Pemiscot County Highpoint Trip Report

49 areas (285+ ft)

Date: October 7, 2007
Author: Bob Schwab

This is the lowest and one of the more difficult counties to complete in Missouri. Andy Martinís book suggests 51 natural areas, yet a careful review of the Point Pleasant Quad by several expert highpointers could only locate eight distinct areas (not 10 as originally reported), thus the total areas I investigated was 49.

seven areas in section 36-21N-12E Portageville Quad (285+ ft)

Leave I-55 at Exit 32 at Portageville and drive west to the center of town and the intersection with Route T. Turn left and drive south 0.5 mile, crossing the bridge into Pemiscot County. Turn right, cross the RR tracks and enter the Portageville Cemetery. There is one obvious contour here and another smaller one bisected by CR 204 just to the south. Note the dirt road that runs west, just north of the cemetery (CR 201). About 0.8 mile west on CR 201, just past a badly overgrown cemetery is a field pull-off to the south (not a real road). Park here and walk south along the field separation between the beans and corn to a slight rise. There are also four other slight (may not be perceptible) contours in the bermed and leveled cotton fields between the Portageville Cemetery and the overgrown cemetery on this road. You can park along the road, hike up the berm and wander in these fields (when clear) but I suspect the fields have been smoothed and regraded to the point that these rises may not be significant today. Of the seven areas in section 36, clearly the Portageville Cemetery contour is the highest.

one area in section 31-21N-13E (285+ ft)

Return to Route T and drive south to where Route T turns sharply left (east) and crosses the interstate. This bridgeís approaches contain two man-made 300+ foot areas mentioned in Andyís book. Immediately after crossing the bridge, find a frontage road (paved) to your left and drive west and north to its end and park. This is the spot where Andy went in search of his elusive 290+ contour (which proved to be a hole, not a rise). Drop down the bank and follow a small path directly north that parallels the interstate. Cross under the interstate where the bridge crosses Portage Open Bay (canal?) and follow the cleared path up the bank on the west side. This is a fairly large area with a notable rise inside the contour lines. Follow the path through the brush to a cotton field, with the highest ground near the trees and brush.

14 areas in section 6-20N-13E (285+ ft)

Return to where you parked at the end of the frontage road and explore the overgrown area to your east near the Roher Cemetery, where Andy searched in vain for a 290+ foot contour. You may prefer to access the two northernmost areas from the field. Each area has an obvious rise. The remaining 12 areas are out in the field to your south. Time your visit to when the crops are harvested so you can freely stroll around out there. When I first visited this area in June the field was planted with wheat (north) and beans (south). By October, the field was clear and the strolling was easy. I found an access road about halfway down the frontage road that went east out into the center of the field and I parked just under the "6" on the topo map. I talked with the owner of the house down on Route T and he told me the "strip" patterns on the map used to be tree lines that were pulled out years ago.

three areas in section 5-20N-13E (285+ ft)

From the frontage road, drive east on Route T for about 0.9 mile to spot elevation 283. There are field access roads going north and south here, along with a steel power tower. Turn north onto the field access road for 0.25 mile to another intersection next to a telephone pole which seems to be as high as anything in this contour. A second area is east about 0.1 mile which can be accessed by a field access path starting near the telephone pole.

For the third area, return to Route T and continue east for 0.5 mile, turn left and park in the lot at the Hayward Baptist Church. There is a significant rise in the cemetery under the trees, just north of the church. This area appears to be undisturbed and is probably the most pleasant highpoint in Pemiscot County.

one tiny area in section 4-20N-13E (285+ ft)

Continue east on Route T another 0.8 mile. Note the tan house and white trailer on the south side of the road. Also, note the small treed/overgrown area out in the field to the north. This is an old cemetery site but the rise here is nil compared to what you just visited at the Hayward Cemetery.

three areas in section 2-20N-13E (285+ ft)

Continue east on Route T to where Route TT goes north and Route T turns south. There is a University of Missouri Agricultural Field Museum here. Turn north on TT and stop at spot 285 in 0.5 mile. Pull off onto a field path to the west and park. Note that this large area west of Route TT is bermed, with higher elevation fields north of the path. The cotton field on the east side of the road can also be visited from here, with a quick hike across the road and across the berm.

Return to the intersection of T and TT and turn east onto a good gravel road that enters the U of M agricultural demonstration facility. About 0.2 mile east, where a field access road heads north into the cotton and bean fields, is a small drive-over spot in the middle of the road that seems more man-made than real.

five areas in section 1-20N-13E (285+ ft)

Continue roughly another .5 mile east (about 0.75 mile from the paved highway) to a field access road going north. These are all demonstration fields associated with the U of M agricultural extension program. Turn north and drive up to the bend in the path, near spot elevation 280 and park. Walk north along the field margin (if crops are in), or cut northeast across the field if the crops are harvested to the margin along the open bay canal. There are three rises here, the westernmost seems suspect, but the largest and highest one is to the east, with the highest spot just east of the M in Pemiscot. There is a lot of rise here which is apparently natural, given how far out it extends into the field to the south. Hike another 0.35 mile south into the center of the field to two more rises (which are both lower than the previous area), then circle west back to your car.

two small areas in section 20-20N-14E (285+ ft)

From the intersection of Routes T and TT, drive south on Route T for 1.6 miles to Stewart. Turn left and follow the levee east about 2.6 miles to the county line. If you climb up (or drive up) the levee near the county line, you will find the third area where an unnatural 300+ foot contour exists in this county. Continue east beyond the county line for roughly another 1.25 miles and turn right onto a road which crosses over the levee and drops down to the fields. Follow this field road and take the obvious right fork that heads due south. This road will bend around for another 1-2 miles but will end at a conservation area parking area (Girvin Conservation Area). Park here and take the left (eastern) gated path. Follow this path as it heads east. When you get to a T in the path in a field, take the right fork. When this path ends at a field, cross the field and find two low humps along the south side of the field, within view of the Mississippi River. I double-checked these two areas, since some topo maps show this area as being in New Madrid County. The folks at the county courthouse down in Caruthersville assured me that this area is indeed part of Pemiscot County. While this was quite an adventure finding these areas, my sense is that the Porterville Cemetery, the area just west of the interstate bridge, the Hayward Cemetery, and some of the areas at the agricultural extension farm are all higher than these two soft-soiled bumps.

one tiny area in section 11-19N-13E (285+ ft)

I didnít think this spot was likely to be the county highpoint because the people at the Department of Agriculture told me the ditching that was done here years ago was what probably formed this small contour. Given the 3+ foot rises I had detected in several other sites thus far, I assumed they were correct; this spot probably wasnít a viable candidate but somebody needed to at least go look at it, right? Anyway, access can be had via CR 333, which is a road that runs north from CR 336 and connects with CR 330 (see your Delorme). About 1.5 miles north of CR 336 on CR 333 is a gated gravel road going east. Hike approximately 3 miles east, 2.5 of which will be on roads/farm paths. When you finally run out of field roads, cross the field heading due east. This small spot is just east of the ditch shown on the topo. It sits in a treed/brushy strip just shy of the river. As I surmised initially, this one isnít all that prominent; itís not the county highpoint but you can get in a nice 6 mile hike to check it out (unless the gate is open).

12 areas in sections 19/20-19N-14E (285+ ft)

These 12 areas are challenging to visit and sit right along the edge of the Mississippi River in a treed/overgrown area surrounded by private property. Use your Delorme map to work your way east from Hayti to CR 336 and drive east to its end. The field roads are strongly posted here, so originally I turned south, passing the Oregon Cemetery and parked at the corner at spot elevation 277. Hiking east along faint paths and tracks through the brush and poison oak, I eventually arrived at the high banks along the Mississippi. Since the water levels were very low, I dropped down the bank near a hunting blind (36-15-57N, 89-34-17W) and hiked north about 0.4 mile along the river margin, then re- ascended the bank to find the southernmost area (36-16-21N, 89-34-11W). These mounds are surprisingly well-defined and some are composed of fairly soft soils and humus that my boots sunk into a bit as I walked on them (not hard ground). Hike north by bushwhacking through the trees and brush. The area under the "20" on the map seemed to be one of the higher mounds and the area to the west of the "20" area was out in the field. Several of these bumps are now quite close to the riverbank and erosion is threatening to eat some of them away. Continue to the northernmost area, then drop south to catch the last area (36-16-44N, 89-34-18W). Continue south through the woods a short distance to a field road (posted at CR 336). Quickly hike west to CR 336, then hike south along the road back to your car.

I discovered a shorter access route is possible by following the posted lane east from the end of CR 336. The lane quickly bends south and hits a parcel of land marked as a conservation area. Continue south along the edge of the conservation land to a flagpole, then turn left (east) and park at a spot where the path starts to bend southeast away from the conservation area at 36-16-24N, 89-34-28W. From here, hike east along the edge of the conservation land into the woods and youíll soon find yourself near two adjacent bumps, just north of the southernmost area. This route will save a fair bit of walking but I donít know whether this conservation land is accessible to the public year round. The Department of Agriculture people I talked with in Caruthersville told me they believe the highest ground in the county is here, along this section of the riverbank.