Ascent of Van Wert County High Point on 2009-05-17

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Sunday, May 17, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Van Wert County High Point
    Elevation:860 ft / 262 m

Ascent Trip Report

860+ ft.

Sunday, 5/17/2009

I had been putting off this county for some time even though it is the closest undone county to my home. As the sole adjacent undone county, a completion of Van Wert county would finally close the ubiquity ring of level 1 counties. My home radius would nearly double, from 19.36mi to 32.27mi. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and this seemed the day to turn this dark spot yellow.

Van Wert County is not a difficult county in terms of hiking class. It is an easy class 1 walk. The complication lies in the presence of 21 separate contours that could contain the HP.

In retrospect, I probably would have had as much fun merely walking on a treadmill for 2-3 hours. But I needed to face my dread of the task if I was to complete it.

I followed the Bob Schwab directions, well-written as always, and drove to contour #21, the closest to home and the only one not in the same general area as the others. This is clearly the most prominent of all the contours. On that basis alone, in my opinion, it is the best contender for county HP honors.

Contour 21 lies in a farm field immediately behind a home on Hwy 81, and I came to find out that the folks here are indeed the owners of the HP ground. The owners were not opposed to someone hiking to the HP, but do yourself a favor and give them the courtesy of checking in first. I parked at the Zion Church and hiked about ¾ mi round trip because it did not look like anyone was home. However, as I was walking back to my truck, I heard a voice shouting to get my attention. As it turns out, looks are deceiving, and the husband and wife were home! I apologized for not getting permission first. If you park at the house and get permission, you will have a much shorter hike, about 1/4mi .

I then drove to the 20-contour fields. Where Bob S. had described his first parking spot, a new home has been constructed. There were two huge Great Danes running around, friendly and well behaved. A kennel operation near the house also contained several hunting dogs. Talking to the owner disclosed that the home was built about 3 years ago. So I followed Bob’s directions to the second parking spot. I knocked at the door of the nearby home with the pond, but no one answered. So I parked off the road in the grass near the county line. I decided to hike both fields from here.

Using Bob’s labeling, I visited the contours of the western field in the order 13-12-7-8-9-11-10-1-2-3-4-5-6. I wandered back and forth across each contour, hiking a total of 3.8mi in about 1½ hours. The field is essentially flat, and I never lost sight of my truck from any viewpoint except one. When I crossed the field hiking SW between contours 10 and 1, I briefly lost sight of the truck as I approached contour 1. For this reason, my opinion is that contours 2 or 4 (the two contours in my line of sight to the truck) contain the highest land in this field.

Near contour 11, I found the rusty oil tank referenced in Bob’s notes. I also found a broken pile of concrete next to a large rusty roll of farm fence. This may have formerly been the “concrete pillar” also reference by Bob.

Regarding the woods and contour 4, the high ground of this contour is probably not in the woods. Recent rains had formed a large “pond” inside the woods, and I hiked around this to the north and near the farm field to avoid getting wet. (Note that recent rains had adequately drained from all farm fields. Ground was dry, though slightly spongy, so I did not encounter the sticky mud experienced by others.)

In the eastern field, I visited the contours in the order 14-17-15-16-18-19-20. This field took slightly less effort to complete, and I hiked 2.3mi in about 50 minutes. Things were as Bob described.

So, to recap, this county caused me to exert about 6.8mi of hiking effort in about 2 ½ hours, or about 3hrs 40 min in real time to drive between all sites.
Summary Total Data
    Round-Trip Distance:6.8 mi / 10.9 km
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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