Butler County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 17, 2002
Author: Bob Schwab

This county is a challenge because the five high spots listed in Andy Martin's book are not uniform: three of them in the Brainard quad are drawn as 1695-foot contours, while the two in Loma quad are drawn as 1,690 foot contours. One of the Loma areas is just an extension of a 1690-foot area in Brainard quad, but the other is a stand-alone contour that really does need to be visited. Two of the three 1695-foot areas in the Brainard quad are relatively small, while the third area is quite extensive. I visited all five areas, but I don't think future visitors need to do so.

two areas in the Loma quad (1,690+ ft)

From the intersection of Routes 15 and 92 south of David City, proceed east on Route 92 for 6.7 miles, passing an intersection (Route S12F) to Brainard at the 6.5 mile mark. Watch for the Lyle Janek farm on the left and turn in to ask for permission to visit. Walk behind the new house at the bend in the driveway or go around to the right, past some old buildings into the woods. Area 1 is the sloping extension of higher ground in the field and wooded area to the west (Brainard quad). I am certain that this is not the highest ground in Butler County.

To visit the second area in the Loma quad, backtrack to the intersection of Route 92 and Route S12F. Go south on Route S12F toward the town of Brainard for 1 mile and turn left. Go east for about 0.5 mile, crossing the railroad tracks, and park near the gate on the north that leads to a bean field. Hike northwest across this field to an opening which allows access to a second bean field. Hike north along the eastern edge of this field to the fence on the north (the quarter-section line), then hike west along the fence to the highpoint. The highest fence post is close to the highest ground of area 2, which is a contour that sits astride this fence. It was depressing to see how badly the drought had crippled these beans. In many places, there weren't any plants growing at all. It was like someone had sprayed the field with weed killer shortly after the plants had germinated. I'm sure the crop loss in the second field was near-total.

three areas in Brainard quad (1,695+ ft)

From the intersection of Route 92 and Route S12F north of Brainard, go north on Road T for 1 mile to Road 33. Turn left on Road 33 and go west for about 0.5 mile to a group of buildings on the north surrounded by trees. The mailbox says this is the property of "Frances M." I knocked at several different buildings on the property but couldn't find anyone at home, only a friendly dog. Area 3 encompasses this entire yard, as well as a significant bit of the cornfield to the west. I left the yard and continued east on Road 33 to a spot west of the wooded area and adjacent to the cornfield. As I had discovered earlier, the drought prevented the corn from developing, so it was very easy to walk into the field and do hand-level sightings. I found a spot near the northwest edge of the corn (beans were planted to the west) and near a fence, that appeared to be high ground. From here, I could sight to the northeast, where a small spot (area 4) is located north of the farm complex in a "cornfield." A quick walk back there and a few hand level sightings convinced me that area 4 was lower than area 3. Area 5 is a small area located south of the road, right on the half-section line. I walked out there (another really sad "cornfield") and had no difficulty sighting back to conclude that area 3 is higher than area 5.

I cannot say with certainty whether area 2 or area 3 is higher, because sightings between these locations is not possible. Plan to visit both, and use your judgment about the need to visit area 1 or areas 4 and 5. For the farmers' sakes, I certainly hope next year yields more rain for the crops in this area.