Kent County Highpoint Trip Report

two areas 2 1/4 miles west of Coleman on Still Pond Neck - including spot elevation 102 ft (100+ ft)

Date: January 3, 2005
Author: Dan Case

This marks a new low for me -- as in lowest elevation county highpoint I've yet done, breaking my own record of a couple of years ago set in similar (and nearby) Cumberland NJ. For anyone planning to do this on a trip into or out of Washington, I highly recommend routing your trip north through Annapolis and over the Bay Bridge.

Mike Schwartz's directions, as usual, are excellent and I have written my report to give a bit bigger picture of how to get there, in this case assuming most would be heading out from Annapolis (although I also include directions down from I-95). Maryland's roads are signed and maintained excellently as always, for which its taxpayers and officials should take a lot of credit but here I had the choice between a more efficient route that was also more complex or an easier-to-describe but slower route. I chose the former and this makes these directions a little more complex (lots of three-digit route numbers to remember -- perhaps MD went a little overboard designating state highways). However, they will get you to downtown (such as it is) Still Pond, where Mike's route begins.

Also, I note that it should be remembered that in Mike's directions, unlike some of his other reports, the mileage numbers he gives are not cumulative -- in other words, once you turn on Still Pond Neck, it is not a mere 1.2 miles to the HP. This confusion caused me some worry and uncertainty as I approached but fortunately I was able to determine where going too far was and get back to what my gut told me was the right area. This was the right time of year to visit, as you can be sure the field where I think the true HP is will not be planted. We benefited from a day that started out gorgeous and unseasonably warm -- it really felt like springtime at first. Driving on the Eastern Shore is a pleasure, with nice open farmland country and relatively low-trafficked roads (although we had to suffer behind more than the usual share of slow-moving vehicles).

My one regret about this HP is that it doesn't have what one wishes, from first looking at the topo, it had: a view out over the Chesapeake. It's rather uncharacteristic for the HP of a low-lying Mid-Atlantic coastal county to be so close to the water. The reason I first thought it could be done from I-95 is that I fully expected it to be close to the DE state line. I also wonder whether this could be the HP of the entire Delmarva Peninsula.

To get there, take US 301 north from where it splits with US 50 east of the Bay Bridge. Go up to MD 305 and take that north to Centreville, then take a right and go north on MD 213 through Chestertown and over the drawbridge that marks the Kent County line (uncharacteristically, for Maryland, unsigned).

Continue up 213 to MD 561 and turn left. After crossing the railroad tracks and passing through the small hamlet of Lynch you will reach MD 298. Turn right and go north on that. It is also possible for those paying attention to street signs to turn left on Still Pond Road a few miles past this junction, which skips this step. A few miles after that you will reach MD 266, with signs for Still Pond. Turn left, reach Still Pond after a mile or so, and follow Mike's directions to the HP area. If, along Still Pond Neck Road, you reach the dirt road to Camp Tockwogh that bears off to the right while the road itself goes left, you've just passed the HP ridge.

You might want to park near there, though, as the berms aren't quite wide enough close to the HP for those who want their whole cars off the road. We parked in what appears to be the access road for the microwave tower, just in front of the log house (number 24472) whose vast front lawn contains the first area. We walked around enough to satisfy ourselves; I suspect the area in front of the small hemlock trees near the tower road may be even higher than what's in the middle of the lawn.

It's probably a lot easier to cross the little strip of woods between the road and the field behind it across the road in winter than summer; even so, we had to be mindful of thorn bushes blocking the paths through the pines. Once in the field, the high area is not too far away and pretty obvious. It comes to a pretty indisputable height of land, the likely candidate for spot 102, to its rear, and then drops off.

Standing here and looking back across the road, I think the field area is definitely higher. It might be possible for two future visitors to bring hand-levels or something, stand on each area, and try to settle this more definitely.