Montgomery County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 9, 2000
Author: Dan Case

3 areas within 1,000 ft of west county line (1,600+ ft)
(Close to SW corner of county on Willse Hill)

The rain finally let up somewhat as we undertook the long drive across northern Schoharie County to this remote point. Getting there was a bit of work. Leaving US 20 at the NY 166 overpass, we immediately took Otsego County 31 into the flatter lands of Montgomery County and NY 163, where we turned left towards Fort Plain only to find Montgomery County 31 as the very next left. We followed that to the hamlet of Salt Springville at the Otsego County line, where Quinn Road promised to climb the bluff to the county corner. However, it was at best a driveway, and past the private residences a tenth of a mile in we quickly realized it was not passable.

DeLorme was helpful in guiding us around the long way, to the Herkimer County approach. We turned north out of Salt Springville on Salt Springville Road heading up to a junction shown on the map as Ripple Corners, and it was just the right time of day for us to give that more of a giggle than it deserved. At the four-way intersection, a left on Hillman Road (again!) took us uphill into Herkimer (funny because that county's highpoint is way up in the Adirondacks, possibly the most difficult to reach in the state), and we found a Gros Road off to the left, going south. This dirt road took us in turn to Vickerson Road. The map indicated a left on that would take us past an old cemetery to some point at which the road would become barely a path until it became Quinn Road on the other side of the county line. We followed past the farms and cemetery up some rather dicey rocky stretches for a Toyota.

It held out onto the level areas -- further than we had thought. It turns out that this area is a New York State Cooperative Hunting Area (private tracts on which the state has negotiated public hunting rights as long as you get a permit and stay within a designated sub-area) so I would classify the ownership situation as "quasi-public." Our parking spot was numbered for this purpose, with cornfields on either side once you got past a small wooded strip.

I continued down the road, having changed from my now-sopping sneakers into hiking boots. A hundred further on the ruts became too deep for all but the highest of vehicles to clear -- we had stopped at the right place. With a copy of the map in hand, I looked carefully about for any clue to the county line, which would lead to the high areas. It was Dave who spotted a line of trees with yellow and orange survey tape at about the right point. To the south it led up a sharp slope and I decided to check this one out. Beyond it the road began to dip again.

After 20-30' of vertical gain it leveled off and we found the highest ground in the center of that flat area, yet another wooded, viewless CHP. There was no corresponding flagging to the north, and I couldn't really find the path shown on the map. We explored the edge of the cornfield out some distance and went into the woods behind an old, fallow field that may have grown around the path. There was some rise at the appropriate locations but nowhere near enough to dispute the one to the south. Nor did we see any sign that the spur out to the east had much more of an increase.

We concluded that the thin wedge of the 1,600' contour in Montgomery County to the south of Quinn/Vickerson Road is definitely the higher point, and may even be closer to 1,620'.