Tyrrell County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: February 28, 2006
Author: Shannon Dillmore

I started off with the easy contours. The northern two contours were accessed by getting to Creswell NC then heading east on US 64 to the Travis Road exit. Follow signs to the Eastern 4-H center, which will take you to SR 1202 (Bulls Bay). Turn left onto a sandy road at the dead-end and the high point is clearly in the front yard of house #92. I wandered around a bit but this was the best candidate.

I returned to the car, got back on Bulls Bay Road, and took a right into a convention center on Clover Way. This is a road not shown on the topo map. I Took a right at the dead-end and the contour containing the 16 foot spot height is in the parking lot. Although the lot was obviously altered, the spot in the lot is clearly the highest in the vicinity and agrees with the map.

I then returned to Creswell, took SR 1142 (South Fork Road) southeast, then a right on Newlands Road at the 1142 terminus. After 2.3 miles on this road, I came to the West Family Cemetery. I pulled to the side of the road, wandered around the small plot, then headed to the rather obvious high point in a field about 80 yards west-northwest of the cemetery.

Then it was on to the enormous contour. I would recommend getting the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge map if you're masochistic enough to try this one. I took Newlands road west to Shore Drive (following a sign to the Pettigrew State Park), then headed south then east around Lake Phelps. Here the road turns from paved to gravel and you know you're in the NWR.

This area is marked by impossibly straight roads, impossibly straight land, impossibly straight canals and impossibly thick brush. I ended up taking Harvester road east past the county line, thinking I could knock off a bit of this huge contour -- which is roughly 2x3 miles and most of it in brush. Using Mark Dale's guide recently published on the CoHP message board, I'd call this a Grade VI, BW5. The vegetation is pure brush and rhododendron and is high enough to completely eliminate visibility but short enough to require hands to make any progress further. Adding insult to injury, this area is in a wildlife refuge, and it is prohibited to hack away at the plant life with a machete. So, I sat in the car with my map and did a bit of math.

The areas marked with vegetation measure about 1.6 miles by 2.2 miles. This means that if I made vertical paths 100 yards apart (and even this is insufficient to ensure I have sighted all of the land to look for local high spots) and was very optimistic that I could make one mile per hour (which I couldn't; it's more like 0.5 mph), it would take me 61.6 hours to complete the contour and, like I said, I'm making generous assumptions. Nonetheless, the area is gridded off with the roads and canals and I figured I could make a start and go for one strip north of Harvester Road to a canal. After getting about 20 feet into this mess with incredibly uneven footing, I realized that if I surprised a black bear and was attacked or injured myself, that I would be nearly impossible to locate in the foliage. So, I headed back to my car, beaten by the mighty 15-foot contour.

I do think with how flat this area is that one of the northern two contours is the highest (the one on the shore with no spot height must be pushing 20 feet) but of course I can't be sure and can't claim the HP; and unless my legs grow by 4 feet, ultra-accurate surveying of the area is carried out, or a major environmental disaster (like the Wooly Rhododendron-Eating Aphid) befalls southwestern Tyrrell county, I don't think I ever will.

Seriously, though, if you're going to try this one, bring a companion, and plan on at least four days. Then check yourself into a mental institution.