Taylor County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: January 2, 2007
Author: Denis Dean

Although Andy's book mentions 21 areas, I found 27 possibilities (25 of which were on the topo map) including the 105-foot "manmade area".

From the intersection of US 221 and SR 14 in Shady Grove, I drove 6.1 miles east to Main Bay Canal Road. There is a large sign here for The San Pedro Bay Wildlife Management Area and a gate which was open. The area is posted by the State against unauthorized hunting including hunting with dogs; however I crossed paths with numerous hunters all of which had at least one dog.

San Pedro Bay is a typical north Florida swamp with dense vegetation, lots of pine trees, and a near-surface water table. I followed Main Bay Canal Road generally south through numerous intersections, including a right at an obvious fork. The sand road was very muddy in areas due in part to the 5+ inches of rain that had fallen in the area over the past nine days and I was glad to have my 4WD truck. Turn left (east) on Fish Lake Road.

Area 1 is just before John Green Road. I wasn't sure if this was a 100-foot contour on the topo but I hit it just in case, there was a noticeable rise in the road.

Turn left (north) on John Green Road, take the first right on a very wet road to Area 2 near the road in a cleared area.

Return to Fish Lake Road and turn left (east). Area 3 is a short distance east of John Green Road on either side of Fish Lake Road.

Return to the John Green Road intersection and turn left (southwest). Area 4 is a short distance south of the intersection on the south side of the road.

Continue southwest on John Green Road to Area 5 which also appears to be on the south side of the road.

Continue south and take the first left onto an unsigned road heading southeast. Area 6 is at the south bend in the road and appears to be on the east side of the road.

Continue heading southeast and take the first road left, heading northeast. Area 7 is on this unsigned road.

Turn around and head southwest. At the T intersection, turn left on an unsigned road. Take the second left on yet another unsigned road. You will soon arrive at an intersection with two oak trees. Area 8 is this entire intersection and I felt that the highest area was near the eastern oak tree. I had to jump over a small canal to get to the tree.

Area 9 is on Bottle Road, just southeast of Area 8 and runs to the Madison/Taylor county line.

Continue southeast on Bottle Road to the intersection with Camp Jackson Road. Turn left on Camp Jackson Road. Head north and look for a dirt road heading east. The road had an open gate and was signed "Road Closed to Vehicles". Go east on this path and take the first right onto a grassy woods path, head southeast to a dirt road. The grassy woods path had signs on either side of the road that seemed to indicate hunting leases. Continue basically east/southeast on this road which is West Bound Road. Go past County Line road to an obvious rise in the road. This is the center of Area 10 which is the very large area just south of the Madison/Taylor county line. There are numerous roads and paths which allow exploration of the area although there is also some bushwhacking needed.

The manmade area (Area 27) is within Area 10 and appears to be just west off the road in some trees and brush. There was a little creek near this area and a footbridge across the creek. I cannot say for certain that the 105-foot area is natural. All of these "southeastern" areas are in an active timber cutting area and there were some signs of earth moving operations all over the area due to the constant cutting and replanting of pine trees.

From Area 10, head south to the triple forked area shown on the topo that has a spot elevation of 103 feet.

Turn right on Farr Road. Area 11 is barely split off of the southwest fork of Area 10.

Continue west on Farr Road to Areas 12 and 13.

From Area 12 head south on a lesser road that was extremely wet. I headed south/southwest on this road for a short distance and ended up walking to Area 14 which was in a recently cleared area.

From the road go south to Area 15 which was to the left of the road in a cleared area.

Continue south. The road was completely underwater at this point and I engaged my 4WD. I turned right at a T intersection and went west to Area 16. At this point I ran into some timber company employees. One of them asked me if I was ok and when I positively replied he continued on down the road.

Return to the aforementioned T intersection and park. Walk south through cleared timber to a little ridge that seems to contain Area 17.

I returned to my vehicle and continued east on the road. Within a short distance, I ran into the timber people again who were conducting operations in the middle of the road. I asked the foreman if it would be better if I returned the way I came rather than waiting for them to clear the logs in the road to which he replied "Yes, they would probably be there for 30 minutes or more". I did not get the feeling that the employees minded my presence on their site but I never revealed my true reason for being there.

I returned to the triple-forked area and headed east on a road. Shortly before I reached the next intersection, I was stopped by a very large mud hole. Needing to work off some holiday pounds I decided to park and walk.

Area 18 is near the intersection of Farr Road and Rocky Island Road. There were some pushed-up areas near some trees that were obviously manmade.

Turn right (south) on Rocky Island Road to Area 19.

A short distance south of Area 19 near "BR 99" on the topo was an area on the left (east) side of the road that rose up about 5 feet and was capped by two mature trees. Although the area is not indicated to be 100 feet on the topo, I had the feeling like I better step on it so I am calling this area 20.

Continue south on Rocky Island Road to the intersection with Smith Road. Area 21 is east of Rocky Island Road and north and south of Smith Road. The southern part seemed higher but it also seemed altered.

Area 22 is west of Rocky Island Road and requires a little bit of walking into thick brush to ensure that the highest part of the contour is reached.

Return to the triple forks area and head due south on Max Road. Area 23 is barely separated from Area 10's southern protrusion.

Continue south to areas 24 and 25. The road becomes very muddy south of this point.

Continue south, then east to Area 26 which is northeast of the road in a partially cleared area.

I left the area by backtracking to the San Pedro Bay entrance.

Taylor county requires some walking and bushwhacking but it could have been a lot worse. In the summer and any day above 70 degrees I would be aware of snakes and alligators (It was in the 40s on the day that I was there). Although the area had just been inundated with rain, I would not recommend taking a passenger car into this area even during dry weather because dry sand roads can be very soft. The entire county took me 4 hours to complete. The 5-foot contours are very subtle and I cannot eliminate any area with certainty although I have reservations about the square contours that lay directly under the various roads.