Hardin County Highpoint Trip Report
20+ new areas near Radcliffe (1220+ ft)
Date: December 26, 2005
Author: Bob Schwab
I visited these sites in a cold, blowing fog (visibility was about 500-1000
feet) which made most hand-leveling impossible. Occasionally, the fog lifted a
bit but, for the most part, no elevation comparisons were possible. Sites were
confirmed with GPS entries which I had previously determined (CONUS NAD 27 datum).
In one case in particular, this process was critical because the alleged contour is
in reality a hole! By the way, I hope this report allows me to "redeem" my
original claim of completing Iowa in 2004.
2 areas in section 30: To visit the newly-discovered areas near Radcliffe,
leave I-35 at exit 133 and drive east 5.3 miles on Route 175 to the county line
and Zublin Avenue. Turn left and drive north on Zublin a little more than 0.5
mile to some grain bins to the east, just north of a purplish-colored house.
The man at the house informed me that the area I was interested in was owned by
a Mr. Hakes, who lives in the yellow and brown farmhouse 0.5 mile northeast of
the two areas (12453 260th Street). Once permission is obtained, drive up the
access road to the easternmost grain bin and park. Then hike north and
northeast to the two obvious contours out in the field (areas 1 & 2).
The snow was about one foot deep, with an icy crust that made the "postholing"
more bothersome than I expected.
9 areas in section 31: Return to the intersection of Zublin Avenue and Route 175.
Drive east on Route 175 for maybe 0.25 mile to a field access on the south
side of the road next to a north-south fence line and park. Walk south along
the fence line (corn stubble to the east, plowed field to the west, snowdrifts
about 1.5 feet deep) a short distance to the obvious high spot along the fence and
just east into the cornfield (area 3). From here, walk due west several hundred
feet to a tiny spot in the plowed field (area 4).
For the next two areas, return to the intersection of Zublin and Route 175 and
drive south on Zublin about 0.25 mile to a slight crest in the road and park here.
This is area 6, and it extends out into the bean field about 0.1 mile.
Area 5 is another low rise out in the field about 400-500 feet to the northeast.
Continue south on Zublin Avenue roughly another 0.25 mile to the half-section
line, which is marked by an east-west fence. Park here near a telephone pole
and hike east along the south side of the fence for 0.5 mile to the center of
section 31. The highest ground is just south and southeast of a cluster of trees.
There are about three areas along the fence and out in the field to the
southeast that should be visited. This area (7) feels and seems quite high and
is one of the three highest areas I encountered on this trip.
Return to your car and continue south on Zublin another 0.3 mile to two grain
bins on the east side of the road (#22793). Park here and wander east on a
fairly flat area (8) that actually extends across the road from the east.
Continue directly east into the cornfield about 600 feet to an obvious banana-
shaped contour (area 9) and then north-northeast roughly another 600+ feet to a
smaller area (10).
Return to your car and drive 0.2 mile farther south, to the intersection with
340th Street. Park here. This is the spot elevation 1222 shown on the topo map.
It is obvious that the highest ground within this contour is about 0.1 mile
north and just east of the road in a cornfield. This spot within this contour
(area 11) is at least 4 feet higher than the intersection. Note that the ground
within this same contour to the west of the road (not in Hardin County) seems to
slope downward rather remarkably (could field erosion have lowered the field
this much?). The highest ground is east of the road, within the sliver of the
contour that is inside Hardin County.
4 areas in Section 6: Continue south from the intersection of 340th Street and
Zublin Avenue for about 0.1 mile to the farm of James Bergesen (#28124).
I spoke briefly with him and left him a map of the contours I was investigating.
His house and buildings sit on area 12. I felt that one of the highest spots
within this contour was northwest of his house, not far from the road and trees
he has planted. There are two other smaller areas about 0.25 mile southeast of
his house out in the fields. I continued down the road about 0.2 mile and then
hiked east, crossing a fence or two, to visit these modest areas out in a
cornfield (areas 13 and 14).
Drive south on Zublin to the intersection with 290th Street and turn left.
Drive east about 0.25 mile to an old farmhouse (#12213) on your left (north).
The house has "no trespassing" signs nailed to the door but, when I knocked, the
man who lives there was friendly and I gave him a topo map. His house sits on area 15.
I think the highest spot within this contour is just northeast of the house.
On the topo map, there is a suspicious contour drawn just north of this
area out in the field, but it is clearly a depression, not a rise.
4 areas in section 32: Drive east on 290th Street 0.75 mile to C Avenue.
Turn left and drive north on C Avenue for 1 mile to 280th Street. Turn right and
drive east on 280th for 1 mile to county S-27 (paved). You could park here
along 280th to snag the two areas in the southeast corner of section 32 but I
recommend you turn left and drive north to the microwave tower and park there.
Hike south on the road a few hundred feet to the old access to a farm (now gone).
The fence surrounding the field has fallen down in several places along this
part of the road. Hike due east 0.4 mile to a large contour out in the
beanfield (area 16). About halfway out into the field, you will cross over the
tiny area on the topo map that Iíve designated as area 17. You may have to use
your imagination to "see" this one. On the way back from area 16, circle to the
southeast to the two obvious high spots near the highway (areas 18 and 19).
As I said, these areas could also be easily be visited from 280th Street but I
couldnít find anyone at home at the house (#13696) on 280th Street,
so I chose not to park near their property.
2 areas in section 33: From the intersection of S-27 and 280th Street, drive
east on 280th for about 0.6 mile and watch for a benchmark (BM Drake) which has
posts and markers on both sides of the road. Park at the BM. Looking west,
note the north-south fence at the half-section line and the obvious rise along
it, just a 100 or so feet north of the road. This is area 20 and I was
surprised by how obvious this rise turned out to be. Hike directly north from
BM1 (on the north side of the road) for about 500 or so feet. This is supposed
to be area 21 but note that you walked downhill from the road and the fence to
the east (area 20) looks higher than ever. I believe this final area (21?) is
an incorrectly drawn depression, not a rise! I tramped all around this spot
with my GPS so I know Iíve covered the ground but I didnít see anything that
made me feel this last area is a 1220+ contour.
In summary, I believe there are only 20 (not 21) 1220+ contours near Radcliffe.
I think field erosion has lowered some of the 20 areas to the point that they
may not really exist anymore. I was somewhat impressed with the "feeling" of height,
particularly at areas 7, 11, 16, and to a lesser extent at areas 1, 2, and 12.
In my opinion, these are the clusters most worthy of consideration as
potential county highpoints. Given that weather conditions prevented me from
doing hand level checks, I encourage future visitors to similarly visit all 21
alleged sites and decide for themselves.