Ascent of Crawford County High Point on 2015-01-06

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crawford County High Point
    Elevation:950 ft / 289 m

Ascent Trip Report

950+ ft.

Tuesday, 1/6/2015

With my car back in operating condition, I set my sights on the Crawford County HP. From downtown French Lick, I drove south on IN64 for several miles, crossing over a branch of Patoka Lake, one of the largest lakes in Indiana. I continued to the intersection with IN64. I turned left (east) and wound my way toward Marengo. I followed my GPS until it told me to turn left (north) onto N. Satterfield Lane. Pleasantly, I observed that the Mile Marker #79 sign first seen by Bob Schwab was still in place on the south side of IN64. It was a small blue rectangular sign with white letters and a white border.

N. Satterfield Lane is now what I would call a “chip and seal” road. What I mean is the road is now basically paved. A chip and seal surface is initially sprayed with tar, and then gravel is dropped over the surface to create a simple roadbed that is sturdier than dirt but not as nice as asphalt or concrete.

I continued up the road as per Bob Schwab’s directions, watching for mailbox #204-H. I eventually saw the mailbox, on the right as expected. This mailbox labeling is confusing, actually. I first noticed the numbers “251” placed vertically on the wooden support post (had the “0” fallen off?). On the near side of the black mailbox was the “204 H”. The front of the mailbox was painted with “2510”, and the far side of the mailbox was marked “251o” – 3 large adhesive numbers stuck next to a smaller zero. I knew I found the right place, but I wasn’t sure where I was!

I pulled up the drive and parked near the trailer. I walked to the trailer to ask permission. No one answered. The only obvious sign of life was the barking dog chained near the brushy woods just south of the trailer. I wandered east and around the trailer. I passed over the highest ground in the back yard before making my way into the woods far from the reaches of the dog. I wandered the woods and back-tracked to my car.

With the completion of Crawford County, I now have 199 county HPs on my resume. My next completion will be the big 2-0-0.

I will now tell you the rest of the story. Driving home, I headed generally north and east, planning to join I-65 at Scottsburg, IN. It was late in the day, and it got dark. Just a few miles west of Scottsburg, I was in an accident with a deer. I was on this two-lane highway on a short stretch that had woods on both sides of the road. A driver in the oncoming lane hit a deer, and the animal bounced off his car to come to rest in my lane of traffic. BUMPETY-BUMP! I never saw the carcass, but I realized it was there when I abruptly ran over something. My car was thrown out of control, and I was heading down the embankment toward some trees. I kept fighting and somehow managed to steer the car back onto the pavement. I don't know how this was accomplished. I believe in God, and I believe He was in the car, providing needed assistance at that moment.

I pulled over a few feet later, and I found that - I had once again punctured my oil pan. An oil trail led from the deer to where my car came to be parked. What are the odds of puncturing the oil pan in two different incidents on two consecutive days? The good news is that was the only apparent damage, other than a need to realign my car after going on such a wild ride from the deer, down the hill, etc.

I walked the hundred yards or so down the road and saw the dead doe. My first response was to move the body out of the road so no one else would run over it. I dragged it down the embankment, saving future motorists from harm’s way. I walked across the street to the car that had hit the deer. Surprisingly, the car was dented but not (apparently) compromised mechanically. The driver drove off after assessing the damage.

Another motorist had stopped to check on this other car. He was a local, and he offered to stay with me until a tow truck arrived. He drove me back to my car, and we waited in his truck while he made a couple calls. Eventually, a state police officer arrived, and he stayed with me until the tow truck arrived. The tow truck loaded up my car and took me into town, dropping me at a local motel on the way to his repair shop.

The next day became a virtual repeat of the Dubois County experience. I stayed at the motel as long as they would allow. They let me stay past the normal check-out time, charging me an additional hourly fee for the overtime. 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 walked across the parking lot to the McDonald’s that was conveniently located next door. I waited there for some time while the repairs were completed. Finally, a driver arrived to take me to the repair shop. I thought yesterday’s bill was a surprise. Today, I was presented with a bill exceeding $500 for the tow and repair, even though the tow was only for about 5 miles. But what could I do? I paid the bill and was on my way home, $1,000 poorer and two oil pans sent to the metal recycler.
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