Reeves County High Point Trip Report

at 30° 48' 29.3" N, 103° 38' 52.4" W (5,115 ft)

Date: December 25, 2001
Author: Ken Akerman

I arrived near the ranch entrance on Texas Route 17 late on Christmas Eve, parked my SUV off the side of the road and went to sleep in the back. The ranch entrance is on the east side of Rt. 17, 4.3 miles south of Ranch Road 1832. According to my GPS, the coordinates are (30° 48' 20.8" N, 103° 45' 4.2" W). On that night the front gate to the ranch was open, and Christmas lights were blazing in the farmhouse about a quarter mile off the main highway.

On the morning of Christmas Day, I was walking in the grass with my head down on the west side of the highway just across the ranch entrance, searching for BM 4134. A man from the ranch, driving a flatbed truck with bales of hay in back, pulled up alongside me and asked if anything was wrong. I showed him my topo map and GPS and explained what I was looking for, and then I asked for permission to get onto the ranch property to climb the highest point of Reeves County. He said that he was a tenant who had only been living on the property for about six months, but when I explained and showed him what I wanted to do, he offered to drive me to the highest point. He said that his name was Tim Jones, and he seemed a lot friendlier than the rancher that Andy Martin encountered on the property in March 2000. He thought that the highpoint was Carpenter Mountain, the highest point on the ranch with a radio tower on it, but this mountain is in Jeff Davis County and is not the highpoint of Reeves County. I followed Mr. Jones through the main gate, past the farmhouse, through a gate and then to a bunkhouse and cattle pen, where we stopped and I showed him where I ultimately wanted to go, which was Hernandez Windmill. He explained to me how to drive to Hernandez Windmill, which is different than the route shown on the topo map, because of changes in the road network. He said that he would allow me to stay on the ranch while he went to his brother's house for Christmas, and he offered to leave the main gate unlocked under the condition that I lock it when I left.

I heartily thanked Mr. Jones for allowing me onto the ranch property and permitting me to drive to within a close distance of the highpoint. Of course, I made sure that I was a good guest by closing all gates behind me, and locking the main gate when I left.

Here are detailed driving directions from Route 17 to Hernandez Windmill:

- Begin at Route 17, drive 0.25 mile past farmhouse and through first gate.
- Drive 0.9 mile to next gate and cattle guard.
- Drive 2.5 miles past bunkhouse on left and cattle pens on right, and through gate.
- Drive 2.2 miles through next gate. Sign just after gate on left says "Park Pasture."
- Drive 0.6 mile to fork in road. There is a tank on hill to left, cattle pens on right.
- Drive on the right fork, passing several red buckets.
- Drive 2.0 miles in an easterly direction to another gate.
  Go through the gate, drive 0.15 mile to Hernandez Windmill.

Total driving distance from Route 17 to Hernandez Windmill is 8.6 miles. From the windmill, hike southeast up to the saddle to the left of the highpoint, then up the slope to the highest point of Reeves County (5,115 feet). From Hernandez Windmill, the one-way distance is about 0.7 mile with 500 feet of elevation gain. There is a cairn on the summit.

Although the night was cold, the day was sunny and mild, with temperatures reaching into the 50's by midday. After I completed my ascent, I drove out of the ranch property and back to Route 17. I drove north on Route 17 11.2 miles to Farm Road 3078, then west on F.M. 3078 14.8 miles to Interstate 10.