Ascent of Dubois County High Point on 2015-01-05

Climber: John Hasch

Others in Party:Josh Carlson
Date:Monday, January 5, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Dubois County High Point
    Elevation:810 ft / 246 m

Ascent Trip Report

810+ ft.

Monday, 1/5/2015

Josh and I left Martin County separately and agreed to meet at the Dubois County destination. We both stopped for lunch along the way, but I was surprised to see him in my rear-view mirror as I drove the last several miles to the site.

From US231 just outside Crane, IN, you will travel south to IN56. You will then turn left (east) and follow it several miles to CR 900E. Then, you will turn left (north) and follow Bob Schwab’s directions to the HP parking.

I must caution you: CR 990N starts out as a gravel road. But after you pass the nice house in the open area to the north, it soon deteriorates to what I would consider “not-so-improved”. In fact, it reminded me of a two-track lane rather than a gravel road. The tire tracks are well worn, leaving a considerable rise in the middle. BE CAREFUL! As I drove this final stretch to the HP, I bottomed out several times. I was concerned because of the hard frozen ground, and my fears were confirmed when we left the HP.

Josh and I parked at the cabled entrance to the HP camp. From this gate we walked uphill a short bit to a camp consisting of a home, a pond, and a storage building. We wandered around to visit most of the contour, taking about 10 minutes to complete the process. We walked back to the car, and I noticed a two-step concrete staircase, appropriately painted with “TWO STEPS TO HEAVEN”. We got in our cars, planning to finish the day in adjacent Spencer County.

But that was never to be. Looking back, I am thankful that fate put Josh and I together in Dubois County. As we left the HP, my car bottomed out again. Then, to my puzzlement, my car stalled. I started it and drove several feet more before it stalled again. I feared the worst.

I got out of the car and went forward to open the hood. But that step was not needed. On the ground in front of me, I could see – an endless trail of drops of oil. Looking under the car sealed the deal. I found a puddle of oil, and further inspection disclosed a hole in my oil pan about the size of a nickel. I had punctured the pan on my way to the HP.

So I am thankful Josh was with me. I am equally thankful that I had a tow strap in my car. We found suitable attachment points, and Josh towed me off the gravel two-track for several hundred yards to reach the wide-open clearing in front of the nice house mentioned previously. We gathered the tow strap, walked over to talk to the homeowners about the abandoned car (no one was home), and we set out in his vehicle to find a tow service and repair shop.

On the way to French Lick, we came to a large garage on the right. We stopped, but no one seemed to be present. So we continued farther and were pleased to find another garage, complete with a flat-bed tow truck out front. We pulled in, and they were prompt to help us.

We told them the story, and they pulled up a map on their computer. We pointed out in the satellite view exactly where my car was abandoned. The shop owner told me he would retrieve my car on his way home after work tonight, and with any luck I would be fixed and back on the road tomorrow. He told me to find lodging for the night.

We left and were fortunate to find a reasonably-priced hotel in French Lick – pleased because French Lick is a resort community with nothing much other than a casino and some resort hotels. Settling into the motel, Josh extended one last courtesy by taking me to a nearby Subway restaurant where I purchased my evening meal. He took me back to the motel and then left to further his own HP pursuits.

The next day, I stayed at the motel as long as they would allow. They let me stay past the normal check-out time, but late in the afternoon, their hospitality wore out. They asked me to vacate or pay another night’s fee, so I gathered my things and began walking the (approximated) 6 miles to the garage. I walked back through downtown French Lick and then headed into the country on IN56 west of town.

After walking about two miles, I was blessed once again. A passing motorist stopped and made an unsolicited offer to drive me up the road. She was on her way to work, and she would be going right past the garage. So I climbed in the back seat, thankful for this Good Samaritan.

I waited at the shop for a couple hours more while they waited for my oil pan to be delivered. It finally arrived. After being surprised by a bill exceeding $400 for the tow and repair (I had recently bought an oil pan online and installed it myself for about $40), I thought I was on my way home. Being the opportunist that I am, I found the HP of nearby Crawford County. I decided to stop there since it wasn’t too far out of my way.

But the story didn’t end there. As Paul Harvey would say, continue reading my Crawford County notes to get “the rest of the story”.
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