Echols County Highpoint Trip Report

thirteen areas 3/4 to 2 3/4 miles west to northwest of Howell (175+ ft)

Dates: March 17-18, 2007
Author: Michael Schwartz

Done with Kevin Williamson. The highpoint areas are just into Echols County, about nine miles east of Valdosta via Howell Road. The area is tabletop flat and the only area where we found any relief at all was the small one paralleling the railroad tracks at NAD27 (30.8286° N, 83.1003° W). There the ground rises about a foot and that may be a relic of railroad construction. Otherwise, GPS is absolutely mandatory to have any clue where you are.

The remaining areas are inside a large, gated area planted to pine rows and is leased to a hunting club. We made contact with the hunters, who were there for a non-hunting weekend of R & R. They remembered Kevin from a previous scouting expedition [sound familiar?] and allowed us the run of the place. Call Kevin for contact details.

Kevin had pasted together a montage of aerial photos, which showed all the roads in the hunting area, most of which were not shown on the miserable orthophotoquad topos. They were extremely useful in helping us position ourselves.

Our strategy was to "walk" the featureless contours in a series of transects from waypoint to waypoint, with waypoints positioned to ensure reasonable coverage. The only thing that made it feasible was the extreme dryness, which meant no bugs or ticks. Anytime we left one of the contours, we immediately ran into standing water and it was obvious that, under normal conditions, even the highpoint contours would have standing water in many places. In several contours, the underbrush had grown above head-high and made for tough going.

The railroad track near area one is crossed on the approach. This is a busy freight line with trains running at about 60 mph.

I would categorize Echols County as "a reclusive test piece" (with credit to Gerry Roach for that phrase) for prospective GA completers.