Payette County High Point Trip Report

one spot elevation (4,763 ft) and two liners on the Gem, Payette County Line (4,760 ft)

Date: June 8, 2003
Authors: Barney Metz & Sammy Metz

This was a drive-up for us.

We drove North through Nampa and onto Emmett. Once in Emmett, we proceeded north towards Black Canyon on Highway 52. At the juncture where Highway 52 heads east toward Black Canyon, continue north on Van Dussen Road. You will pass through the "spot V" ranch, a Van Dussen ranch. I guess it is not too hard to figure out where the road name came from. After passing the ranch, the road becomes pretty unbearable with washboard. It could be driven over by car, but if you can get a rental for this one, I would. I was very uncomfortable driving my truck over this, as it was extremely wash-boarded. Also note, I like Ken Jones' reports and having him already proceeded me in Idaho is a blessing. To get to the creek bottom that he refers in the beginning of his report, you have to drive a long time. Maybe it was the wash- boarded road but I was always doubting myself thinking I missed it. You will end up going down and coming to a road bearing left, ignore this, you will immediately cross the Big Willow Creek (this is not signed and this will be the first creek of any size you will have crossed over) and the road will fork, you want to take the left fork.

I examined the southerly jeep road knowing I was going to use an ATV on this county highpoint quickly so that we could move onto Gem. I decided there wasn't much road here. We proceeded off to the Washington County and Payette County Boundary. There was a crest where both signs, shot up, were posted. We pulled off and unloaded the ATV. This jeep trail is not much of a road. I would not drive my 4-wheel drive truck up this road. We proceeded following the trail to spot elevation 4763. I hand-sighted and was not comfortable, so we decided to go two ridges to the east and try to pick up the liner following these very indiscriminate trails. We went south then east and descended into the creek and came up the ridge near the 4400 marking on the map. We took that ridge all the way up to the 4800-foot contour in Washington County and followed that jeep trail south onto Willow Ridge. After a couple of passes looking for the cairn that Ken Jones mentions, we dismounted and began searching by foot.

We walked the ridge and then slid down to the west trying to find the cairn or even the witness post he mentions. Nothing. From here we went back up and I took a few azimuths and tried to figure out where the three counties met. We gridded a very large section on the westerly side of Willow Ridge and started canvassing. We never found the witness post. I do feel that at some point in time we had to touch both 4760-foot contours. We ended up gridding this area for nearly an hour. This exercise was not appealing to my son. We discussed thoroughly why we do this in hopes that we actually touch the highpoint at some step and knowing we put out our best faith effort. We proceeded back the way we came.

Some notes about this highpoint: I am not sure a four wheel drive high clearance vehicle can even be driven to the first spot elevation anymore. Second, I could not find the cairn or the witness post that Ken Jones describes. However, I do believe at some point we hit both contour lines. After using an enormous amount of our time, we decide to forgo Gem County this trip. We had a flat tire just north of the Big Flat Road and North Crane Road. We changed the tire and went to US-95 and headed home. So plans for four, turned out to be two.