Ascent of Marquette County High Point on 2017-05-15

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, May 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Marquette County High Point
    Elevation:1932 ft / 588 m

Ascent Trip Report

You better allow ample time if you hope to bag this highpoint. First, the drive to the trailhead is over the worse paved road I have ever driven on in my life for over 9 miles. It would have been better if this stretch of road had been left a dirt road. I guarantee, if you drive faster than 40 miles/hour on this road, you will severely damage your vehicle. I had to drive below 25 miles/hour most of distance and there were several spots with dips that were like reverse speed bumps. If you go faster than 10 miles/hour over these obstacles, you might scrape off half of the undercarriage of your car! The trailhead is called the "White Deer Lake Trailhead" and this trail is part of the 4600 mile long North Country National Scenic Trail (the longest recreational trail in the country). The area around the trailhead was once owned by Cyrus H. McCormick, who is famous for inventing the reaping machine. He owned 16,850 acres here, which he purchased in 1904. The last owner, Gordon McCormick, generously donated the land to the State in 1967. Don't be fooled by your GPS data. Mine indicated that I was only 1.7 miles from the highpoint at the trailhead, but you will have to hike much more than that. I followed the trail for awhile until it was completely flooded. A sign at the trailhead warned hikers about this. I naively thought I could still keep my feet dry, so I climbed to higher ground below the bluffs to my right and bushwhacked several hundred feet, however, I never regained the trail. I decided to just start hiking directly to the highpoint, since I was already bushwhacking anyway. As soon as was possible past the bluff, I started following a direct line using my GPS, but I reached a deep stream that forced a scary crossing. Using a submerged, slippery log and a sturdy dead stick I balanced across the stream and thankfully only got wet to shins. If I had fallen in, I would have gotten wet up to my neck and my navigational aid and cell phone would have probably been rendered useless. It was a long bushwhack through some wet areas at times, but I finally reached the Marquette County highpoint after traveling 3.3 miles in 2.5 hours, although 30 minutes of that time was spent talking to other hikers on the trail earlier. The highpoint had no view due to the trees and I was unable to find the register mentioned on other trip reports. For the return trip I decided to try a more direct route and possibly avoid the nasty stream crossing again. During my descent I kept running into old trails which I happily followed, so I could avoid the unpleasant bushwhacking, but each trail always ended before taking me very far. As a result of my wandering path, I found myself back at the same stream I had to cross earlier. Not wanting to take another chance on that type of damp recreation, I noticed on my GPS that it was possible to bypass the stream by hiking south a few hundred yards, then returning to my original direction. I still had a lot of wet ground to cross and in one place I fell into a deep hole with one leg and got wet up to my pocket, but I finally made it back to the original approach trail and I reached my car soon after that. My journey from the highpoint was 2.4 miles and it took me 2 hours, so my total hiking distance was close to 6 miles and I my total adventure took 4.75 hours. I hiked in a drizzle the last 20 minutes and I was very glad to be back at the car. I completely changed out of my wet clothes in the middle of the parking lot and moved on to easier highpoints.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford

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