Winona County Highpoint Trip Report

four areas (1,360+ ft)

Date: March 14, 2005
Author: Mark Ness

On September 8, 2003, my family and I were on our way home from Charles Mound. I realized that the Winona County High Point was just off I-90, and thought I could spare the detour. Being new to County Highpointing, I had not carefully read Andy Martin's description of this county and thought that he was referring to 4 areas within the large, irregularly-shaped 1360-foot contour line one-half mile Northeast of the townhall. I looked around the area, walking to candidate high points. A few looked higher than the intersection.

After realizing my mistake, I came back to this area on November 6, 2004, and picked up two more of the four areas. I finally finished it on March 14, 2005.

Since these areas are so close to I-90, it is easiest to come from the west (Wilson exit) or east (Witoka exit), then along County Road 12, turning north on Blackberry Road to the intersection at Spot Elevation 1365.

area 1 (the largest area and northernmost)

I knocked on the door at the nearby house but there was no response. The east side of the road was planted to corn; the west side was more of a meadow, maybe clover. Just a 100 yards or so from the intersection is a radio tower, a little higher than the intersection. I walked around the area until I was satisfied that I had stepped on the highest ground.

area 2

On my second attempt, I was eager to complete Winona which had been partially completed since September, 2003. I drove past the large area first, just to see what it looked like. It was just as I remembered it, then I turned around and parked in a steep approach for the short walk to the second area. It was a trivial walk over there and back through a cornfield.

When I got back into my truck and started to back out, I realized that I was just spinning my wheels. I kept sliding further down toward the corn field, spinning each time I tried to back up, also rotating toward the north. I was eventually in the ditch between the field and the steep road. I was able to drive north for a ways and tried gunning it up the embankment but was unable to achieve the road. I kept at it, eventually ending up pointing toward the road at a right angle. There was plenty of back-up room at that point, between that corn field and the land to the north. I got a running start at the road and got part-way up, then I allowed the truck to roll back as far as it could, then tried again. On the fourth time, I got a good enough start to get out. I'll have to remember not to park in steep approaches in the future. I then drove toward the third candidate high point.

area 3

From the angle I was getting, I could see that the field was still standing corn. The coordinates I entered for Winona County the previous night were consistent with one another but were fifty miles out of place. I didn't feel like wandering around the field without a good feeling about where the middle of the high point was, so I kept driving toward the fourth area on the other side of I-90. Before I returned on March 14, I discovered that the longitude for all of these points was set 1 degree west, and corrected them. It was a trivial walk from the approach where I parked, the field long since plowed.

area 4

From the area near the second high point area, I continued on County Road 12 for 3.2 miles, then turned right on C.R. 17, which went under I-90, for 0.2 mile, then right onto Headwaters Drive, which ended at 2.3 miles. I parked near a storage barn, and walked around the area.

It was at that point when I looked across the freeway and noticed the harvesting activity right on area 3's high point. Had I come a few hours later, it would have been a simple task to cover. Oh, well.