Madison County High Point Trip Report
26 areas (1,260+ ft)
Date: March 14, 2004
Author: Bob Schwab
Andy Martinís book reports 27 areas for Madison County (of the "Bridges of
Madison County" fame), but due to one overlap across a quadrant line, there are
only 26 unique contours that must be investigated. Most of these areas are
clustered right along the western edge of the county line, but road conditions
vary greatly and frequently a good road will suddenly turn to a muddy
unmaintained (or unplowed) track. In other words, be prepared for anything.
two areas in section 18-74N-29W
From the city of Greenfield, drive 9 miles south and east on Route 25. In the
town of Orient, continue driving east on Route G-61 for another 9 miles to the
Madison County line. Another 0.2 mile brings you to Applewood Avenue, where you
should turn left. You can ask at the farmhouse for permission to walk around
the yard or you can park at the intersection of Applewood and 308th Street to
hike into the center of the large area. Drive north to the area near the
neighborís house (where the road turns to mud). You can further inspect the
flat field here and also hike west 0.2 mile to stand on the "sliver" caused by
the county line (no elevation gain of significance at the "liner" site).
five areas in section 30-74N-29W
Return to G-61 and continue east 0.8 mile to Bittersweet Avenue. Turn right on
Bittersweet and drive south 2 miles to 325th Street. If youíre brave, drive
west on this road for 0.8 mile to the intersection with a track named Applewood
(high-clearance needed). At this point, you can either drive north or south on
Applewood, or park here and hike north and south to visit four contours that are
all just east of the Applewood track in the tall grass. This is a nice area to
visit when itís not overly wet or muddy. If youíre scared off by the road, then
donít approach from here. Instead, continue south on Bittersweet to 330th
Street. Turn right and go west 0.8 mile to Applewood (good road south, scary
track to north). Park here and simply hike north on Applewood, visiting the
areas as you go. There is a fifth area right near this intersection, so be sure
to not miss it.
nine areas (including spot elevation 1265) in sections 31/32-74N-29W
From the corner of 330th Street and Applewood, you can walk a short distance south,
then go west into the long grass to visit the first two distinct areas.
Drive south on Applewood about 0.4 mile to just beyond some buildings, where a
large area is in the pasture/grass to your left (east). This one is fairly high,
and from it you can see another small spot off to the northeast. About 0.25
mile farther south is another area that sits high in the field above the road
and some woods. Drive to the corner and turn left if you dare (otherwise park
and hike). This mud track is called Madison-Union Street. After you pass the
driveway, things can get slippery. The road cuts across two areas along the
south county line. Cross over the first area and note the orange gate. This is
the western edge of the second area, which has a couple spots out in the
cornfield (both here and in another 0.25 mile) that are visibly higher than the
road where spot elevation 1265 is located. There is a field access spot (and
parking place) in another 0.2 mile where you can park (if you got this far with
your car). In the dry season, this is probably just a rutted, dusty road, but
in the spring itís juicy! If the road isnít too bad, continue east to the
intersection with Bittersweet (also an under-maintained road here). Turn north
0.1 mile to the crest where another contour straddles the road. Continue north
on Bittersweet to the intersection with 330th Street and the "good" road.
To visit the final area in this section, turn left and drive west on 330th Street
for about 0.4 mile. You will crest over a rise, then watch for field access on
your left as you drop down. The gate (posted) provides access to the final area
up in the hay pasture to your southeast. After completing these areas,
drive north on Bittersweet back to the intersection with Route G-61.
three areas in section 6-74N-29W
From the intersection of Bittersweet and G-61, drive north on Bittersweet for
about 2 miles to 282nd Street. Turn left and go about 0.5 mile to Autumn Lane
and the farm and yards there. This is a significant contour that extends west
to the county line. Drive north, dropping down to 280th Street and turn right.
Drive east 0.2 mile to where the road crests. Cross the fence to investigate
two contours in the cornfield to the south. The western area is higher and more distinct.
Watch out, because they run a lot of cattle in here when theyíre not
growing corn. From here, go west to the county line (spot elevation 1262).
You can park here and walk southeast into the hay/pasture and bean fields to more
fully explore the large east-west contour. There is a gate a short distance
east along the road which accesses the hay/pasture land.
two areas in section 31-75N-29W
Drive north on the county line (Adair-Madison Avenue) about 0.5 mile to obvious
high ground. Note the buildings are gone to the west, and the corn, hay and
bean fields out to the east are large and high. Thereís two areas here,
with the dividing line roughly near the gate and telephone pole.
(Hay and beans vs. cornfield). Hike east and enjoy the space!
five areas north of 270th Street
Continue north on the county line road to 270th Street. Turn right and drive
1.25 miles east (cross Bittersweet Avenue) to some really old buildings.
A large butterfly-shaped contour crosses the road here (beans north, corn south).
The bean field seemed a bit higher to me.
Next, return to Bittersweet and drive north about 0.6 mile (just north of 265th Street).
Here is another large contour that sits in the bean field on both sides of the road.
Continue north to 260th Street and turn left. Go west about 0.35 mile to a gate
and park here. This provides access to the huge contour that spills south and
north into sections 19 and 30. Walk south into the bean/corn area and north
into the bean field. Use your hand level to pick the places you think should be
investigated. You can also access this field from the county line
After youíve worn yourself out hiking this one, continue west on 260th to the
county line road and turn right. Go north 0.75 mile and park near a gate to the
west. Hike east along the northern edge of an east-west fence line. This line
cuts across a small area and intersects a second larger contour in about 0.5 mile.
Hiking in long grass or unplowed land is preferable to hiking in muddy
bean fields, so time your visit carefully with an eye toward both access issues
and weather conditions.