Ascent of Cass County High Point on 2017-12-09

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Saturday, December 9, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cass County High Point
    Elevation:833 ft / 253 m

Ascent Trip Report

830ft+ ft.

Saturday, 12/9/2017 – Completion of Remaining Contours

I had an idle December Saturday. And I hoped the fields had by now been harvested. This was a great time to go back to compete Cass County, Indiana.

The weather was the only complication. The previous night, northern Indiana received its first snow of the season. More flurries were predicted today. Our area received only a mild dusting, but more snow was predicted west of us where I would need to travel. I decided to make the attempt. The worst that could happen was that I would be rejected.

Recall the following scheme maps my contour naming to the one used by Bob Schwab in his trip report:

Schwab: 1...2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…11…12…(omitted)…13…14…15
Hasch: A..B..C…D...E…F...G…H…I….J….K…..L……..M…..…N…..O….P

Areas Completed This Visit: G…H…I…J…K…L…M - COUNTY COMPLETED!

It was snowing lightly when I arrived in the northeast corner of the county. Since I was traveling along Fulton’s CR 950S (the Fulton-Cass County line), I decided to stop north of the woods that contained Area M. I drove west along the road and parked right at the corner of CR 950S and CR 300E. From this spot, my GPS showed the HP to be about 0.77mi SE. I had a compass and my GPS ready, so I set out across the harvested corn, heading south between rows and also gradually trending SE toward the HP. I traveled west of the nearby bump that I was approaching. I followed the field roads between some unplanted areas and made my way south to the high ground that was at the edge of the field next to the woods. At the woods, I was fortunate to enter at a spot where the fence was absent, making an easy entry into the woods.

There is one good thing about a light dusting of snow. It makes seeing ground contours inside a woods easy to observe. I followed my GPS as I made my way toward the HP. When my GPS zeroed out, my eyes and compass confirmed that I was in the midst of a N-S crescent-shaped contour that opened to the west. I wandered around a bit. My belief is that the highest ground was near N40.90759 W86.18536.

I returned to my car basically the way I came. In the woods, I found my inbound steps. Though it wasn’t necessary, I followed them out of the woods and back to my car. The completion had begun. Stats: 1.64mi R/T, about 40 minutes, 102ft total gain, 810ft at car, 831ft max elevation.

After recording a few notes and warming up, I drove to the intersection of Cass’ CR 1000N and Fulton’s CR 900E. I parked near this intersection which was NW of the remaining six contours to be visited.

From this corner, I visited Areas G-H-I-J-K-L (Schwab’s Areas 7-8-9-10-11-12) in that order. I stepped into the hoped-for harvested bean field and headed SE to the first bump about 0.2mi away. As I approached, I could see the rise; I walked directly over the highest ground. I then headed NE to Area H(8), which my eyes felt was higher than Area G(7). I basically walked to the woods in this large contour, some distance south of the corner. I made a mental note to visit the high ground nearer the corner when I exited the woods at the end of my trek.

From here, it was almost due south to some high ground that was due east of the SE corner of the woods that bordered CR 900E. This was my Area I(9). Visually, this also looked high enough to compete with Area H(8) for the highest ground in the field. I then headed a bit SE to some high ground that I believed was Area J(10). From here, it was due north into the woods. As I headed north, I noted no high contour between this point and the woods, and I also noted the clearly-identifiable depression to my left. This area was overgrown with high grasses and was not plowed. Area K(11) was in the woods a few hundred feet from the SW corner.

I continued north in the woods to reach the last contour, Area L(12). I was nervous about being in the woods during hunting season, but I did not hear any gunshot, near or distant, the entire time I was in the area. That relieved me a bit. I followed my GPS and my eyes to Area L(12), and the multi-contoured Cass County was done! I exited the woods at the very NE corner of the field where the woods and the county line collided. This was the part of Area H(8) that I intended to check out! Mission accomplished as I walked back to my car.

I had input each of today’s 7 contour targets into my GPS; in all cases, I zeroed my GPS as I sought to visit the contour. For each, I looked around to observe and satisfy myself that highest ground had been visited. The absence of hunters and the snowfall may have made animals active. I saw at least 8 or 10 deer in the fields and in the woods. And in the final woods, I thought I was on Tyson Foods property. First I saw a distinct turkey footprint in the snow; a short while later, I saw what was at least 15 turkeys running in a group away from me.

For most of the day, visibility was about 1 mile even as it snowed flurries. But when I exited the final woods, I was hit with a near white-out. A constant wind made bone-chilling wind chill though temperatures were 25-30 degrees F. I could not see my hand as I held it out in front of me. Fortunately, I knew my car was straight in front of me about half a mile away. I headed west into the storm, knowing the end would be at the road where my car was parked. As I approached CR 900E, my car finally came into view. I walked to the car; I was done. Stats for these contours: about 2.0mi R/T, in about 51 minutes, 203ft total gain, 813ft at car, 842ft (a bit off due to the weather?) max elevation.

830ft+ ft.

Friday, 11/24/2017 – Partial Completion

I mostly followed the reports of Bob Schwab for this county. Before I left home, I prepared an Acme topo map with each of the 16 highpoints flagged with letters from A-P. Following is how each of my labels correspond to the 1-15 used by Schwab (with commentary explaining the 15 vs. 16 count).

Schwab: 1...2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…11…12…(omitted)…13…14…15
Hasch: A..B..C…D...E…F...G…H…I….J….K…..L……..M…..…N…..O….P

Areas Completed This Visit: A…B…C…D…E…F…N…O…P
Areas Still to be Completed: G…H…I…J…K…L…M

Schwab’s initial trip report included a count of 15 contending contours. Another contour was subsequently discovered in the woods in Section 3. Schwab returned to the area and visited this contour, bringing the new count to 16 contours. My plans were to visit all 16 contours, though Schwab subsequently “decommissioned” one contour, which I believe was his Area 10. This brings the “official” count per the Andy Martin Bible to 15.

After the stop at the tri-county intersection, I continued south to the obvious rise in the road across from a large barn and farmhouse to the east. I pulled over on the side of the road. There was some activity at the farm, but no one seemed concerned about my presence. I stepped out of my car and quickly reached Area A(1). It was near the side of the road as described by Bob Schwab. This stop did not take long; I returned to my car and continued south to the next house on the right.

As I arrived at the house, I noted the ground sloping up in elevation. I pulled off the side of the road just past the house and climbed a small embankment. From here, I could see that the house itself appeared to be near the highest ground, with a slight rise on the south side. There were several large trees in the area, and the base of one of the trees appeared to be growing at the highest elevation. I walked over to the tree to tag this ground and satisfy myself that I had visited Area B(2). No one was home here, so I returned to my car without encountering anyone.

I continued south to a dead end, and I turned right on CR900N as I followed Schwab’s report. After a mile, I came to CR1000E to my left, and a field entrance to my right. The field of soybeans was being harvested as I arrived, and there was a semi-truck receiving harvested beans at that moment. I noted only one tractor harvesting the beans, but the tractor had already cleared a wide path to the woods. I saw a man at the semi-truck, so I walked over and explained my desires. He was not the owner or boss, but he thought it would be okay for me to carefully cross the field to the woods.

I grabbed my orange shirt and tied it around my neck. This would serve two purposes: first, it would be visible to the tractor driver as he continued his work in the field. Second, it would add some visibility to me in case there were any hunters in the woods. I did not hear any gunshots, but I wanted to be careful.

I crossed the field to its north edge near the woods, and I encountered some barbed wire. I looked for an easy crossing point, but I didn’t find any. So I carefully spread the barbed wire, and I rolled myself between two lower strands. Thankfully, the ground was fairly dry, so I did not get wet and I did not snag too much of me or my clothing.

I found and entrance into the woods, and I followed my GPS for about 350-400 feet. Near the end, my GPS zeroed, so I was satisfied I had found the gentle rise in the woods that was Area C(3). While I was walking about, I spooked a nice sized deer about 25 feet from me, and I saw its bounding white-marked behind as it ran off.

I returned out of the woods the same way I came. But when I got to the fence, I decided to walk parallel and to the east, looking for an easier way to pass. I got all the way to the SE corner where the fence turned north. To my good fortune, a large tree had fallen on the fence just a short bit north. So I walked to the tree and easily crossed the fence at that point. From here, I just walked south back to the semi-truck and my car that was parked nearby. I waved to the man who had granted me permission as I left the area. Total distance for this segment was a round trip of just over 1 mile. It took me about 24 minutes to hike, recording 78 feet of gain and a maximum elevation of 830 feet. Good.

I continued west on CR900N, and I turned north when I arrived at CR950E. A sign there declared “DEAD END”, which was soon confirmed as I drove as far as I could to reach a large house and barn complex. The mailbox said Ed V Brown, so I felt confident that I was in the right place. I walked from my car to the house, calling out as I walked. No one responded, either to my calls or to my ringing of the doorbell. I had an uncomfortable feeling about the situation, so I returned to my car and plotted my next move. I turned around and headed south down the lane. I pulled over when I was directly east of Area D(4).

I walked directly to the high ground, and I walked around a bit after my GPS zeroed out. I then decided to tackle Area E(5) northeast of the Brown farm. I headed into the woods just a bit north of Brown’s farmhouse, and I walked to the pond where I found a wide grassy path that went around the pond on both sides. I took the left route, and I followed my GPS to the target. I wandered around this contour a bit before returning. I walked past the barn and farmhouse on my way back to my car, fairly confident that there was no one present. I did not encounter anyone.

I then drove south on the lane a bit more until my GPS showed that I was due east of the next target, Area F(6). I entered the field and made my way about 350 feet to the summit ground. Once again, I wandered a bit to satisfy myself.

With the 3 contours on Brown’s lane completed, I had a decision to make. Unfortunately, I started the day late. It was already around 2:00pm when I began, and the sun would set shortly after 5:00pm. It was now between 3:30-4:00, so I accepted the fact that I would not finish the county today. I decided to turn my attention west to get the 3 outlier contours in Sections 5 and 8. So I drove to the dairy farm that was on CR800N. While I was driving around, I encountered two different workers who gave their consent to my looking for the high point.

I drove all over the complex looking for the way to get to the highest contour that would be Area 15(P). The topo and satellite maps showed that the target was northeast of the sewage tank described by Schwab. But when I arrived in the area, it looked flat. I ended up driving to the west end of the same building, just south of some large cluster of something rolled in white plastic. To the west end of this stuff was a woods that had some rise to it.

As I walked closer, I could see that the rise was a sand wall that was being mined for the sand. I walked to the woods and entered. Indeed, the land rose. So I followed my nose south a short way to the highest points. Clearly, I agree with Schwab that this was the highest ground in the area. NOTE: The Schwab report places the sand pit and ridge as being NORTHEAST of the sewage tank. The actual direction was WEST-NORTHWEST.

From here, I returned to CR900E and drove north to the next road to the left, which was CR800N. I drove about 0.5mi and found a farm pull-out to my left. From here, I followed a fence line due north until my GPS told me the target was due east about 350 feet. So I turned east and made my way through the dry-but-still-standing field corn. I pushed through the rows until I came out the other side near an embankment that was created by the sand mining operation that was there. I never got a strong GPS elevation indication. My thought was that the highest ground may have already been mined away. I walked over what I thought was the highest remaining ground and claimed Area O(14), which basically was due west of the gravel pit. I then walked around to the east to the road that led to the mine, described by Schwab. I followed it south back to CR800N, where it arrived at a farm complex that was basically across from my car. I walked the road a bit west to get back to my vehicle.

Once again, I returned to CR900E and drove north to where the road bends west. This was the Cass-Fulton county line road, and my last target of the day was near this point. I continued a bit to the house on the right, some kind of quilting business. I turned around and parked on the south side of the road, nearly across from CR200E. I walked into the field to my south to the obvious highest bump. I wandered around a bit and called Area N(13) done.

This leaves a cluster of target contours in Section 4 to be visited another time. My decision turned out to be a good one, because the beans still need to be harvested. When I return to section 4, hopefully the beans will all be gone.
Summary Total Data

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