Ascent of Elko Benchmark on 2015-06-20

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Saturday, June 20, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Elko Benchmark
    Elevation:1230 ft / 374 m

Ascent Trip Report

Back on the interstate, I drove south for 10 miles, to County Road 2 in the town of Elko-New Market. I went west a mile, then south a mile along Xerxes Road, which may very well be the first time in my life I have ever driven on a street whose name starts with an X, not counting lame rural county roads like "Road X".

The area was what I'd call "upscale rural middle class". The homes were all very nice, not too big, but not very small either. There were lots of trees, the lawns were well-kept and it looked like a very safe, pleasant place.

The highpoint is locally called "Pete's Hill", and there is a paved path that runs through housing development and goes to the top. However, there is no place to park for visitors such as myself. I parked about a quarter-mile away on Glenborough Road, and walked along Xerxes Road to the paved path to the top.

The hike was easy and fast. A big water tower sits below the highest point. A number of breaks in the brush leads to the very top, which is bare and features a bench and a concrete pad painted as the American flag. The benchmark was nearby the bench. Looking west, the views were nice, of trees, roofs and distant water towers.

I returned to my car, this journey costing me 15 minutes of my time. On my drive back to Rochester, a major accident had closed Interstate-35 in Faribault, so I followed lesser highways through Kenyon into Dodge Center. I still had a lot of time on my hands, so I inspected a lat-long confluence, and the highpoint of Steele County.

I found the confluence (North 44, West 93) easy enough, located southeast of Owatonna in a farm field. The Steele County highpoint was less than five miles west. I found it easily, too, and it may have been the most substantial hill of the cornfield counties, but it was covered over in the young plants. I chose not to hike to the top. From here, I returned to Rochester, about 35 miles away.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:80 ft / 24 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Trailhead:1150 ft / 350 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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