Ascent of Buck Hill on 2015-06-20
|Date:||Saturday, June 20, 2015|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||1195 ft / 364 m|
Ascent Trip ReportI had half an afternoon open and the weather was actually pretty nice, with mostly blue skies. It was warm (about 85 degrees) and humid, but nothing that would stop me. I asked Beth if I could bail for a couple hours and she agreed. My goal today were two county highpoints, those of Dakota and Scott counties, both located near Interstate-35 south of Minneapolis.
I left the hotel around 10:00 a.m. and drove west through Dodge Center to Owatonna, where I picked up Interstate-35. From here, I went north through Faribault and into the southern suburbs of Minneapolis, although I was still about 20 miles from the main city. The one-way drive covered just under 70 miles and took me a little over an hour.
I elected to visit Buck Hill first, then travel south and visit the second highpoint in Scott county afterwards. Unlike the cornfield counties I encountered two days earlier, these two highpoints were actual hills, not covered in corn, and relatively easy to reach.
Buck Hill is a ski area during winter, with about a 200-foot drop. It has one lift and a handful of buildings at the base. For skiers in the Plains, this is as good as it gets. I found it easily enough, as it sits about a half-mile west of the interstate. I pulled into the parking lot, which was empty save for one car on one end, and about twenty cars on the other end. These other cars looked to belong to a dealer, who was storing them here. They were all the same make and model.
With about 300 parking spots to choose from, I found one that I liked and rolled into it, then killed the engine. I grabbed my camera and walked into the ski area. The area is open, and I expected to see joggers or people playing on the grassy slopes, but there was no one. I walked around to find someone, but no one was in the buildings. There were a couple of "No Trespassing" signs hung in a couple spots. I preferred to have someone give me permission if possible.
After finding no one and determining the place to be entirely vacant, I walked up the hill anyway. I followed beaten paths through the shin-high grass and arrived to the top in 10 minutes. I took a few moments to walk around, step on mounds of earth and shoot a few images. I didn't linger.
On the walk down I looked over at another hilltop that looked as high from below, but was clearly lower when abreast of it. I jog-walked downhill and was back to my car after a total time of twenty minutes. No one ever saw me or said anything. I was quite sweaty in the humidity, so I treated myself to the air-conditioning as I drove south to my next objective down the road.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||200 ft / 60 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||0.5 mi / 0.8 km|
| Trailhead:||995 ft / 303 m|
| Route Conditions:||Unmaintained Trail, Open Country|
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