Tipton County High Point Trip Report

96 areas plus one man-made (930+ ft)

Date: April 5, 2002
Author: Bob Schwab

This is one of the larger multi-area counties in the country, but it only took 5 weekends of committed effort, scattered over a three month period, to complete. Success involves locating the sites, figuring out the best route of approach (and whom to ask for permission), and experiencing good field conditions. The fields must be bare, and I really mean bare -- no crops, no big corn stubble and no significant snow (drifts exaggerate and obscure depressions). Rain and/or thawing conditions usually produces a sticky, clay-like mud that just won't quit (I've scraped at least 70 pounds of mud from my boots over the past few months). Frozen ground or several days of dry conditions make for the best field trekking. Don't forget your hand level and your GPS. You'll use them both a lot in Tipton county. Several of these areas barely rise above the surrounding soil, and in some cases plowing and erosion have literally smoothed them away.

After consulting with Andy Martin, I found 47 areas (plus a man-made railroad grade) in the Kempton Quad, and 49 areas (plus a "mystery contour") in the Sheridan Quad. What follows is a review of the areas located in each relevant section. The 96 official areas are keyed to a set of topo maps I have created. If you plan to visit Tipton county, contact me. I'm happy to share my maps and offer advice to make your visits less stressful than mine were.

two areas in section 5-21N-3E of Kempton Quad (930+ ft)

From the intersection of US 31 and Indiana Route 28, drive west on Route 28 for 4.75 miles to 1075 W Road. Turn right on 1075 W Road and drive north 1.1 miles, crossing a high railroad grade at the 1 mile mark. Turn in at the house and barns on the left (854 South 1075W Road) and ask Mr. McMullen for permission to visit the grove of trees and enlarged yard he has created to the west of his home. Area 1 starts in his pleasant yard and extends westward out into the field. If Mr. McMullen is not home, you can visit the field portion of this area by going west along the railroad grade and then north into the field. To visit area 2, continue north on 1075 W Road for about 0.25 mile and park along the edge of the road. Hike west into the field to an area with lighter-colored soil. You will see several likely humps out here, so pay close attention to your maps and GPS. Do not be deceived by a faint ridge to the southwest of the true contour.

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ten areas in section 6-21N-3E of Kempton Quad - not counting the railroad grade (930+ ft)

From the railroad grade crossing just south of Mr. McMullen's house, drive west for 0.5 mile along the railroad track to the town of Kempton. When you can cross the grade (Pike Street), do so and head east for the fertilizer factory on the north side of the tracks. Park here and hike almost due north for 0.15 mile into the field to visit area 10 (see map). Return to the grade crossing and proceed north on Pike Street (1125 W Road) for about 1 mile to Division Road. Turn left and go west for 0.35 mile to a farmhouse on your right (Box 11596). I asked a lady here for permission to park in her yard as I explored the several spots (areas 1-8) out in the field to the south. Hike south to area 1, which is not only the largest area in section 6, but also seems to be the highest. From here, you can hike west to area 2, then south to visit areas 3-5. I then went southeast to visit area 8, northeast to area 7, west to area 6, and then returned to the parking area by hiking back across area 1. Total trip was about 1.3 miles, but the hike was slow because the ground was full of clods and uneven, as well as muddy in places. After returning to my vehicle, I retraced my route back to Kempton. From the Pike Street grade crossing, drive west 0.85 mile on Railroad Street, staying on the north side of the tracks. Notice how high the railroad grade is here. This grade is the man-made area mentioned in Andy's book, and it extends west all the way to the county line. Follow this road all the way to the county line sign and find a place to park here along the edge of the road just before the pavement stops. Notice the small rise out in the field to your north. This is area 9, and while it's not large, it feels "high" when you stand on top of it.

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sixteen areas in section 7-21N-3E of Kempton Quad (930+ ft)

Return to Kempton and cross the tracks to the south on West Street. Continue south on West Street for five blocks to Walnut Street, the last cross street on the south side of town. Turn left on Walnut and drive east to the end of the road and park. Hike east into the cornfield and in about 0.1 mile you will enter the large contour I call area 1. There are several high spots within this large area so you will want to wander east and south. To visit area 2, hike south then west across the field, once you've gotten below the back yards of the houses along Walnut Street. Area 2 is small in comparison to area 1, but it is quite distinct and easy to find. Return to your car and return to West Street. Drive south, just beyond the last house on your right, and you will cross over area 3 which extends into the fields on both sides of the road. My topo map indicates an elevation of 932 feet here, but I didn't see any markers. Continue south on West Street, which has now become 1150 W Road, and park in the parking lot for the McMullan Funeral Home. Hike east and then north in the adjacent cornfield to visit area 4 which is due east of a house just north of the funeral home. Continue south on 1150 W Road to the intersection with Route 28. Turn right on Route 28 and stop at the house of Anthony Clark, who rents the first house and barns you see on your right (area 13). Mr. Clark informed me that this entire half section is owned by the Campbell Seed Company, whose plant is located about 5 miles northeast of Kempton. I contacted Fred McCorkle at the Campbell Seed Plant for permission to wander these fields, and I obtained permission from Mr. Clark to park my van in his yard as I wandered this area. Mr. Clark's house and barns sit on what I think is the highest of these five sites (area 13). From the north side of his house, hike north and then east to visit areas 12 and 11. Hike west from his barn almost to the fence to visit area 14, then hike north to visit area 15. Return to Route 28 and continue west about 0.5 mile from Mr. Clark's driveway into Clinton County. Watch for a road of sorts (1380 E Road, also known as Floyd Road) that goes off to the north. Follow this road north for 0.5 mile to a yellow pipe stuck in the ground that marks the half-section line. Park here and hike east across the field for about 0.25 mile. At this point, you will re-enter Tipton County and you'll see some obvious rises in the terrain to the south, east and northeast. This is area 16, and after spending some time wandering this large contour, I became convinced that the highest spots in section 7 are probably located here. Return to your vehicle and Route 28. Drive east for about 1 mile, passing the intersection with 1150 W Road. Pull-off to your north near an old brown barn and park. The barn more or less sits on top of area 9. Hike west in the field about 0.1 mile to area 10, which is larger and more prominent. One can also hike northeast from the barn, skirting an obvious depression to visit area 8, and by continuing in a more or less northerly direction, you can also visit areas 5 through 7. I did not access these areas (5 - 8) from the barn, but rather from a route that approaches from section 8 to the east (see my section 8 report). There are several ways you can lay out a hiking route in these wide-open fields.

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nine areas in section 8-21N-3E of Kempton Quad (930+ ft)

From the brown barn, drive east on Route 28 for 1.25 miles to an old garage on the right, which is east of a large house (Mark Boyer). Park here and hike north across the field toward the left side of a wooded area. As you approach, you will see the rise (area 1) in the field between two wooded areas. Return to your car and drive west on Route 28 for 0.75 mile to 1075 W Road. Turn right and go north for 0.25 mile to a large tree on the right side of the road. Turn left into a field lane and park here. Hike west on the grassy path between the fields and shortly you will see the low humps and lighter-colored soils that represent areas 2 and 3 to your left, and areas 5 and 4 to your right. A simple loop hike will net you these four areas. In addition, if you continue west on the grassy path, you can visit areas 5 - 8 in section 7 as well (see section 7 report). From the post at the end of the grassy path, hike northwest to visit areas 5 - 7 in section 7, and go west- southwest a short distance to visit area 8 in section 7. This is the route I used to access these areas. Continue north on 1075 W Road and watch for a single post on the left, followed by a fence running west. If you get to the orange drainage pipe on the right, you've gone too far north. Park along the edge of the road between the fence and the post and prepare to hike east into the fields. I found it helpful to have a rough GPS reading to help guide me to the correct locations for both areas 6 and 7. Area 6 is about 0.15 mile east and roughly 0.1 mile north of "the post" on the road, while area 7 is roughly 0.35 mile east and 0.1 mile north of where the fence on the left intersects 1075 Road. From area 6, you should be able to spot area 7 roughly 0.25 mile northeast in the field. Continue north on 1075 W Road to the intersection with 100 S Road (parallels the railroad track on the south). Turn right and drive 0.2 mile east on 100 S to a home and outbuildings that sit on a slight knoll to the south (10531 W 100 S Road). This is the property of Myron Barnett, and while I didn't get the chance to meet him, I was able to determine that a spot in his driveway just east of his house is probably the highpoint of this area. Drive back to the intersection of 1075 W Road and 100 S Road. Go east for 0.1 mile and park along the road. Head toward an old barn as you hike south into the field. Area 9 is just southeast of the old barn.

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two areas in section 16-21N-3E of Kempton Quad (930+ ft)

Drive south on 1075 W Road back to the intersection with Route 28. Turn left and go east 1 mile on Route 28. Turn right on 975 W Road and proceed south for 0.3 mile to a slight rise. There are two small areas on either side of the road, each with a house sitting on it. Area 1 (east) is occupied by a house owned by Bob Stafford (2278 South 975 W Road), while area 2 (west) has an older home with an active dog outside and some farm buildings nearby.

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six areas in section 18-21N-3E of Kempton Quad (930+ ft)

Return to Route 28 and drive west for 2.3 miles to the county line. Park on the north side of the highway next to a fence line and hike directly south into the field about 350 feet. A finger of land extends across the county line from the west (area 1). Return to your car, drive east 0.5 mile and turn right at 1150 W Road. Approximately 0.4 mile south is Cunningham Farms (2398 S 1150W Road), which owns this section. Ask for permission to wander these fields either at the farm, or at the house immediately to the south. From Route 28, proceed south on 1150 W Road for 0.15 mile. At 300 feet east of the road is a slight rise in the field which is area 3. From this point, head southeast across the field another 0.1 mile to area 4, which is a bit more prominent. After returning to your car, proceed south another 0.1 mile and park along the road. Hike due west for 0.25 mile to area 2. This spot is difficult to see from the road and a GPS unit with target coordinates prepared in advance will aid you greatly in this terrain. Continue south on 1150 W Road past Cunningham Farms to the second house on your right. Rod and Angie Cunningham live in this home, which sits on a contour (areas 5) that extends east across the road into the field. I gave Angie a map and explained what I was doing. I think area 5 is the highest contour in this section. Area 6 is the most difficult spot to visit in this section. Park along the road just south of Rod and Angie's house and hike west about 0.5 mile into the fields. Stay north of the lone tree in the field and watch for the lighter, reddish soil. Use your hand level and GPS for assistance. When you get close, it will become more obvious.

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eleven areas in section 19-21N-3E of Kempton & Sheridan Quads (930+ ft)

From the intersection of 1100 W Road and Route 28, drive south on 1100 W Road for 1.55 miles to a white house on your right (3560 S 100 W Road). The garage and immediate back yard sit on an obvious rise. No one was home when I knocked at their back door. This is the only area in section 19 that is located in the Kempton Quad. Continue south and stop at the next farmhouse on your right (3798 South 1100 W Road). This house sits on a large contour that extends southeast into section 20 (area 5 in section 20 description). Identify yourself and ask for permission to wander the fields west of their house to visit areas 2 and 3. Area 2 is a gentle rise in the cornfield 0.15 mile due west of a post and telephone cable box along the road just north of the house and barn. Area 3 is 0.25 mile west of the road and west-southwest of the house. It would be shorter to approach this area from the south (along 400 S Road), but if you're combining your visits to areas 2 and 3, it's shorter to simply loop around the barn and house. Area 3 wasn't as high as I expected, and area 2 seemed to be more prominent. Continue south and turn right (west) on 400 S Road. In about 0.3 mile, you will come to a large house that is being remodeled on your right (11340 West 400 S Road). I met the lady of the house who was quite friendly. The highest spot appears to be between the house and a barn/garage to the west. Continue west a short distance to a fence line (This is the third fence line from the western intersection with 1175 W Road). Walk north along the eastern side of the fence for 0.25 mile to an obvious bump in the field near a clump of trees (area 5). Drive west another 0.15 mile along 400 S Road and hike north into the field to area 6. Areas 7 is about 300 feet west and area 8 is northwest approximately 400 feet from area 6. While these areas are not very prominent, they are easy to find because of significant soil color differences. Turn right at the corner with 1175 W Road and go north to the house on your left (3814 South 1175 W Road) and ask for permission to visit areas 9 and 10. Area 9 is an obvious bump in the cornfield behind the Gilliham's house. Area 10 is a less-obvious rise in the field north-northwest of the house. I think it is easier to access area 10 directly from the road, rather than trying to loop around the property. Return to the intersection of 1175 W Road and 400 S Road. Drive west on 400 S to a white home and buildings (11962 West 400 S Road) just before the road makes a jog to the south (county line). This property is part of a contour that extends south into the adjacent section (area 12 in section 30), but the Burnettes live here, and you will need their permission to walk north behind their house to investigate the small area in the woods behind their horse pasture. Hand level checks indicate that area 11 (on the edge of the woods/pasture is lower than the area in the Burnette's front yard (area 12 in section 30), and is also lower than area 9 behind the Gilliham's home.

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eight areas in section 20-21N-3E of Kempton & Sheridan Quads (930+ ft)

From the county line (Burnette's), drive east on 400 S Road for 1 mile to 1100 W Road. Turn left and go north for 0.5 mile to 350 S Road and turn right. Go east on this road to where it swings north and park here. Head east-northeast into the field for 0.4 mile to a slight rise which is area 1. This spot can also be accessed from the east by using 975 W Road, but the approach from the west is more convenient and the parking is better. This is the only area in section 20, Kempton Quad, and continuous plowing has smoothed this contour significantly. Return to where you parked on the bend in the road and now hike south along a deteriorating fence line for about 0.2 mile to a slight rise (area 2). Continue hiking south to the corner of the woods, and then hike southeast into the woods to a low rise (area 8) whose highest spot appears to be near some large fallen trees. Return to your car and go west on 350 S Road to 1100 W Road. Turn left and go south a little more than 0.1 mile to a long driveway to the east. Areas 3 - 6 are located in the plowed field south of this property. I visited with the renters here who told me the owner of this land is Mrs. Boyer, who lives at 10962 West 500 S Road. I visited with her (she's friendly, but not well) and obtained permission to visit these areas as long as the fields were clear. Areas 3 and 4 are quite small and not very prominent, but areas 5 and 6 are large and they roll up and down. Area 5 spills across the road into section 19 (see section 19 report) and includes the house (3798 South 1100 W Road) and field to the immediate south. However, the highest ground in area 5 is in the field to the east of 1100 W Road, and the adjacent area 6 appears to have some spots that are nearly as high. From the intersection of 1100 W Road and 400 S Road, drive east on 400 S Road for 0.45 mile to an old house and barn to the east. I knocked at the door and was met by a woman who would not open the door, told me that she only rented the house, and asked me to leave immediately. I complied, but I also came back on another day and dashed to the edge of the old barn off to the east so I could claim I visited area 7. It appears that she does not use or have any interest in the barn or the surrounding fields. The rise that the barn sits on is quite low and does not have the kind of prominence seen in areas 5 and 6 to the west.

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twenty-one areas in section 30-21N-3E of Sheridan Quad (930+ ft)

Drive west from the intersection of 1100 W Road and 400 S Road to the large barn on the south side of the road. Pull off and park here (this is opposite a house [11340 W 400 S Road] which was reported as area 4 in section 19). Area 1 begins just south of a grain bin and east of the barn and extends south and east into the field for almost 0.25 mile. The highest spots are down in the southeast corner of this contour, out in the field. Circle the barn and hike southwest into the plowed field to visit area 2. Return to your car and continue west to a fence line on the south. You can park here and hike south into the field to visit areas 3 and 4 which are just west of the fence. By continuing to hike in a southwesterly direction, you can easily set foot on areas 5 through 8. An alternate approach is to park along the edge of 1175 W Road just north of a small woods. Hike east to area 8, and then head northeast in the corn field to visit areas 3 - 7. Some of the smaller contours are so eroded and smoothed by years of plowing that they are quite hard to see without aid (using a GPS). From area 8, continue east, cross a fence and find area 9 along a second fence/brush line just south of the corner of another wooded area. Cross this fence and continue east-southeast across another corn field to area 10. This area is almost due north of some man-made ponds and is just west of a grassy field access path that heads north to a woodsy area. Return to your car on 1175 W Road and drive north about 0.15 mile. Watch for a small, low contour that straddles the road (area 11). Continue to the intersection with 400 S Road, turn left and drive 0.5 mile to the Burnette's house (reported earlier in section 19, area 11). The house sits on the northern edge of the contour in section 19, but the highest spots in area 12 appear to be in section 30 in the cornfield, south and southeast of the house. From the intersection of 400 S Road and 1175 W Road, drive south for 0.35 mile to a new house built in the small woods to the east (Thomas, 4343 South 1175 W Road). No one was home when I visited, but they've built a wrap-around driveway that swings north and cuts right across the little contour in the woods (area 13). Go south to 450 S Road and turn right. Go west 0.3 mile and turn right into a drive that heads toward some grain bins. Park here and hike north-northwest from the grain bins about 600 feet to area 17, which appears to be higher than the other adjacent areas. Then hike east to area 16, northeast to area 14, south to area 15, and then southwest back to the grain bins and your car. Drive east on 450 S Road, cross the intersection with 1175 W Road, and continue east for another 0.15 mile. Stop here and survey the rise in the field immediately north of the road. The buildings shown on the topo are now gone, but there is this surprising rise in the field that does not appear on any of the topo maps. This "mystery area" seems to hand level at about the same elevation as some nearby confirmed areas (areas 8 and 15) and my GPS elevation readings are about the same as well. I don't know whether this is a real contour that was accidentally left off the maps, or whether this is an artificial mound that was created after the destruction of those nearby buildings. I did not see any debris in the soil which would indicate that this was a rubble mound, in fact the soil has that tell-tale color- shift like I've found on many other legitimate contours in this region. It is also possible that the top of this rise is just barely under the contour limit, since areas 8 and 15 are both low-lying contours and not at all prominent. Future visitors can decide for themselves. Continue heading east on 450 S Road to some man- made ponds. Look south across the ditch into the field and you will notice two small rises (areas 18 and 19). Area 18 is 0.15 mile south, along a fence that begins near the ponds. Area 19 is located in a bean field southwest of area 18, and sports a lighter-colored soil. I think the signs along the road are to discourage people from parking here and playing in the ponds. You could ignore the signs, or find another spot along this road to park (just east of the mystery area) and angle across the fields to visit these spots, or you can approach them from a parallel road to the south (500 S Road). I eventually approached them from the south (500 S Road). Continue east to 1100 W Road and turn right. Go south and turn right into an abandoned green house and park here. Hike west across some old concrete foundations to a ruined barn near a woodsy/brushy area. The barn sits on the northern edge of area 20. Return to your car and continue south on 1100 W Road to 500 S Road. Turn right and drive west for about 0.35 mile to a prominent rise in the field to your right (north). This is area 21 and it seems to have a more pronounced rise than the other contours in this section. A hand level check indicates it is higher than areas 18, 19 and 20. The sense of prominence has probably been enhanced by the drop downs that one sees to the west and northwest. When I first started to investigate this county, I thought the contour just northwest of area 21 might have been a rise, but my field visit confirms it is a hole. If you desire, you can approach areas 18 and 19 from this direction...there are no postings along this road. Remember, area 18 is near the fence line, and area 19 is west of the fence in a bean field.

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eleven areas in section 31-21N-3E of Sheridan Quad (930+ ft)

Continue west on 500 S Road to some large farm buildings on your left, just west of the intersection with 1175 W Road. Park just west of the last barn and hike south into the field behind the barn about 2/3 of the way to a wooded area. Area 1 is so tiny and faint, I'm not sure whether it is still at the 930 foot elevation. Continue west on 500 S Road and turn south. Drive 1 mile south along the county line to where 1200 W Road intersects with 600 S Road (Tipton County). There is a marker (BM H-210) and spot elevation (933 feet) on the Clinton County side of this intersection. Mike and Ginny Glunt live in the large house to your left (11980 West 600 S Road). They also manage Somerset Farms and own all the high contours down in this part of section 31. I met their daughter Sheila, who was quite interested in the section map I gave her, and got her permission to study the ten areas that are scattered across their property. If no one is at the house, go east 0.4 mile on 600 S Road to their barn complex, but wear your boots (finest swine in the area!). From the corner, go north on 1200 W Road for about 0.35 mile and look for a small spot (area 2) immediately east of the road in the field. Area 3 is a larger area just to the south, and has an east-west fence that bisects it. Go a bit farther south on the road and park near yet another tiny contour (area 4) that is barely east of the road in the field. You may also want to hike east-northeast to locate area 6, and then go south-southeast from there to area 7. Both of these are fairly small rises roughly 0.15 and 0.2 miles east into the field. You can also visit these two areas by parking opposite a yellow house on 600 S Road and hiking north. Area 5 covers the extreme southwest corner of the county and includes the Glunt's house and outbuildings. I believe the highest spot in this larger contour is north of the house, between the tree house and the propane tank. Turn east on 600 S Road and park near the yellow house if you plan to visit areas 6 and 7 from this direction. As you hike north, don't be confused by the undulations in the surface. Another area that looks like a high contour on the topo map (just northeast from the yellow house) is in fact a depression. Areas 7 and 6 are farther north and west. Continue east on the road, go past Somerset Farms about 0.2 mile to a grey house on the right (Hamilton County). The road rises slightly here (area 8) as a small intrusion of higher ground comes from the south and barely enters the field to the north. The highest spot appears to be pretty close to the mailbox along the road. Continue east for roughly another 0.1 mile (this is about 0.8 mile east from the intersection with 1200 W Road) to a field access lane to the north. Pull in here and park. There are no longer any buildings here, but area 9 extends north along both sides of the fence. Hike north another 0.2 mile along the western edge of this fence. You will find the ground drops down as you pass a wooded area and then it rises again. The Glunt's sometimes dump dead pigs along here, so be prepared for some grisly sights. Tiny area 10 sits right on the fence line here. Backtrack just a bit and follow a path of sorts into the open wooded area to your west. There was some farm equipment parked here, and a contour that represents area 11 extends west from the woods into the field.

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In summary, this county becomes awfully tedious as you visit each contour. There are no outstanding views, only flat fields and lots of people who wonder why anyone would be so crazy as to want to walk back and forth across 10 square miles of fine farmland in search of a theoretical "highpoint" that no one will appreciate. Don't bother to try this one unless you're really committed to county highpointing or you're just plain crazy.