Sullivan County Highpoint Trip Report

56 areas including 1,072 foot spot elevation (1,060+ feet)

Date: November 22, 2007
Author: Bob Schwab

This is one of the more difficult counties in Missouri to complete with 56 contours spread out over four quad maps. Two of these maps (Unionville West and Pollock) are drawn in 10-foot increments and display 14 contours of 1070+ feet, while the other two quads (Unionville East and Green City) are drawn in 20-foot increments and display 42 contours of 1060+ feet.

UNIONVILLE WEST QUAD - two areas in section 5-64N-19W (1070+ feet)

Andy martinís book indicates there are areas in section 6 but this is an error. Both of these contours are located in the western half of section 5, just west of the road.

From the intersection of US 136 and Route 5 just west of Unionville, drive south on Route 5 for 5.1 miles to the small settlement of Lemons. Turn left (south) onto Route B and drive through town for 0.3 mile to a right turn, as the main road bends left. Drive due west on this dirt road for a little more than 0.5 mile, then turn left, and proceed south for 1 mile to the bend in the road that marks the Sullivan County line. Continue south about 0.3 mile more to a contour immediately to your right (west). This hayfield is not fenced but it is posted with orange signs. The second contour is roughly another 0.3 mile farther down the road (thatís about 0.6 mile south of the county line). Park at a gate and a field road that leads southwest roughly 0.2 mile into the hayfield to the second contour. Ask at the house across the street for permission to cross the gate and walk in. There is no sign of the east-west roads that appear near these contours on the topo map.

four areas in section 4-64N-19W including 1,072 foot spot elevation (1070+ feet)

Return to Route B just south of Lemons, turn right and continue east and south for 2 miles on Route B to the county line. Turn right at the county line onto Joy Road. If you are able to drive west all the way to the end of the lane, do so. It ends at a barn which sits on the edge of a large contour that extends north into Putnam County. If no one is there or if the gate is closed, contact Glen Johnson (who lives in Lemons) for permission to enter. The 1072 spot elevation is west of the barn, not quite on the county line. Wander around on this inverted U-shaped contour but remember that everything north of the barn is actually in Putnam County, not Sullivan County. I think some of the highest ground is southeast and west of the barn.

To visit the other three contours in section 4, hike south from the barn and stay on the ridge for about 0.4 mile to two small areas in the field near the fence line. Continue southwest for another 0.3 mile to the southern area, which I think is the highest of the three spots. An alternative approach from the southeast begins near a farm lane that goes west into the field near a yellow gas sign on Route B, roughly 1 mile south of the county line and 0.3 mile north of Jassmine Road. Turn west on this field access path and drive west about 0.2 mile as it drops down to a small creek. Park here near some large hay bales and hike north along the edge of the creek to an opening where you can easily cross the creek, then hike northwest up the hill to a fence and corner where there is a cattle gate. Cross over the double fences here and hike northwest up across a large field to the southern area. Hiking directly north from the cattle gate (get on the west side of the fence) will guide you to the two smaller contours.

POLLOCK QUAD - seven areas in sections 28/29/333-64N-19W (1070+ feet)

Drive south on Route B to the intersection with Route VV. It is about 5 miles from the county line, and 3.75 miles south from Jassmine Road. Turn right on Route VV and travel west for 0.9 mile to the crest in the road, where you will find a field access opening to the north. I parked here and hiked north into the open pasture to a modest contour. The topo shows a small contour just south of the road here but I had a hard time seeing any rise here at all. The big prize is a large 1070+ contour out in the bean field to the southeast which has obvious rise and a second much smaller spot east of this. Once the crops have been harvested, you can simply hike southeast across the bean field to the highest ground about 0.3 mile distant or you can backtrack to one of the two properties immediately east, ask for permission to park there, and hike either south or southwest from those locations. Unfortunately, both properties were being renovated and no one was home both times I visited this area. I parked my car along Route VV just west of the more westerly house and found an old gate with a single wire latch along the south side of the road which gave me easy access to this fenced bean field. The large contour rises gradually as one hikes south and seems to top out not far from an east-west fence. The small area to the east is definitely lower.

Return to your car and continue west on Route VV to Leslie Road and turn right. About 0.4 mile north on Leslie Road, youíll see a modest contour out in the cow pasture (single-strand electric fence). Ask at the home just north of here for permission to hike out and claim this spot. Continue north on Leslie beyond the house on a very primitive dirt path that bends east then north to two tiny contours just west in the field. Follow Leslie Road as it bends east here. The road will improve and eventually get you back to Route B.

Of these seven areas, the large contour south of Route VV is clearly the highest contour of the group and is one of my candidates for the true Sullivan County highpoint.

one area in section 10-64N-19W (1070+ feet)

From the intersection of Route VV and Route B, drive north 3.75 miles on Route B to Jassmine Road and turn right. Drive east approximately 0.6 mile to a small barn that sits on a rise on your left (the house is gone). I walked up to and around the barn but didnít really sense the steep 20+ foot drop off to the east that is shown on the topo. In fact, I thought the highest ground seemed to be near an old root cellar/tornado shelter in the cow pasture just east of the barn. I talked with Mr. Noland (white house to the east), who said that except for when the old house was torn down, the land hasnít been altered in all the years he has lived there so I really am not sure if this 1070+ foot contour is legitimate. Walk all the way around the barn and decide for yourself but I donít think this is a real candidate for the county highpoint, given what Iíve visited elsewhere.

UNIONVILLE EAST QUAD - three areas in section 2-64N-19W (1060+ feet)

GREEN CITY QUAD - two areas in sections 1/12-64N-19W (1060+ feet)

When you get the chance to enter the property of Premium Standard Farms, be sure to visit all five of these areas at the same time because this is a difficult place to get into.

Continue east on Jassmine Road for about 0.2 mile to Grove Road. Turn left and follow Grove north 0.9 mile to Justice Road. Turn east on Justice and almost immediately youíll encounter a locked gate with several postings and bio-hazard warnings on it. The signs indicate that this property is owned by Premium Standard Farms over near Princeton. They are quite concerned about contamination in their hog farm (at the Green Hills Unit) and even require their employees to park their vehicles outside the gate in the summertime! I called the corporate offices (660 748-4647) on three different occasions between late July and November but never received a helpful referral or permission to enter their property. I decided that each time I was highpointing somewhere in the area, Iíd drop by to see whether someone was waiting at the gate or whether the gate was open. I hoped that if I encountered a local worker at the farm, perhaps I could persuade him to let me visit briefly or maybe pay him to escort me to the highpoint areas on the farm. On my fourth visit, (November 22, ironically Thanksgiving Day) the gate was open and I quickly drove up the road to the blue production office about 0.25 mile in on the south. It was noontime and the men were taking their lunch break. I explained what I wanted to do and one older fellow there said sure, I could visit but that I should park outside the gate and walk in. Apparently, they donít know the gate combination and if I got locked in -- well, that would just be too bad. He said that a large feed truck had just driven in a few minutes earlier and, once it left, the gate would be re-locked. I quickly drove back outside the gate and parked my car. Sure enough, as I started to walk back east along Justice Road, a big truck came down and locked the gate!

Now to describe the areas. Walk east on Justice Road, passing the blue office on the south. Continue east on this excellent gravel road toward a white shed on the north. Just before you get to the white building, note the field and gate angling in from the northwest. The man said I could wander in the fields since no animals were outside that day (actually, there was 2 inches of snow on the ground, it was 20 degrees and windy). Cross the gate and walk northwest along a faint path to the highest ground. I thought the highest point in here was actually almost due north of the blue production office. Donít let your eyes trick you into walking too far to the northwest because you do not need to visit 1060+ foot contours in the adjacent West Unionville Quad . This quadrant has 1070+ foot contours, several of which youíve already visited.

Continue east along the road to a large cluster of hog barns to your north (Unit #2). Follow the drive up this obvious rise and find the highest ground between the barns. From here, you can hand-level the four other sites. Only the site to the north appears to be about as high as this area; the other three appeared to be lower. Since I accessed the northernmost area from Grove Road, Iíll comment on that one a bit later.

Continue hiking east to where the road bends south and then take the south fork toward yet another cluster of hog barns. The road has been relocated and now passes to the east of the next contour, which is now crowned by a cluster of hog barns. I think this area was bulldozed flat to build these barns and does not appear to be as high as the Unit # 2 site. Continue south on this road to yet another cluster of barns just east of spot elevation of 1056 feet. I think the same fate occurred here and, while I found a bit higher ground between some of these barns, I believe this spot has also been flattened in the construction process. My hand-level checks back toward Unit #2 seemed to confirm that both of these areas (which are actually in the Green City quad) are lower than the Unit 2 location. To visit all four of these areas from the gate will require a hike of about 3 miles round trip. If you could get permission to drive in, the whole visit could be done in maybe 15-20 minutes.

After returning to your car at the gate, drive west, then north on Grove approximately 0.5 mile to an old farm (not occupied) which sits just north of the county line near spot 1064. I parked here near a shed and hiked east 0.5 mile across the harvested fields. After you cross the draw, the field separation on the county line disappears and you can wander south on the final 1060+ foot contour. Hand-level checks seemed to indicate that this spot, as well as the Unit #2 site, are the two highest contours in the Premium Standards Farm property.

GREEN CITY QUAD - six areas in the southern half of section 23 and in section 26 (1060+ feet)

From your previous location, drive south on Grove Road until you encounter Route M. Follow Route M south and then east for roughly 1.5 miles. Note the nice the south. Easy entry can be had near the tan farm building across the street and the first contour is out in the cornfield a short distance to the south. A better approach to the other contours can be found by continuing east on Route M for roughly another 0.5 mile. After Route M bends south, watch for an access lane to an old grain bin out in the field. Drive out and park at the grain bin. There is one small contour to the south near the road but hike west, then south to visit the other four contours in this large field. You may have to cross a fence or two but the walk from here is shorter than from the farm to the north. Obviously, this can only be done when the crops have all been harvested.

six areas in sections 13/14/24 and the northeastern part of section 23 (1060+ feet)

Return to Route M and drive north to the bend in the road at spot elevation 1058. Take the short driveway east toward an old barn in the trees, with hay bales stored around it. This contour hasnít been lowered by annual plowing like the others across the street. Note that the dirt road going north (Gentry Drive) is gated about 0.25 mile up. On my first visit, I didnít know who to contact here but I subsequently learned that the owner lives up the road about a mile and the gate is always unlocked. So, on my second visit, I let myself in and drove north to the end of the road, where I obtained permission from the farmer to wander among his cattle to visit these contours. There are no fences inside the gate so access to the four large contours near spot elevation 1059 is quite easy. I parked near the spot elevation site and easily visited all four areas. Hand-level checks seemed to confirm that the highest of the four contours is probably the northeastern spot. Be sure to keep the farmerís gate closed when you visit because the cows will follow you, even as you drive back down the road. There is one more tiny 1060+ foot contour about 0.7 mile west of the farmerís house and sheds but I did not set foot on it. The farmer confirmed that the area was really flat (the field can be seen from his sheds) and, with virtually no rise within the drawn contour, there is no reason to visit it because this county has several confirmed contours above 1070+ feet.

seven areas in sections 25/36-64N-19W, 30-64N-18W and extreme western 31 (1060+ feet)

Return to Route M and drive 2 miles south and east to toward the junction with Route 129. As you approach Route 129, note the large high contour that crosses the road about 0.2 mile before the intersection. This is the most significant contour in this cluster. You can try to park along the road here (difficult) and explore the hayfield to the north and the pasture to the south. The two smaller areas out in the field to your southwest can be ignored because they are definitely lower. To explore the southern 1/3 of this large contour, I turned right at Route 129 and found a field pull-in near several hay bales about 0.3 mile south on the right (west). I parked here and hiked west on field paths into the hayfield where I found definite high ground, then went north into the pasture to explore this area. There is also a small area east of the Route 129 pull-in which you can visit while youíre here and thereís another tiny spot east of the road about 0.25 mile south (the buildings are gone) but, frankly, these spots donít have sufficient elevation to be contenders. Return to the Route M/129 intersection and go north about 0.25 mile to the brown farmhouse on your right. Get permission here to wander back toward the white barn, then south into the (posted) weedy field east of Route 129 which seems to have some of the higher ground I found in this contour. Continue north on Route 129, passing a blue water tower, and watch for a field lane going west at spot elevation 1062 (more hay bales here). I pulled in here and parked. There are two small contours about 0.2 mile east just southeast of Route 129 in fenced pasture but they both hand level lower than this spot. From the spot 1062 site, one can wander south into the cornfield or north into the hayfield to further explore the northern end of this large contour. Follow the farm lane that goes due west of the spot elevation site for about 0.5 mile. After it drops and passes through a tree line, it re-enters a field which includes the northwestern wing of this large contour. There is also high ground out here. In my opinion, this contour may have elevations above 1070+ feet and is a definite must-visit for anyone wanting to claim this county.

one area near Pennville in section 8-64N-18W (1060+ feet)

Drive north from the Route M/Route 129 intersection for 4.35 miles just beyond Pennville to an intersection with Harris Drive, just beyond a gray house. Turn left and follow this dirt road a short distance to a gate where you can park and hike south into a hayfield/pasture. The contour also reaches back through the tree line toward the gray house and a beige trailer. I thought the highest ground was in the field but itís all pretty flat.

two areas in section 1-63W-19W (1060+ feet)

Return to the intersection of Route M and Route 129 and continue south on Route 129 for 1 mile to where the road bends east. Turn off here onto Goose Drive and stop at the corner near the barn (the house is gone). This is an obvious contour with high ground and it extends toward a smaller and lower contour out in the field/pasture to the southwest. There were several cows roaming outside the fences the first time I was here, which I reported to the neighbor to the east.

four areas in the center of section 31-64N-18W (1060+ feet)

Get back onto Route 129 and head east just a short distance to a white house on your left, where Route 129 veers toward the southeast. This is where I originally reported the loose cows on my first visit to the area. Get permission here to hike north into their bean field on a field access path. This is a very large contour which is fully visible and is quite flat. There are three smaller contours (one very tiny) which extend to the north-northeast, but none of these seem to have much elevation gain. The highest ground of these four is definitely within the large bean field but, even here, Iím not sure this site is a contender for county highpoint, given the high ground found up near the Route M/129 intersection, the high spots in the Premium Standard Farms property, and the 1070+ contours seen along Route B and Route VV.

three areas along Hedge Drive in section 32-64N-18W (1060+ feet)

Continue south along Route 129 for roughly 0.7 mile to where the road bends abruptly south. Turn left (north) and follow Hedge Drive for about 0.5 mile to a small drive-over contour in the road. Continue a short distance (maybe 0.1 mile farther) to a wire gate on your left, just before the road drops. Park here, cross the gate and hike northeast to a larger contour behind a pond in the pasture. Continue north maybe another 0.25 mile to where the road bends right and pull into the treed area which is a former house site. There is high ground here. Once again, these are interesting contours but none have a ten-foot rise within them, which is necessary if they are to contend for the true county highpoint.

three areas in sections 5/6-63W-18W (1060+ feet)

Return to the intersection of Goose Drive and Route 129. Instead of continuing south on Route 129, note the field path going east from this intersection. Follow the path a short distance and park in the field. A low contour is clearly visible about 0.1 mile to the northeast and in fact I Martinized it. This field path leads to a prominent wind-monitoring tower which is currently being used to assess the reliability of the winds here. One of the things I learned from talking with the county commissioners was that this area will probably sprout a large wind turbine farm in the very near future. This may make it easier for future highpointers to visit some of these contours but, for me, most property owners wanted to know whether I was working for the power company.

Continue south on Route 129 for about 0.8 mile to Memphis Road (west) and Anchor Road (east). First, turn right and drive west on Memphis Road for about 0.3 mile, passing a cell tower. Park at a blue gate and shed (house is gone) where the road deteriorates. Cross the gate and hike north about 0.2 mile to a small 1060+ contour. Return to the intersection with Route 129 and continue east on Anchor Road for 0.75 mile to the intersection with Route YY. Turn left and drive north for about 0.9 mile to a white house on the left (# 16159). The owners were very cordial and allowed me to wander around on their property (it was 20 degrees and windy!). This is a nice little contour but, once again, this isnít likely to be the county highpoint.

four areas in Green City sections 7/8/17/18-63N-18W (1060+ feet)

Drive south on Route YY for 2 miles to the intersection with Route 129, just north of Green City. Drive south about 0.5 mile and watch for the Green City school on your left. Just beyond the school, turn left (east) onto Fifth Street. I think some of the highest ground in this large contour is not far from the Friday/Fifth Street intersection. I suspect the contour has been flattened somewhat when the school was built.

Continue straight south about 2 blocks as Route 129 bends west and turn left on Second Street. A second contour straddles Second Street, although I thought the highest ground seemed to be closer to the loop intersection. Continue on the southern loop to the corner, where there is a gate which allows access into the field to the south and yet a third small contour.

To visit the fourth contour in Green City, get back out to Route 129 and the park in the center of town. Route 129 bends slightly to the left as it goes south but watch for First Street which angles off to the southwest. Take First Street west for about 3 blocks to near the intersection of First and West Streets. This whole contour is extremely flat. The ground near the Fire Station was about as high as anything out here. Of the four areas in Green City, my guess is the area up near the school is the highest.

one area in sections 21/22-63N-18W (1060+ feet)

From the intersection of Routes 6 and 129 just south of Green City, drive south on Route 129 for 1.5 miles to Orange Road. Turn left and drive east for 2 miles to Homestead Road. Turn left on Homestead and drive about 0.6 mile. After the road bends east, watch for a gate on your left and park here. There are no buildings here anymore. Hike northwest on a farm path for roughly 0.35 mile to the contour which straddles the section line.

In summary, there are 56 contours in Sullivan County but only a handful are real contenders for the county highpoint. In my opinion, the highest ground is probably in the bean field south of Route VV where I suspect the elevation is just shy of 1080+ feet. The area along the northern county line near Route B and spot elevation 1072, the large contour near the intersection of Routes M and 129, and the two highest spots in the Premium Standard Farms property should all be considered serious contenders as well. Several other contours show significant rise above the drawn contour lines but, in order to be in serious contention, one must be able to detect at least a 10+ foot rise in the quads where the contours are drawn in 20-foot increments. Most of the 1060+ contours do not exhibit such a rise. This was the final county I completed in Missouri, and it certainly was memorable that I completed it on a cold Thanksgiving Day (November 22) at the Premium Standard Farmsí hog farm! I hope the next MO completer has an easier time than I did.