Jackson County High Point Trip Report

Date: November 11-14, 1999
Author: Fred Lobdell

Andy Martin's book lists 9 areas on the Alford and Compass Lake quads for Jackson County, but three of these are shared between the two maps, thus reducing the total to a more manageable six areas. And considering that three of these are on paved roads, and a fourth area is just across some railroad tracks from a major highway, the county goes from being a formidable challenge to a rather more ordinary multiple-area county.

From the intersection US 231 and the dirt road described as the access to the second and third Bay County HPs (see report) go north on 231 about 1.8 miles. (This should be 0.8 miles north of the Bay/Jackson county line.) Turn right on a local road going toward the community of Compass Lake. (This is the former route of US 231, and is shown inaccurately on the DeLorme. A copy of the topographic map, 1994 edition, is strongly desirable here.)

Take this road north for about 3.2 miles, past the settlement of Compass Lake, to a height of land at an intersection. Park here and wander around on the shoulders. The map shows "BM 320" at the eastern edge of this area, but we were unable to find a bench mark.

For the second area, continue north on the paved road another half mile, to a height of land. Park and walk around.

The third area is reached by continuing north for a little more than a half mile to where the old highway rejoins the new US 231. Turn left (south) on 231 and go about 0.7 miles to the crest of the hill. The shoulders are wide here and there is plenty of room to park. Walk around on both sides of the highway to be sure of getting to the high area.

For the fourth area, descend the steep embankment to the railroad that parallels and is just west of US 231. Climb up the equally steep embankment on the west side and walk around this area. The highest area appears to be right by the embankment, but it may have been artificially enhanced during the excavation for the railroad cut.

Now return to your car and drive north on 231 about a half mile to Pike Pond Rd., mentioned in the Bay County report. Turn left (west) and drive about 1.1 miles to the 6th right turn. (The roads in this area seem to have been changed somewhat since the map was made.) Turn right (north) and go about a quarter mile or a bit more to where the road starts to descend. There will be an open (hopefully) gate on your left (west). Turn in here and drive about another quarter mile or a little more to where a road goes off to your left (west). You can park here and walk west along that road.

After a short distance the road passes through a closed gate that is posted by a hunting club. It is not necessary to climb the fence; you can walk due west parallel to the fence through some open woods until you get to the height of land along the fence line. The high area will be to your left (south) a short distance into the woods.

The 6th and last area is in some respects the most difficult. From the area above, return to Pike Pond Rd. and turn left (east). Go about a quarter mile to a relatively new dirt road on the right (south). (The jeep trail shown on the topo at this point is just past the new road, and is gated and posted.) Turn right and follow this new road as it goes to several houses. We parked just past where it turned left (east). From this point you will need to bushwhack generally southwest through a brushy field to a fence line. At this point you will regain the jeep trail shown on the topo. You can follow the jeep trail west a short distance; where it turns left (south) you will be inside the 320-foot contour. There is a house and fenced yard on the north side of this area, but it didn't look any higher inside the yard than outside it. We walked around in the woods south of the house and yard, but any high areas are pretty indistinct. The boundary between the wooded area and the cleared area around the house is accurately depicted on the 1994 Compass Lake quad, and is helpful in figuring out where you are.