Ascent of Kleberg County High Point on 2004-01-14

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Bob Martin
Date:Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Kleberg County High Point
    Elevation:168 ft / 51 m

Ascent Trip Report

Bob and I arrived into the community of Ben Bolt at the junction of FM-2508 and US-281. It was late in the day, so we spent the remaining sunlight driving FM-2508 east, scouting for places to park and hike. South of FM-2508 are fields and pastures, and set back three-quarters of a mile, a continuous stand of natural large-growth trees. These trees run along the Jim Wells-Kleberg county line, and is the north boundary of the famous King Ranch. The highpoints of Kleberg County all lie on this ranch.

At one point, we drove in one of these field roads to some guy sitting in the bed of his truck, a rifle on his lap. We thought he might have useful information. He was "hunting", and not too pleased when we rolled up. He turned out to be of no use to us, so we went on our way.

When darkness rolled in, we drove to another nearby Farm-to-Market highway, FM-1352. This road dead-ended into the Texas brush country, so we figured no one would drive by to bother us. We found a spot that looked friendly and parked, settling in for the night. The plan was to sleep in our cars.

I joined Bob in his camper for a dinner when two Jim Wells County Sheriff's deputies showed up. They were naturally curious why we were here. We told them the truth and they seemed okay with our story. They told us that this road gets all sorts of teenagers and partiers and drinkers. We said that since two old guys like us were here, maybe the teenagers would go party somewhere else. They liked our way of thinking and let us stay. I slept in my rental car in the front seat. The coyotes howled all night!

Early the next morning, we drove to Ben Bolt, where I parked my car in a church parking lot and rode with Bob. We drove back to that side road where the guy had been "hunting". The road was now closed with a chain-link gate. Bob parked underneath some big trees and we started walking south along this road, aiming for the big trees off in the distance. In a few minutes, we were at these trees. We scooted under a fence and onto the King Ranch property.

The change in scenery was dramatic. On the King Ranch, the flora was essentially undisturbed and unchanged from how it was for the past eons. The only hint of man's presence here was a narrow, badly-thrashed road of some sort that paralleled the trees that marked the northern boundary.

There are four areas, each within 165-foot contours, with one area showing a 168-foot spot elevation on the map. Three areas are on the northern boundary, so we walked this road east for 0.4 mile, and in the process covered two of the areas, each time sensing the barest of rises. We then walked west for 1.5 miles to the 168-foot area.

The fourth area is south about 0.4 mile. We walked through open country and ranch roads to this last area. All of our positions were verified with GPS, and we felt this southern area may be the highest. We didn't waste time, and quickly hiked back to the north fence line and off of the King Ranch property. Our total time on the property about an hour.

We were back to Bob's truck after three hours and nearly six miles of hiking. I picked up my vehicle and we convoyed into Falfurrias in Brooks County.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:138 ft / 42 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country

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