Charles County Highpoint Trip Report

24 points (220-240 ft)

Date: March 26, 2006
Authors: Chip Clark, Don Desrosiers, Fred Lobdell, Mike Schwartz

Notation: (dd:mm:ss N, dd:mm:ss W) with datum unspecified.

This county is undergoing serious development at this time. Whatever street map you use is going to be out of date. Work with it. Getting a copy of the ADC (Alexandria Drafting Company) map book for this county at a local book store or 7-11 would be a help. As such, some of our micro-level directions may be unclear, primarily because we were not always 100% certain of where we were. Traffic will be unreasonable, particularly on weekends.

On the plus side, the development helped us in more than one case. At one point someone came to give us a hard time about trespassing on their land. They saw my clipboard and maps and figured we worked for the county and the episode ended in mutual apologies. Nobody paid much attention to us other than that.

When you get gown to it, we found 24 candidate points in all; LaPlata (7), Piscataway (14), and Brandywine (5) with two overlaps. Our route took us in roughly a circle. And for those who wonder about these things, LaPlata is pronounced "Luh PLATE uh" and if you live around here, Brandywine will frequently be mentioned in police reports.

#1 (38:36:38N, 76:55:03W) (Area 8 at From the intersection of US 301 and Smallwood Drive in St Charles, go east on Smallwood, left onto Copley, and left onto Industrial Park Drive. The HP is either at the Tri-County Youth Services building or at the Self-Storage Plus facility across the street. Take your pick.

#2 (38:36:30N, 76:54:36W) (Area 7) Samuel Mudd Elementary School, 820 Stone Boulevard. From #1, go back on Industrial Park which will become Barnesdale. Turn left onto Stone to the school on the left. This area has clearly been developed and the HP is at the very back of the school along the fence. We got called into the Principal's office and had to explain what we were doing. Really.

#3 (38:35:25N, 76:55:28W) (Area 6) Back to Smallwood going east, right onto St Charles Parkway to the vicinity of Billingsly then wander in the neighborhood to your west. Based on the topography, this small point is gone. IBI [ignore by inspection].

#4 (38:36:47N, 76:59:07W) (Area 9) Go west on Billingsly and cross over US 301 and turn right onto Brockwood. The highest point is roughly at the intersection of Kris and Brockwood and is maybe 223. IBI.

#5 (38:37:42N, 76:57:57W) (Area 13) Get back to Billingsly going east and turn left onto Middletown Road (Cat Pond Road on some maps). Middletown Road is undergoing extensive widening and we believe this point is gone. Least ways we saw nothing that rose at all where it should. IBI.

#6 (38:38:29N, 76:58:12W) (Area 20) Continue north on Middletown, go left onto Berry, left onto Bunker Hill Road, left onto Davis Road, left onto Lexington, and right onto Albany. The HP (or what remains of it) is behind the small park. Since there is higher ground behind, this is probably an IBI. You should probably visit it anyway just because there is clear, legal access.

#7 (38:38:38N, 76:59:16W) (Area 21) Back to Berry Road going west and turn left onto Mill Hill Road. We felt that the highest ground was on the eastern berm of the road as it jogged from southwest to south. This contradicts earlier reports. The MD state web page indicates this areas to be 235 feet. We felt this figure was somewhat optimistic.

#8 (38:37:16N, 76:59:13W) (Area 10) Continue on Mill Hill until it becomes a dirt road. The farthest mound was very near the road and was a touch and go. This point is probably a must-visit.

#9 (38:37:17N, 76:59:06W) (Area 11) Just to the east of #8. House #3350 sits on the point which is clearly lower than #8. IBI.

#10 (38:38:01N, 76:58:50W) (Area 24) The very large area on Mill Hill Road. This area is being seriously developed. The lobe to the northeast is gone and will very soon contain the Charles County Educational Complex. Otherwise this is an LFA [large flat area], although Mill Hill Road does appear to run along a subtle ridge. We felt the highest ground was across the street from #2845.

#11 (38:38:52N, 76:56:13W) (Area 22) Back to Berry and turn right (east). Park near the corner of Berry and Greenwood and walk south on Berry. The HP was in the field and was obvious after 6-8 feet of rise. There was a For Sale sign, so presumably this point will be going away. Otherwise, this is a must-visit.

#12 (38:37:37N, 76:56:28W) (Area 1?) Continue on Berry, turn right onto Western Parkway, right onto St Patrick, right onto McDaniel, right onto Sugarberry and right onto Sourwood to the street in front of #10639. We met the owner who was just moving in. We told him that the 230 spot elevation was pretty much in his front yard. This area probably doesn't still go to 230 but the developer is doing less damage to the ground than you frequently see.

#13 (38:37:36N, 76:55:17W) (Area 12) Come back to McDaniel, St Patrick, and Western. This HP was along Western near the intersection with Waldorf Marketplace Road. The point was probably in what is now the back yard of a townhouse, although there is a minimal but discernible rise under the power lines. Iffy.

#14 (38:37:47N, 76:55:02W) (Area 15?) Continue on Western and turn left back onto Berry then fairly immediately right into Zion Wesley United Methodist Church. From here you get to wander a bit. The entire area at the Western/Berry intersection has been extensively redeveloped, sufficient that it took us the better part of an hour to determine that points #15, 16, and 17 were either gone or in the process of quickly going. While we could not see all points in the contour, it is our considered judgment that the church sits on the highest ground in the contour and will remain so since it is not being actively developed. Several parishioners did query what we were doing. They recalled the BM, although nobody knew quite where it was any more. This is a must-visit if only because the church members were so nice.

#15 (38:37:51N, 76:54:54W) (Area 17?) Now to east of road. IBI (see #14)

#16 (38:37:54N, 76:54:56W) (Area 18?) Now to east of road. IBI (see #14)

#17 (38:38:05N, 76:54:55W) (Area 19?) Now under the power line. IBI (see #14)

#18 (38:38:49N, 76:52:33W) (Area 23) Southeast on Berry and north on US 301 to a right on Substation Road (says Police Station Road on some maps). We felt the highest ground was along a fence line on Route 5 near the intersection with Substation Rd and was obvious. Maybe 224.

#19 (38:38:37N, 76:52:06W) (Area 2) Go south on Route 5 a left on Schlagle Road which has been moved since the topo was published. The highest point was in the field next to #12750 and might hit 222 on a good day. Probably an IBI. The 221 spot elevation would have been fairly close to the road and is clearly lower than the middle of the yard.

#20 (38:39:02N, 76:52:23W) (Area 5) Back north on Route 5 and a right at the light (Dennis, we think). This area is clearly lower than #18. Highest ground is west of Route 5 in a gravel lot with cars for sale by owner.

#21 (38:38:44N, 76:50:41W) (Area 3) Continue on Dennis (?), right on Pinefield, and left onto Pinewood. At the end, turn right onto St Peter's Church Road. Park at the intersection with Sugar Mill Court. The highest ground in this large contour is either in the back yard northwest of this intersection or at 13585 Sugar Mill Court. Scoping showed both points as too close to equal to call without expensive equipment.

#22 (38:38:55N, 76:50:44W) (Area 4) From #21, go down Sprague Drive (across road from Sugar Mill), turn right onto Williamsburg, and right onto Yorktown. This point would have been at the cul-de-sac where Yorktown turns right the second time, but it is gone. The yards in surrounding houses are clearly higher. IBI.

#23 (38:37:50N, 76:54:29W) (Area 16) Get back to US 301 south to the Marshalls just past Vernon Road. This is store is about where the screen for the drive-in used to be located. If you look carefully at the parking lot, the "drive-in slope" is obvious. Highest ground was between Marshalls and 301 and is probably manmade but it is all we've got.

#24 (38:37:43N, 76:54:34W) (Area 14) In the same shopping center, find the Panera then locate the large sign for the shopping center next to 301. Again, this is probably manmade but it is the highest local ground.

We cannot say with certainty which point is the true HP for this county, although some points can easily be eliminated. The serious COHP'er will definitely visit points 7, 8, 11, 12, and 14 along with such ancillary points you cross (and you will cross some).