Ascent of Duval County High Point on 2011-03-07

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Monday, March 7, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Duval County High Point
    Elevation:185 ft / 56 m

Ascent Trip Report

Dirt/sand roads and x-country ...... 1.8 miles, 75 minutes RT.

The highground has been all mined/disturbed and is no-longer, some near-by areas have been re-planted with 2-3 feet pines.
I learned from the people I met that DuPont is a huge player in Florida, it has operations in Bradford, Baker, Clay and Duval Counties, mining minerals (titanium, zircon and staurolite) from the sands under the topsoil by pumping the sand to a floatation process, then to a Wet Mill Facility for further processing, after which packaged/shipped to customers such as Nasa. I must say however that the whole operation looks ugly to the eye.

I approached this County from the north road, CR228 (Maxville Macclenny) as per Bill Jacobs TR of 2007. From the intersection hwy 301/CR228, about 1 mile north of the Clay/Duval County Line, we traveled west on CR228 2.1 miles to the Duval/Baker Line, we continued into Baker County a few hundred yards to the wide swath in the woods on the left refered-to by Bill Jacobs. There is a soft-sand road in the swath that leads south about 400 yards to the tall east-west berm with a wide canal and the huge open mined-clearing beyond. We parked on CR228, this was my TH.

I walked the sand road south to the berm and a fenced-in area the width of the swath, posted "No Trespassing", straight ahead there is a culvert in the canal and the only way across. I walked to the left of the fenced-in area to an open gate at the top of the berm where I decided to chance it.
I crossed over the canal and continued 200 yards to a southeast service road (heading in the direction of the Wet Mill in the distance). I followed it less than quarter mile, then east on another dirt road a few hundred yards. The whole area has been worked and nothing is natural, lots of holes, bumps, berms, newly planted areas (2-3 feet pines), pumping stations etc.
I could see higher man-made berms ahead and the Wet Mill beyond, I felt somewhat uneasy so I decided to abort my exploration. On my way back to the canal culvert I met-up with Brigette, in a blue pick-up truck, on the way to the plant. I explained/acknowledged that I was trespassing and was on my way out, she gave me a big friendly smile saying, "No harm done but you should get out". We both agreed that DuPont owns a lot of land, she gave me some info on this area, I told her about my experience with the Baker County Highpoint (she knew Hilton).

When I returned to the culvert, Brigette no-longer in sight, I walked the top of the berm east about 250 yards into Duval County, descended the berm north to the tall pine woods in natural ground, then west along the woods back to the swath and the TH (a la Bill Jacobs).

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:38 ft / 12 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:dirt road/xcountry in a mining operation
    Trailhead:CR228  147 ft / 44 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country

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