Ascent of Mississippi County High Point on 2012-04-07

Climber: Tom Owen

Date:Saturday, April 7, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mississippi County High Point
    Elevation:265 ft / 80 m

Ascent Trip Report

Date: 4/7/12
Author: Denis Dean & Tom Owen

Mississippi county Arkansas has at least 8 areas above 265 feet; although the website listing appears to be incorrect as of the writing of this trip report. All the points are in the extreme northeast part of the county, east of Blytheville, AR.
This was only a partial completion for Denis Dean and I but I am writing to help guide others and hopefully resolve access issues to 3 of the points.
Hans Haustein mentions 10 points in his report, but the web site only lists 8. I will attempt to resolve the conflict and numbering system employed on the Arkansas page.

The highpoints:
Following Andy Martin’s County High Points book and using Acme mapper, I propose these as the coordinates for 265+ foot contours in Mississippi county with annotations (note: numbers are derived from the Arkansas page, numbers in annotation follow Hans’ numbers):
Mississippi01 35.99833,-89.73340 northern most (3)
Mississippi02 35.97780,-89.72620 by cemetery (4)
Mississippi03 35.94810,-89.69621 north of steel plant (5-6)
Mississippi04 35.93894,-89.68643 believe this point is in error
Mississippi05 35.93834,-89.68365 south of steel plant (5-6)
Mississippi06 35.92511,-89.66790 gated points (7-9)
Mississippi07 35.91847,-89.66200 gated points (7-9)
Mississippi08 35.91609,-89.66051 gated points (7-9)
Mississippi(not listed) 35.97957, -89.80165 irrigation ditches (1)
Mississippi(not listed) 35.97026, -89.78139 middle of field (2)
Mississippi(not listed) 35.89051, -89.77156 southern most (10)
Denis and I were able to summit all of these points except for the three gated points. For the remainder of this report, I will employ Hans’s numbering system which starts with the western inland points and then moves north to south down the river.

Inland points
From Blytheville, go north on I-55 to exit 71 and go east on AR-150. You will pass a small church and go over a bridge over the irrigation ditch directly north of the contour after about 4 miles; continue on until the road turns right (south) and you go over another irrigation ditch (1.5 miles). There is a dirt farm road leading west to the contour after this bridge. Hans describes this point (Hans’s #1) as manmade, but at worst it might be augmented. There is a gentle slope leading away from the ditch into the field that is not present along the rest of the levee. Denis calibrated his GPS to take a reading and compare it to the other points in Mississippi county.
The other point (#2) is 3/4ths of a mile further along AR-150 in the middle of a field as Hans describes. There was a small barn by the side of the road. Denis found this point to be 1 to 2 feet higher than the one to the northwest.
After these 2 points, we broke for lunch at the Zaxby’s restaurant on AR-18 where we shared the restaurant with the Cooter baseball team (yes, Cooter. Welcome to northeast Arkansas)

Northern Points
These were the last two points we visited in Mississippi county but were probably the easiest. Both points overlook the Mississippi River and are down short dirt roads east of the levee. The most northern point (#3) is as he described. There was another rise in the field further to the south, but, by sight level, it was lower. Make your way to State Hwy 137/County Rd 1015 at the state line and turn east on the road the parallels the state line until it turns right and follow it down to the contour.
The other point, near a grain silo, (#4) was as described as well. Being that is was Easter Saturday, no one was working at the silo. Initially, we did not want to trespass was we had just been asked to leave the property of the steel mill so we went back over the levee and knocked on the door of the first house. We were met by a dozen dogs of various sizes and temperaments. An older gentleman, his wife and adult son were in the side yard though and he was quite excited to see us and was very welcoming. We asked about the small cemetery south of the silo and if we were allowed to go over there. He indicated it was public property and would not be a problem. Upon learning Denis was from Fayetteville, he told us about an ex-girlfriend from his younger days that was from there and said he could easily remember my name since he had lost a brother by the same name. We took our leave as he followed us to the car, talking the whole time. I think we made his day. We crossed back over the levee the drove south to the cemetery where were noticed an ATV parked by the river. We made our way to the contour, not wanting to interrupt the two voices we heard coming from below the bluff. We inspected the contour while the ATV drove away. Afterward, we walked down to the water to contemplate finding a spot to put a boat in to reach the points behind the locked gate some 5 to 6 miles to the south.

Steel Mill Points
These points were also as described on the steel mill property (#5 & #6). We drove on to the property but did not see any signs or gates so we started searching for the contours.
The southern point was easy to find, south of the main road just past a parking area for the employees. It was in a small stand of trees right by the river.
The northern point is north of the main road but was behind a small gate up a short stretch of railroad track. We decided to chance it since we hadn’t seen any security. This contour appears to be gone, having been scrapped away building the steel plant. On the walk back to the car, we encountered a security guard who was not too happy to see us. He had parked blocking our car in and was walking down the tracks to find us. He yelled a little bit but just told us to leave and not come back. Having been to both of the points, we did not have a problem with this strongly worded suggestion.
If you intend to visit the steel plant, you must approach from the south, passing the gated points before you get there. The road on top of the levee is closed and the road through the center of the plant is not accessible.
Make your way towards Wright’s Point along County Rd 236 eventually coming to County Rd 142 at the Kinder-Morgan plant. Turn right, cross over the levee and turn south to reach the still existent contour.

Gated Points
There are 3 points some 3.5 miles behind a posted and locked gate (#7-9). Unfortunately, we did not reach these points and are the cause of our partial completion. The gate itself is easy to find, being just a mile or so south of the steel mill but there are not many signs of civilization. We went to the nearest farm house to ask about the gate and how we might get access. We were met by a Hispanic man who did not know who owned it but discouraged us from going north to the steel mill. He did say that he did not hear gunfire in the area, leading us to believe it is not a hunting area. The security guard from the mill said it was not their property and that it was likely privately owned. We did not have the intention or desire to trespass for a 7 mile round trip so we left it for another day. Further research will need to be done to gain access to this area either through the owner or, as Denis suggests, find a boat ramp and access them by water.
The gate is up over the levee on County Rd 236 where the road splits before going north to the steel mill.

Southern Point
The southern point (#10) is south of a grain terminal on public property near a boat ramp as Hans described. There was not picnic table though and the contour was in stand of trees. This point can be reached by taking AR-18 east from Blytheville and follow it as it curves around until it dead ends at the river and turns south. The contour is about a mile down on the left.
All in all, Mississippi was not very difficult (except the gated points). The points are probably most easily visited going from south to north then the inland points. Both Denis and I will need to return to complete this county, but hopefully sharing this information will help others…or inspire others to find access to the points behind the gate.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack

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