Ascent of Beaver Mountain on 2010-10-05

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Beaver Mountain
    Elevation:1620 ft / 493 m

Ascent Trip Report

1620+ ft.
Beaver Mountain, in the Cookson Hills State Game Refuge

Tuesday, 10/5/2010

After Poteau Mountain, it was on to OK for my next adventure. I looked at my notes and was satisfied there were no more AR HPs in the near area. I know OK is a wide state. But it still sounds sort of cool to say I visited OK on this trip. Besides, any successful OK summits would set a new personal-best for the westernmost extent of my HPing glob.

Once again, I followed my GPS to the mountain. At first, I thought I was following Bill Shuler’s path, but in retrospect, I am not so sure. I left Blue Top Road about 5 miles from Cookson, just as Bill had done. However, even though I encountered some similar landmarks, I don’t think I followed Bill’s route to the summit. Here is my description of the journey.

I approached this one from the south/east, so I didn’t ever pass through Cookson. However, in looking at maps, I could see and agree that I was about 5mi away from Cookson. SHULER UPDATE: I did not find Hwy 89 anywhere on the map in Cookson. I believe Bill may have meant Hwy 82, which does intersect Blue Top Road in Cookson.

I approached the area from I-40 heading west from AR. I exited the interstate in Salisaw and traveled north on US17. At some point the US17 designation was lost, and I was on N4610 Rd per the Acme map’s “Map” view. Later, I was on N4600 Rd, a/k/a Old Hwy US17 a/k/a S. Blue Top Road.

I believe I drove past Bill’s route, which may have left the paved road at N35.65963 W94.82841. This road is a/k/a D0935 Rd a/k/a Tower Road, and it goes up Beaver Mountain to the summit.

I believe I left Blue Top Road at N35.67954 W94.84664 because the area looks familiar when I look at the “Satellite” view in Acme maps. Ironically, this dirt road is directly opposite the Game Refuge headquarters on Blue Top Road. However, I did not see the HQ area when I made my turn to the east.

The satellite view also confirms what I remember about the foliage of the area. The first several feet were through a woodsy area. I passed through a wooden fence and a gate overhead that I recall saying something about entering a conservation/refuge area. A few hundred feet later, I encountered a steel gate that was padlocked to block vehicle traffic.
Just beyond the gate was a game check-in station at the start of a clearing, and this is why I originally thought I had arrived at a same point as Shuler. My check-in station can be seen on the Acme map at N35.68137 W94.84439 right where the road splits briefly into two sections.

There was room to turn around and park just before the gate, so I did. I wanted to survey the situation and decide what to do. One of the first things I saw was a small cemetery to the left. I walked over to investigate it, and I found about 20 rather old tombstones and gravesites, some there since the 1800’s. This cemetery does not show up on the topo map.

It was only 1:00pm when I arrived, and it was a nice day for a hike. My GPS showed the summit to be 1.97mi away. So I decided to load my pack with supplies and make an ascent from here. I had water, pizza (from last night, remember?) and some other snacks, so I was set. I ate a piece of pizza at the truck and grabbed another one for along the way. I started munching and hiking.

My route is not seen on the topo version, but you can easily see it by looking at the satellite or hybrid views in Acme maps. The same images can be seen clearly in Google Earth. I first walked up to the check-in station and investigated it. The inside was nicely equipped for the comfort of those who had to spend long days here checking hunters in and out. Not surprisingly, I found that there were blood stains on the cement cleaning areas to the front of the building.

I continued past the buildings a short distance to the first intersection at N35.68229 W94.84352. Signs there declared this to be the intersection of Headquarters Road (duh, of course – what a great name for a road that leads directly to the HQ!) and Walnut Road. I turned to the right and headed down Walnut Road toward the summit.

The satellite view shows a road that is just as I recall, so I am sure this was my route to the summit. At first I was in a clearing, but soon I entered a woodsy environment. I ate about half my second piece of pizza before deciding I had had enough. I carefully set the piece down in the middle of the road in case I might need it on the return trip. I heard turkeys calling in the woods, so I wondered if the pizza would even be there when I passed it on my way back.

I identified some other waypoints if future visitors decide to follow my route.
N35.68056 W94.83975 – the first bend in the road to the summit
N35.67374 W94.83091 – entering the bottom of a z-shaped switchback up the mountain
N35.67448 W94.83060 – exiting the z-shaped switchback
N35.66900 W94.82249 – dropping down to a lowpoint – an intersection with Bolin Hollow Road

At this point you are in SW section 24, and a spot elevation of 1170ft is shown at this spot on the topo map. Head straight (SE) onto what the topo shows as an ATV trail that climbs from here to the summit. You will not experience any actual change in the road you have been hiking for the previous part of the journey. Continue SE to another quick switchback that starts around N35.66586 W94.81806, and then hike NE on the final leg to the summit. Near this second switchback, I found another sign declaring this to be Walnut Road. Thus, you can basically follow Walnut Road all the way from the gate to the summit.

I wandered around the summit area a bit and rested on top for perhaps 15 minutes. The lookout tower had the lower several feet of steps removed to detract visitors from climbing, and I complied with their wishes. I then returned down the mountain the way I came. My pizza piece was still in the middle of the road, apparently not yet noticed by any of the wildlife. But I did not need the nourishment, so I left it there for its eventual discovery by some deserving creature. The only difference in the route came when I got close enough to see my truck. From that point, I left the road and bushwhacked directly across the open field for about 1/4 mile or so directly to the check-in station and then on to the finish.

I am not an Olympic-paced hiker, and some may find my pace slow and boring. But I enjoyed the hike nevertheless. Trip statistics: Time = about 2hrs 43 min for the round trip; Distance = approx 6.45mi; Elevation gain = 785ft total gain, including 609ft for the basic gain from TH to summit and 176ft of extra elevation gains.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:785 ft / 238 m
    Total Elevation Loss:785 ft / 238 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.4 mi / 10.4 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:697 ft / 212 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 609 ft / 185 m; Extra: 88 ft / 26m
    Loss on way in:88 ft / 26 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Road hike up Walnut Road
    Start Trailhead:Just before gate/check-in on Headquarters Rd  1011 ft / 308 m
    Time:1 Hours 22 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:697 ft / 212 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 609 ft / 185 m; Extra: 88 ft / 26m
    Gain on way out:88 ft / 26 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Road hike up Walnut Road
    End Trailhead:Just before gate/check-in on Headquarters Rd  1011 ft / 308 m
    Time:1 Hours 21 Minutes

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