Gilchrist County High Point Trip Report

Date: January 20, 2004
Author: Bill Jacobs

Six summits (120 ft) compete for the highest point of Gilchrist County.

From Newberry, head west on H26 about five miles to a set of blinking yellow lights hanging over the highway. The cross road is "Waccasassa", which is probably Indian lingo for land of many big mountains.

Area One: Continue west on H26 for one mile to a slight rise. The high area is up the south embankment. The radio tower is long gone.

Area Two: From H26 head north on Waccasassa for 3.3 miles. Left turn on SE 40th Street for 1.2 miles. Right turn on SE 57th for 0.3 mile. Left turn on 36th. At 0.3 mile is a sharp rise. The contour is in the woods behind the house to the right. From the woods the house trailer sitting on a knoll to the northwest looks higher. I drove over there via 53rd Court and was immediately surrounded by a pack of howling dogs after driving almost to the top of the hill. When the lady of the house (trailer) came, I asked her if her dogs were of a biting nature. "Only one, and she's crazy." The lady pinned the dog to the ground while I made a hasty sprint to the high area and back. What property owners won't do to accommodate CoHPers. After driving back down the driveway I took another gander at both hills and felt the forested area was most likely higher. The trailer with the crazy dog need not be visited.

Area Three: Continue up 53rd Court to the end and up the grass road to the house on the left sitting on the high area. No one was home except for some unhappy canines cooped up in the house.

Areas Four and Five: From H26 head south on Waccasassa 1.65 miles to 8785 Wesley. Turn left for 0.2 mile to a dead end at a red log house. Hike southeast for 0.5 mile (easy traveling through the woods). Pick up a ridge and an ORV trail that passes near both area high points. The second area has the South's omnipresent hunter's blind.

Area Six: From H26 and Waccasassa head east on H26 for one mile. Turn right (south) and go under some power lines past a dead end sign for 1.3 miles. There she stands, off to the right, in all her glory, the final summit and one of Florida's most difficult pasture ascents. Weary from five earlier climbs, we rested and nourished ourselves with a secret gruel, fine-tuned over centuries by the Sherpas, of anchovy-stuffed lima beans laced with raw garlic and hot peppers.

Compounding our misery was a rapidly approaching cold front destined to produce one of Florida's coldest days, temperatures in the low forties and wind-chill in the high thirties. Through gutsy perseverance we overcame all obstacles, including a class-four barbed-wire fence, and success was ultimately ours.