Lake County Highpoint Trip Report
Stony Tower Hill (2,080 ft)
Date: July 24, 2007
Author: Dave Covill
There are two fine trip reports posted on cohp.org, by Mike Schwartz in October 2001,
and Richard Carey in June 2001. Both will get you there, although I was
off a fair bit from their mileages, costing me a half hour walk on an old
Mike notes to drive to mile 2.3, and Richard says to go to mile 2.6. I ended up
finally finding the right spot, at mile 2.8. I checked this both in-bound and
I will post my mileages here, such that someone might use them to more easily
get to the right spot to stop the car.
First, I drove all the way here in 2WD, although I admit I have a mid-size SUV
and it was fairly dry, although there was one spot, probably the one noted by
Richard, with a bit of mud but I splashed through it easily. I would say a
Subaru could make it in decent weather. I might not take a 2WD car all the way
here and might walk the last mile of it on foot.
Second, it's only about 400 feet uphill to the top and, I agree, no witness markers.
The path has been overgrown a bit in the years since 2001 and there
are a couple of dead trees down across it as well, somewhat obscuring what was
once probably a nice path.
There is a small marker set by someone named Brian Back, with a blue sign,
noting the CoHP. I did see the typical Richard Carey register but the paper in
the glass jar was damp and difficult to write on. Jobe Wymore and others had
signed it. I left a small cairn at what seemed to be the high spot but it's
probably all been disturbed for 20 feet around there. Only a few concrete
footings denote the former presence of a tower.
From MN 1, go 39 miles southeast from Ely, or 23.1 miles northwest from Illgen
City near Lutsen at the junction with MN 61, the main road along Lake Superior.
Arrive at what is called Isabella Station, near a ranger station. About a half
mile west of the ranger station, find FR 103 going southwest away from the road,
at a blind curve. Use caution entering and exiting the somewhat high speed
highway here. Richard mentions this is near Mile Marker 223, it is actually
just east of MM 323, which confused me greatly. This road is certainly not 323
miles long as measured from the west end at the ND state line I don't think,
so I have no idea what the MM's are doing being denoted so high but they all were
300+ coming from Ely and going down to Lake Superior. Strange. Maybe it winds
and twists enough to actually be that long, I can't say.
Reset Odometer to zero and leave Highway 1. At mile 0.6 is a new road or
clearing on the left (south) side. At 1.5 is a swamp on the left (south).
At 1.8 is a junction to the left, stay right on the main road. At 2.5 is another
junction to the left, again stay right on the main road. At 2.6 is a slight
crest in the road (clearly visible on the topo), followed by a damp spot which
could be muddy with rain. At 2.8 reach the slightly higher ground at the foot
of an overgrown path angling slightly east of due north, to the HP. Park here,
getting off the road up the path a bit in case somebody comes by (unlikely but possible).
I initially followed the mileages in the other trip reports and wandered up an
old logging trace just barely visible on the topo as a single dashed line at
mile 2.6. This was soon deemed not the path to righteousness and I continued on
to mile 2.8 and the real path. I walked up in about 3 minutes from the car,
sweating profusely in the humidity.