NATIONAL GEODETIC SURVEY, DEMOCRAT 1975".

AREA 3 & 4 .... both unsuccessful.
Both located north of FM 218 in pasture land. We checked out the fence line west of the crest-of-the-road and there are places to hop over, however not on this day - full of animals. I decided to leave them for another day.

AREA 6 (31.70050,-98.67142)..... successful .... 1 mile RT, the nicest of the 4 areas I visited.
We continued west on FM 218 to its junction with FM 573 in Democrat, we stayed west on FM 218 for 1.2 miles to a right turn on CR 195 (heads north into Brown County where it becomes CR 303), 1.2 miles north is Beards Gap with a private entrance on the right (this is Brown County, mailbox #1801, CR 303). We drove the driveway .25 miles southeast to the nice house on top of the ridge.
Darrel Brocher (spelling ????) gave us permission to proceed, he has a huge RV which apparently gets little use. His nephew is into States High Pointing. He allowed me to proceed.
I walked the open ridge southeast (grazing land with nice open views) .4 miles to the high ground contour and an east-west fence line which I believe (not sure) is the County Line. North is grazing land, south is woods.
I hopped the fence and wacked inside the dense woods, animal paths eases the way. Nothing obvious, chose a spot 10 yards south of fence.
We went back to Democrat, then south on FM 573 to a left turn on CR 133.

AREA 1 ... unsuccessful
We drove CR 133 east for 1.8 miles to ranch #190 "Medford Family, since 1887" on the right, to check out the west side approach. The gate was open so we drove-in to the house, but found no one home. By looking at the farm facilities, it was obvious that there was no way to get through the ranch without permission/direction (fence/gates/animals all over the place).
We then found our way to the south side JCT CR130/CR131 and drove CR 131 north to its end at a number of locked gates, horses in the pasture to the north. The HP is about 1.5 miles to the north. Not good on this day.

VISIT 2 DATED 2017-01-25(b) ... successful at 2 areas (2 & 4), 1.4 miles, 50 minutes RT.

AREA 2 ... successful xcountry, .4 miles, 15 minutes RT.
We went back to the road crest of FM 218 and found all of the animals on the east side pasture and none to the west so I was able to access AREA 2.

AREA 4 .... successful xcountry northbound, 1 mile, 32 minutes RT.
An unposted gate is on the north side of FM 218, .4 miles west of the Witness Post Survey Marker refered-to above. No animals in sight, so I hopped this gate and went xcountry north to AREA 4.
AREA 3 .... unsuccessful .... From Area 4 I didn't like the looks to the north for AREA 3. - back to the drawing board for this one.

There are 2 outstanding areas #1 and 3, both require permission.

UPDATE 2017-11-22
This year I put in the major effort to get the necessary permission for ALL of my 23 outstanding Texas Counties. Mills county being one of them (for Area 1 & 3), and I would luck-out.
In May I sent a letter to the Mills County Appraisal District Office for the property owners' contact information. They promptly/professionally responded via an email (names and addresses) - Area 1 (Medford D T), Area 3 (Holley-Rocking H Entrepries LP). A request letter to both went unanswered.
I have put this one in the "NOT ACCESSIBLE" category for now, however should I be in the area I just may check them out, especially Area 1.

VISIT 3 DATED 2018-01-25 .... successful at AREAS 1 & 3 thereby completing the County.
As noted in the Update above, we were in the area so why not pay another visit to the 2 remaining areas. Lady luck as always watched over us and today was no different - we would succeed.

The first thing that hit us on the drive-in to Mills County was the Wind Turbines!!!!!! They weren't here 12 months ago, but today the whole N-S ridge, home to the 5 candidate high point areas (1,2,3,4,5), has a N-S Wind Farm as far as the eye can see. We would learn that the Construction Site's home base, complete with buildings and Sub-Station is at the crest of Hwy #218 (at Area 2 & 5, as noted in my first visit), and that its service road which runs along the N-S ridge starts at #218 and provides easy access to all of these 5 areas. Assuming of course the service road will be open to the hiker (?? doesn't appear to be the case).

AREA 1 .... a successful drive up.
We first went back to #190 CR 133 "Medford Family" gate and found it open, so we drove up to the house and once again animals all over the place living in harmony (goats, sheep, cats, dog and armadillos). Maxine who answered the door, invited us in the house and led us to their bedroom, where Dwayne was sitting in a chair watching TV. The 90 year old, who has not been well lately was born on the ranch, used to walk the ridges as a youngster, which today are home to a Wind Farm.
He had no problem with me going to the HP, "You can drive up there, just take the gate to the right of the barn."
Had a long chat about a number of subjects, a number of times saying "You can come back anytime." Dwayne and Maxine Medford have been married for 65 years. Dwayne's grandfather originally bought the ranch and over the years they've sold a number of parcels.
The 4 armadillos they have around the house are the dog's best friends.
The Wind Farm installation started last June, 4 Turbines are on his property, apparently royalties are something like 6-700$ per month per unit.
Told us that he received a letter a while back from a guy who wanted to do the same thing, "I get loads of mail, so I didn't bother with it." I didn't tell him that it was my letter.
The Medfords are extremely warm/generous people. We gave them maple syrup in a Canadian-maple-leaf-shaped-bottle as a token of our appreciation (we brought a bunch of bottles with us for these types of people)
From the house we drove west through the farm buildings, up the ridge 1 mile to the N-S Wind Farm service road, then north (over a cattle grate at a fence line) .3 miles to AREA 1, nothing obvious. I believe the HP is not on the Medford farm but rather on the neighbor to the north.

AREA 3 (31.70728,-98.61353) ... a successful drive up
We drove back to the crest of Hwy #218 at Area 2 & 5, all sorts of activity going on, gates open, trucks/machinery all over the place. We just drove north on the service road (workers just waved), passing by Areas 5, 2 and 4 on-route to AREA 3 at less than 2 miles, nothing obvious.
Hopefully once the Wind Farm is completed county highpointers will be allowed on these service roads, thereby providing easy access to these 5 Areas.

A good decision on our part, thank you lady luck, 22 to go.


Summary Total Data
    Route:drive ups to 2 areas
    Trailhead:CR 133 and Hwy FM 218.  -9999 ft / -3047 m

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