Ascent of Cleary Hill on 2017-05-14

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, May 14, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cleary Hill
    Elevation:1476 ft / 449 m

Ascent Trip Report

Prepare yourself for a very long drive to Cleary Hill. The roads seemed to be well maintained until I got just a few miles away, then I started hitting patches of deep sand. As long as I kept my speed up on my tiny 1991 Ford Festiva with its 12-inch tires, I plowed right through, but I knew I was really taking a risk because getting struck out here in this wilderness would mean a long wait for help, even though I did have cell phone reception. When I was just .54 miles southeast of the summit, I finally hit a patch of sand that my car could not push through and I came to an abrupt stop. I beat myself up for pushing it so hard. I could have stopped farther back and the hike would not have been that bad, since I was so close now anyway. After spinning the tires for a few minutes trying to get un-struck I realized I was actually sinking deeper and I worried I could be in danger of bottoming out. Fortunately, I had been given a portable snow shovel for a Christmas gift many years ago and it has been stored in my car all this time. I was able to dig two trenches behind each tire in the soft sand and in less than a minute I backed up to more solid ground. With my transportation crisis ended, I started my climb to the Kalkaska County highpoint. The entire area has been clear cut, so the hike was easy and pleasant with no bushwhacking and I reached the summit in just 15 minutes. I was rewarded with the best view from any Michigan county highpoint in all directions on a prominent mound, unlike many of the flat Michigan county highpoints. I made it back to my freed car in 13 minutes and drove away at uncomfortably fast speeds, so I would not get stuck again. There are several other named hills near Cleary Hill. Anyone who is hungry to boost their highpoint totals could spend another hour or two parked in the same spot and probably add four more summits to their lifetime list. In addition, you would probably be the "first to climb" on the Peakbagger website for those ascents!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country

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