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Ascent of Grampian Hills on 2010-08-17

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Grampian Hills
    Location:USA-Michigan
    Elevation:1230 ft / 374 m

Ascent Trip Report

CoHP – OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN
1230+ ft.

Tuesday, 8/17/2010

I visited the four competing contours after rereading the second Bob Schwab trip report that took the two highest elevations out of play. I did not visit Mount Holly or Pine Knob because of their apparent artificial increases to elevation. I am claiming this county “DONE” after stepping on the ground atop the four highest natural contours in the county.

I left Mount Christie and drove to the first contour listed in Schwab’s original report, the one just north of Pontiac. This was a poor strategic decision as I later realized the other three contour candidates all lie in the same (relative) area of the state as Christie. I backtracked the 15 miles or so from Christie to Pontiac in order to do the other three Oakland County candidates.

Directions in prior trip reports are still reasonable to get to the cul-de-sac for the Pontiac contour. I parked on the turn below the grassy path that went up the hill. The “Oakland Crest, Elevation 1240’ MSL” sign was easily seen from where I parked. The hilltop is not part of the neighborhood, instead being private “protected” property – the land is owned by the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy. After a brief walk up to the top, I found two signs nailed to the trees and a bench for weary visitors. (How weary should you be? I could still see my truck parked a mere few feet below me.)

Next stop was the horse farm south of Oakwood Road. The farm is now under new ownership. Sorry, but I failed to get the name. I stopped at the house to ask permission to visit the high ground at the back of the farm. The owner knew it was high ground from her own walks, bit did not realize she was sitting atop Oakland County. She asked a few introductory questions about why I was there. After I explained the mission of HPers, she consented. She told me to follow the road that winds behind the barns, but she requested that I keep the vehicles out of the alfalfa fields that were at the end of the road. I thanked her and set off on my way.

Immediately behind the horse paddock, I could see the elevation increase. With my
GPS pointing up that hill, I parked in a spot quite probably close to where Bob Schwab described. It was a quick bushwhack to the high contour, and I walked around to satisfy myself that I had stepped on the top of the contour.

Back at my truck, I noticed that I had picked up several weed burrs. The number of these “travelers” was tremendous. I had picked up a few while at Maybury Park, but nothing like what was covering me now. I took off my shirt and pants and spent the next 15-20 minutes attempting to clear myself (on the hill side of the truck, away from the farm’s “eyes”). I got most of them off my pants, but I gave up on the shirt. I merely switched to another shirt I had with me. The shirt is still waiting for a clean-up as I pen these words.

At my truck, I was startled when I looked up and spied one of the biggest does I had ever seen. She was passing through the woods about 20 yards from me. I was intrigued because the deer did not seem to be very concerned about me. Perhaps she had become a bit “domesticated” by the number of people who lived and worked at the farm. Rather than bolting off into the woods, the dear meandered along, not too bugged by my presence.

I left the farm and drove to the two areas in the Grampion Hills. The St. Benedict Monastery is a must-see when visitors reach this area. I wish I had a camera to photograph the pleasant mix of contemporary architecture that dominated the buildings. This was a truly lovely area.

I left the monastery and drove up Drahner Road. I stopped at the two crests in the road, and I wandered the south side at the first bump and the north side at the second bump. The south side was marked by a rusty barbed-wire fence that was easily crossed to investigate the territory. Both contours are relatively flat. Wander and then pick your favorite spots as the contour HPs.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear



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