Ascent of Sedgwick County High Point on 2004-05-18

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sedgwick County High Point
    Elevation:4120 ft / 1255 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was close to 5 p.m. and I had already visited and hiked nine county highpoints today in Colorado and Nebraska. Frankly, I was beat and ready to get a hotel so I could crash. I was intending to put these two off until the next day, but after studying the map, it made sense to visit this highpoint and the one south in Phillips County, then put on some miles and get a hotel.

Driving south from my last highpoint in Deuel County, Nebraska, I worked my way toward the western county line of Sedgwick County, and its highpoint, a sand hill that comes in from the west in Logan County. I had my map and my Hiking Colorado's Summits book with me. The book suggests to come in from the east near a barn. I thought I'd be clever and come in from the north along a poor quality two-track road, the advantage being that I could shave about a quarter-mile from the walk. The hike looked easy, a walk southwest across a field to a fence line, presumably the county line, then south to the highest point along the fence, which would correspond to the highpoint of Sedgwick County. So off I went.

I hiked to the fence, then south up and down the sandy hummocks, and everything seemed to be just fine. Then, the north-south fence line made a quick jog left about 50 feet, before resuming its north-south orientation. Hmm... slight confusion... which north-south fence line is the county line? Whereas I could have simply hiked to the highest points of both fences and secured the highpoint that way, I, for some reason, did not do that. I scooted under the short east-west part then stayed in line with the westernmost of the two north-south fence lines, then hiked south, figuring this is the continuation of the county line and that I'd just have to guess where exactly the highpoint was. With that, I hiked back to my vehicle, an round trip of exactly a mile in about 30 minutes.

A nagging feeling that I should have gone to the other north-south fence's high area wouldn't let go of me. I drove out a short ways, but then drove back in, driving all the way to the first north-south fence line and taking a GPS reading. Sure enough, the GPS put this fence slightly west of where the map showed the county line. The other north-south fence line was the county line, after all. Barnacles.

I knew this would bug the hell out of me so I did the only thing I could do. I re-hiked the damn thing. This time it was personal. Head down, pure business. I went past where I'd stopped, went to the other fence line, found its highest post, did a "toe-under" to make it count, and noted a cinder block that some one set there likely to mark the highpoint. Then, back to my vehicle. Well, that was an interesting hour. Even more tired now, I drove south about 15 miles for one last super easy highpoint, the drive-up highpoint of Phillips County. Gosh, I was beat.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Trailhead:4090 ft / 1246 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country

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