Knox County Highpoint Trip Report

one spot near Wheeler on Kayjay quadrangle (2,322 ft)

Date: December 24, 2004
Author: Estus Hibbard

This is one rough mountain! I came in from Jones Cemetery on the southeastern side of the hill after driving off KY 225 onto Jonestown Road. I stopped at the cemetery gate and walked uphill a little to a brown double-wide and asked permission to hike. I asked a middle-aged, blonde-haired woman and gladly gave me permission. I informed her that the HP of Knox County was behind her place and she told me that as a kid she and her friends played on the rocks up that way and that she didn't have a clue that it was the highest point of anywhere.

I walked back down the driveway to the cemetery gate and walked about 400 feet through an open field. On the right is Jones Cemetery and all you have to do is walk straight uphill directly behind the cemetery.

Almost halfway up the spine of the ridge upwards (shown on Topozone behind the above-mentioned cemetery) is where the fun really begins, so to speak. Not only does to route get steeper but you run into a boulder field. I simply skirted to the right and proceeded uphill. About 380 feet from there, you will run into what appears to be a small spring and the first evidence of a 4-wheeler trail on the mountain. I walked west about 200 feet and kept going uphill. Aside from a moderate amount of briars on the hill, this is about the worst you'll come across.

At around the 1,690-foot level, I turned around, looked through the trees and there off in the distance (southeast) was Pine Mountain, easily visible in all its glory -- covered in snow and the evening sun was shining on it. The view from there was worth it and you can start to appreciate the rather grand scale of that mountain. I had to keep going uphill and ran across the 4-wheeler trail 3-4 times while en route.

At around the 2,200-foot mark, the steepness of the mountain starts to become better, which was good, since my lower back was protesting all the way up! Hey, I'm 27 but that was getting ridiculous! You could also make out the promised land (the top of the hill). Looking around, I was still able to see Pine Mountain and off to the southwest about 3 miles (maybe) on that same mountain I swore I could see the two HP spots for Whitley County.

Once you get to the top of the hill, it's a rather large contour area and I stood at what appeared to be the highest point on the mountain (I walked around for about two minutes, just in case). As for the HP, there's really nothing remarkable about it, except knowing you just conquered one more county. The views were rather negligible at that spot and nothing was there to indicate you were at the spot. Almost the entire hill above the cemetery was dusted with snow, by the way. I summited around 5 pm, so I had to skedaddle back downhill in order to have a prayer at making it past the worst spots by the time it got dark. I had my MagLite with me just in case and I made it to the car by the time it was dark. There was a full moon in the sky to help light the way and I didn't need the flashlight.

I had first attempted this mountain back on November 17, 2002. It was my first-ever attempt at a county HP. My sister, brother-in-law, and his niece all attempted this one and the females turned back about halfway up. My brother-in-law and I nearly made it to the top but daylight ran out on us and we were finding our way back down (also by a full moon, by the way). We mainly followed deer trails that he was able to find. Five more minutes of daylight in my estimation and we would have summited.