Ascent of Pine Lake Northwest on 2017-11-05

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Sunday, November 5, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pine Lake Northwest
    Elevation:1380 ft / 420 m

Ascent Trip Report

1380ft+ ft.

Sunday, 11/05/2017

After the first completion of the day, I drove from Wayne County south to Tuscarawas County. I hoped to beat the sunset to get one more done in the daylight before I headed home. I trended southeast through Sugarcreek and Ragersville before turning south on Rocky Ridge Road, County Road 251. This was a northern approach to the high point, a route described by Richard Oestreicher before me. I drove east past a house to my right, and I noted the obvious sloping crop field behind the house. I drove a bit farther east before parking off the road to my right.

Immediately when I got out of my car, I sensed there could be trouble. Dogs inside the fence at the house had noted my presence, and the barking was constant for the duration of my trip to the high point and back. From the car, I dropped down a sloping bank about 30 feet, and I approached the sloping field by walking southwest through this lowland. I had hoped to be out of sight of the dogs, but their barking made it clear that they knew I was there. I continued until I reached the base of the sloping corn field, which had already been harvested. I continued south up the field and then headed southwest straight to the corner where the obvious highest ground was, a climb of about 80 feet. When I reached the woods, it appeared that the ground continued to rise a bit, so I entered the woods and wandered around until I was satisfied that I had hit the highest ground. There were a couple of rock piles not far into the woods, probably removed from the farm field I had just crossed.

I returned to my car the same way I came, and my senses proved to be correct. The dogs were still active, and so were their owners. As I approached my car, I noticed that two people (a man and a woman) were standing near the rear, giving the vehicle a good inspection. I called out to let them know I saw them, and I continued up the embankment.

I greeted the people with something like “Hello there. How are you folks doing today?” The response was not welcoming. The man said, “Well, that will depend on how the next few minutes go. We were just about to call the sheriff. Do you know you are trespassing?”

There was nothing posted anywhere along my route to the highpoint and back. So no, I did not know with certainty that I was trespassing. But I didn’t tell him that. I showed them my maps and told them of my reason for being there – to visit the highest ground in Tuscarawas County. They told me they were the land owners, and they did not like strangers to be on their land because of recent trouble with thefts. That is why they had the dogs, and I was lucky that the dogs were contained. I told them I did not mean them or their land any harm, and I told them I thought the property owners were on the other side of the hill (based on the Bob Schwab report). This explanation seemed to satisfy them, and they commented something like, “Well, you were acting on bad information”.

We continued to talk for a while; I asked some questions about the high ground and about the area in general. Their position toward me softened. As they saw that I meant no harm, our conversation grew more casual, and we parted ways with a “It was nice meeting you”.

They did not seem to be unreasonable people. As noted in the Oestreicher report, I believe they were more ticked that I just parked and hiked without stopping at the house to ask permission. I believe this is the most straight-forward route to the high point. I would recommend that future hikers stop at the house and announce themselves and their intentions. I believe you will be glad that you did, and it certainly will avoid embarrassing and potentially troublesome circumstances in the end.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:90 ft / 27 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Trailhead:Road east of house  1330 ft / 405 m

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