Ascent of Jefferson County High Point on 2017-04-16

Climber: Heather Hasch

Date:Sunday, April 16, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Jefferson County High Point
    Elevation:970 ft / 295 m

Ascent Trip Report


Sunday, 4/16/2017

CONTOURS 3,4,7 - DONE ON 8/174/2013
(Contour references are from the Levi Faust trip report)

After completing Franklin County, I had a bit longer drive to arrive in Jefferson County. But I plugged the first stop into my GPS, and I projected that I had ample time to complete the 4 remaining contours before darkness ended the day. I had already driven past all the contours on my previous visit to the county.

The day had been pleasant with cooperative weather so far. But that was about to change. While in the car and driving south, the skies went from blue with white clouds to gray skies with gray clouds. Rains were coming. Or, rather, torrential downpours were coming. Once the rain began, it lasted for a good deal of my drive. I wasn’t sure I could get the hikes in, but I kept driving. And I began praying for good weather to come back.

My prayers were answered; as I arrived at the first stop, the pace slowed to a moderate rain, even a drizzle.

I parked in front of a cable gate just off SR129 that blocked access to a lane the headed nearer to areas 1 and 2. I noted that the fields were still not disked and planted. They were muddy and filled with old growth corn, which was a good thing. With the aid of GPS and satellite images, I hiked west up the lane until the two contours were S and N of me. You could follow your nose, but the GPS and images were useful because the Jefferson-Switzerland county line runs through the middle of the field rather than along a fence line. I followed my eyes south a short distance to area 2, and I used the GPS to confirm that I was on the county line and the highest ground in the westernmost Jefferson County.

For area 1, I simply turned around and followed my compass on a bearing due north across the gravel lane and across a fence. Area 1 was found by continuing into the field on the other side of the road. I hit area 1 and then returned to my car, which was easily in sight from this spot in the field.

To get to areas 5 and 6, I returned north on SR129, west on CR 900S, and south on Base Road. At the Ripley-Jefferson county line, a county line road goes to the right, marked as CR 1100S (a reference to Ripley County to the north). In Jefferson County, the name Base Road is replaced with Hicks Ridge Road or CR 700E (a reference to Jefferson County to the west).

Rather than turning immediately on the county line road, I continued south on CR 700E a bit farther until I came to a mailbox on the right that was across from a heavily posted lane that went east. From here, it was a short trek west into the field to the obvious nearest HP contour, area 6.

I returned to my car, turned around and drove back to the county line road. I turned left (west) and continued until my GPS showed the HP contour due south. Your eyes would have told you where the high ground on this contour just east of a woods. Walk about 250ft into the field, and wander area 5 to complete this county.

My time assessment for the day worked out well. After driving to the region after the Easter morning church service, I got started around 3pm. But this was ample time to do 5 of 7 contours in Shelby County, to complete the 2 contours of Franklin County, and to visit the remaining 4 contours of Jefferson County. Summary: 2 counties completed and a third county 5/7 of the way done. That’s about all I could expect for the short day. I am glad I made the decision to try to complete Jefferson County. That choice resulted in another globbed county that was begun about 4 years ago. The itch to complete Indiana was granted some minor relief as I am now 2 counties closer to the finish line.

(The report from my first visit to Jefferson County is posted below.)

970+ ft.

Wednesday, 8/14/2013

7 contours

Our third county of interest was Jefferson County. With 7 contours, we were not
sure whether farmland would block us from completion; we decided to begin the
county and halt the effort if/when we agreed that crops made continuation

We approached this county from south to north. This is an opposite approach
from the one documented by Levi Foust. We will discuss the candidates using 1-4
for Levi's 4 areas, 5-6 for Levi's 2 areas, and 7 for Levi's 1 area (the radio

From the Switzerland County house with the flagpole and bench on the mound,
drive south on IN 129 for about 0.9mi, and turn right (west) on IN 250.
Continue for about 1.5mi to N Scott Ridge Rd. Turn left (south), and drive
about a quarter mile to the tower's driveway and contour #7. The driveway is
not gated, so you can turn left on the tower access drive and find a place to
park. We agree with Levi that the highest ground is found north of the tower
where the first set of anchor cables meets the ground.

Our next visit was to Poplar Ridge – contours #3 and #4. From the tower,
backtrack to the intersection of IN 250 and IN 129. Turn left (north), and
drive about 2.1mi to Poplar Ridge Rd. Turn left (west), and negotiate a couple
of switchbacks, rare for Indiana. Drive about 0.6mi to a spot where the road
changes from pavement to gravel; this is the county line, also noted by the sign
placed by Jefferson County. This spot will also be found shortly after passing
beneath the power lines that can be seen on the topo map. Finally, this spot
has a noticeable tree line that runs north along the county line and separates
farm fields to the east and west. This larger contour is Levi's contour #4.

We continued along the road, through the bend and south to the area of the
smaller contour that is west of the road, Levi's contour #3. We parked along
this narrow road and walked to the contour. The highpoint of this candidate is
near the base of a large tree near the road and near the north corner of the
contour. From here we could see across the road to the larger contour, and we
easily observed that the larger contour was higher in elevation.

We thought about entering contour #4 from this spot. But we changed our mind
when we realized that the barbed wire fence blocking our entry was charged! We
might have attempted it if it were not for the cows in that field. From the
moment we parked our cars, the cows were mooing and demonstrating their
agitation with our presence. As we approached the fence, their mooing got
louder. Then the cows began running toward us! We decided not to challenge
this herd of 50-75 adult and babies. We knew we had other options.

We drove back to the county line discussed earlier and found place to park off
the road. We then followed our nose as we walked through the field and stepped
on all highpoint contenders. The field has not been farmed for years; instead,
it is filled with overgrown grass that is as tall as a man's head. I envisioned
the savannah grasses of Africa and kept a keen eye out for signs of lions and
other big game. We noted several trampled spots where animals had apparently
bedded on previous nights.

The grass was tall but not too thick to halt passage or block our view of the
field layout. We basically walked from the road north along the tree line.
When we found the ridge, we walked in a westerly direction, walking over every
spot of interest. We returned to the car by following the power line northeast
back to the tree line.

Fred and I thought that the high elevation appeared to be SSW of the home that
lies on the east-west portion of the road, in agreement with the observations of
Levi Foust.

Our next visit was to Levi's contours #1 and #2. From the current location,
backtrack to IN 129. Travel north for about 0.9mi and note a dirt track to the
left (west). If you get to Waterloo Rd that goes east, you have gone too far.

When we were there, the road was blocked with a single strand of steel cable
about 3ft off the ground. So we parked along IN 129 near this dirt track and
decided to walk the short distance to the candidates.

The two contour candidates are liners that are just west of the county line.
The smaller of the two contours, #2, lies right at the point where the dirt
track hits the county line. The other contour, #1, lies a few hundred feet
north of contour #2.

As we approached the two contours, we could see the rise and fall of the
terrain. Sadly, we also noted an ample presence of soy beans planted in the
fields! Neither Fred nor I thought it was appropriate to step into the fields,
which were waist-to-chest high with a thick crop of beans. Neither of us wanted
to damage a farmer's livelihood.
For me, this was not a tragic result. It would be easy for me to visit these
contours in the fall or winter after the crops had been harvested. For Fred,
this is more troubling because he lives a lot farther away.

Though we would not be able to record a completion on this day, we agreed that
we might as well drive to the two remaining contours, #5 and #6, if for no other
reason than to scout them for a future visit. These two contours lie roughly
3mi due west of contours #1 and #2. Unfortunately, there is no direct road to
that location; a longer route is required.

From your parking spot for #1 and #2, drive north on IN 129 for about 2.2mi to
Ripley County's E Co Rd 900S. Turn left (west), and continue about 2.9mi to
Base Rd (S Baseline Rd). Turn left (south), and drive about 2.0mi to the county
line – identified as W Co Rd 1100S for Ripley County and Co Rd 1200N for
Jefferson County. Turn right (west) and immediately gaze into the field to your
left. You should see an obvious high elevation in the field. This is Levi's
contour #6. Straight ahead, where the road crests, you will find the spillover
contour; the portion to the left of the road is Levi's contour #5.

Without crops in the field, these contours would be simple to visit. However,
Fred and I were not lucky; the field was full of a healthy crop of something. I
don't know for sure what it was, but it was not soy beans. Neither of us were
willing to trample in the fields on this day, for the same reasons mentioned
above for contours #1 and #2. The county will be completed when I can return in
the fall or winter.

Our visit to Jefferson County was now complete. We had completed 3/7 of the
contours and left 4 to be completed when the fields were clear. Both Fred and I
will be reporting this as a partially-completed county. Neither of us considers
the crop barrier as worthy of labeling the county as "unsuccessful". There will
be no red on our maps for this effort. The county was not completed due to our
personal moral/conscience decisions not to trample a farmer's crop; others may
have been willing to do it, but that is a decision each person must make for
themselves. The 4 unvisited contours were "scouted" so they can be completed
easily when crop conditions are not a factor.
Summary Total Data

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