Howell County High Point Trip Report

three areas near Sterling (1,560+ ft)

Date: June 17, 2002
Authors: Dave & Beckie Covill

Turn off of US 60 0.1 miles north of Howell county line near Sterling. This is a frontage road sort of; drive 0.7 SE on it, along RR tracks. The 1st 2 areas are here, the 3rd is a mile south. We passed a small RR crossing, no gate, with sign saying no trespassing, at about 0.3 mile.

We parked, crossed the RR tracks, and scrambled up an embankment and passed through a loose fence. In front of us, spreading out for over a mile, was a lush field of waist high grass, like an African savanna or something, with only a few large pine trees poking up here and there. We waded through the grass for about 0.7 mile to the northeast, expecting to get ticks & stickers, but only getting green grass seeds in our shoes. Just before we reached the 1st of the 2 areas, we came upon a decent rutted road. We walked up it over the 1st area to the 2nd, which is bisected by the county line.

There is an east-west fence here marking the county line, and a gate right near the high spot, where the road continues to the northeast to a 3rd contour of equal height, then west to a farm complex. The high spot is at this 2nd contour, about 75 feet out to the southeast in a grassy field, and leveled about 5 feet higher than the 1st contour you come to. We put a small cairn by the east edge of the open gate, as it would not be visible out in the field, and called it good.

We walked back along the road, and it did indeed come out at the private RR crossing. We passed through a tight gate vertically at a gap between it and the post. I imagine that you might want to look for a property owner on this one, but we saw none on that side of the road. No signs indicated the ranch owner at all. Pretty cool area, weird walking through grass that tall.

The 3rd area is south of Sterling. It is a tiny contour on a ridge surrounded by 3 roads, just west of US 60. We drove about 0.3 mile from Sterling south on 60, then turned right and went west on paved AM road about 0.4 mile and pulled over where we thought the road should be cutting back hard to the right, by the lookout tower on the map. This road was once paved, but is now barely visible. It was gated at the bottom. No sign at all of the tower. We had to go about 500 feet northeast on this poor road, cut uphill, and cross a fence. We bushwhacked through VERY dense brush to the top, then crawled to the high ground. We think it was a rock at a fence line on the southeast side of the ridge, about mid-point in the contour. We scrambled over that fence and down to the car. Note: don't do all this.

Merely come 0.3 mile from the highway, park on AM just below a large, obvious, and solitary outcrop, and carefully scramble up from here. Cross no fences at all, just look for high ground, where we put a cairn, and scramble back down on loose rocks, about 60 feet down. This could be done in about 5 minutes up. No way to tell if this is higher or lower than the grassy area on the county line.