Mississippi County Highpoint Trip Report

17 areas (330+ ft)

Date: December 30, 2006
Author: Bob Schwab

Andyís book lists 18 natural areas for this county but one contour straddles the Charleston and Bertrand quads, thus leaving 17 unique contours to investigate. Some of these contours have experienced significant lowering/erosion over the years and probably arenít above 330 feet anymore.

four areas in Charleston Quad

Leave I-57 at Exit 10 and drive 2.1 miles north, all the way through Charleston. Park in front of a yellow house near the intersection of Route N and Route 220. Stand next to the oak tree and phone post in the fence line on the east side of the road. This is area 1. Continue north on Route N about one more mile to some trees on your right. There is a road going left here, with a field access to your right. Park in the field access and investigate the trees and the contour that goes north into the field (area 2). It appears that this may have been the old roadbed years ago -- I really canít tell for sure. The trees on the southern end appear to be higher than anything out in the field and the contour on the topo map doesnít seem to agree with what you see in the field today. I suspect that continuous cultivation has lowered much of this contour. The highest spot I found was actually a rock near the southernmost trees, which I suspect was dug up and placed there.

For area 3, turn around and drive back to the intersection of Route N with County 220. Turn right and drive west for 1.25 miles to a yellow brick house (#50) on your right (north) and ask for permission to wander on the rises in their lawn and in their yard. They have a nice place.

For area 4, continue west on County 220 for 1 mile to Route NN, then south on NN 1 mile to US 62. Turn left and drive east for 1.1 miles on US 62 to an tree- lined driveway going north to a farm (Gargas). Drive up to an old brick house which sits on an obvious mound. This is certainly a natural rise and feels like it could be the true county highpoint. Since I didnít find anyone to talk to at the farm, I left quickly, but not before I approached the house which appeared to be unoccupied at the moment.

11 areas in Bertrand Quad

Return to the corner of County 220 and County 217 near area 3. Drive north on County 217 for 0.5 mile to the 326 spot elevation site, where a brick house has been built. Ask for permission to park here and walk north into the field. These folks donít own the fields but didnít think there would be a problem (I think the folks to the right may own it but they werenít home). Walk directly north for about 0.2 mile to a large contour which straddles the Charleston and Bertrand quads (area 5). Angle west and northwest out into the field to visit the four other areas (6-9). The two largest contours seemed to be the highest and some untilled ground near the old building and off to the north (area 9) is probably the highest of all. There is another, less visible way to access this area from Route NN and the west. The path heading east to the 328 spot elevation is gone, thereís only an old silo there now, but the tree line is posted. Thatís why I used the southeastern approach.

Get back to the intersection of County 220 and Route NN, drive north for 1.5 miles to County 222, passing the alternate approach route to areas 6-9 and the silo described above. Turn right on County 222 and go east 0.15 mile to a house and buildings on the north. There are two tiny contours on both sides of the road here (areas 10 and 11). The bank of the field to the south is higher.

Return to the intersection of County 222 with Route NN and drive north on Route NN for about 0.5 mile to the county line. Find a place to park along the highway and hike west into the field for about 0.3 mile to an obvious rise just south of the fence (area 12). Next, angle southeast for 0.25 mile to another contour in this field (area 13).

Return to your car and get back to the intersection of Route NN and County 222. Drive west on 222 for 0.25 mile and park along the road. Hike a short distance south along a tree line which has obvious rise (area 14). I suspect some of this is not totally natural. Perhaps cultivators pushed some debris into these trees, thus building the ground up a bit. I also wondered whether the wind could have blown dirt across this field, which got caught by the foliage in the fence line. There are signs of significant field erosion in this county (note my report on area 2, plus the old RR crossing on Route NN about 1.3 miles south of here) but this area definitely has some high ground and is worth visiting.

To visit area 15, continue west on County 222 another 0.75 mile and turn north. This road is either a continuation of County 222 or it is County 357 but, whatever it is, go north 0.5 mile to the county line and park along the road. Hike east along the tree line for 0.1 mile to an obvious rise which extends out into the field. I think the highest ground is right on the county line, in the fence/tree line.

one tiny area under a house in Cache Quad

From I-57 at Ext 12, head east on US 62 for 3 miles to County J. Turn left and drive north 3.9 miles on County J to the intersection of Route AB. Bear right and continue another 1.2 miles to where the road encounters the levee. Follow the road right as it snakes along under the levee for another 1.5 miles. This road is rough but passable in a regular car. Turn left, driving up and over the levee. Continue another 1 mile to an obvious intersection. County 203 goes left and county 201 turns right. Turn right and follow County 201 first east, then north, for another 4.9 miles. This is lonely country; you wonít see anyone as you drive by very flat fields in the Mississippi mud flats. Finally, you will approach a lone building on stilts on your left, followed shortly by a farm shed on your right. Park here where the road turns to the right. Walk south along the margin separating the field from the lowland woods for about 0.35 mile to a lean-to shed of some sort that is badly deteriorated. It sits on top of a significant mound, although I doubt it is natural. When I probed the top ground, I sensed rocks just under the surface. Perhaps this was a place where they dumped debris but the age of the building indicates that any alteration happened a very long time ago. This area is really in a lonely place.

one tiny area on Wyatt Quad

This is a tiny spot on the topo map which is across the river from Cairo, Illinois. Go east on US 62 to the southern end of the bridge to Cairo. Watch for a Fiska gas station near the levee and pull in here. Donít get on the bridge because it will be a long drive before you can turn around and come back to this spot. Carefully head north on US 62 and then almost immediately pull off onto the levee that runs east, right at the edge of the bridge. Almost immediately, you will see a drive that goes left off the levee down under the bridge. Follow it. Itís steep but ok for most cars and will lead you right down to the edge of the river. Park in the little recreation/conservation parking lot there and walk out into the field near the trees. You will quickly discover that there isnít anything in this field that resembles what you see on your topo map. Whatever it was (it was probably some artificial structure) it has been removed and the ground is considerably lower here now. In other words, there really isnít anything here for a highpointer to visit today, unless you want to see the mighty Mississippi rolling along.