Wheeler County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: November 24, 2007
Authors: Dave and Beckie Covill, John Mitchler

participants include dogs Jack and Oak

Scott Surgent and Bob Packard posted trip reports previously but we add some detail.

Hemphill & Wheeler counties are in the panhandle of Texas, located conveniently between the cohps of Roberts and Gray to the west, and Lipscomb to the north. If coming from the west on US 60, proceed south on FM 748 in the center of Miami TX . Zero the odometer. Go 4.7 due south then turn left (east) and take FM 1268 due east (which follows the Gray-Roberts county line). Pass FM 3367 on your left (north) at mile 4.8. Continue to 5.1 miles. FM 1268 makes a broad dog-leg at the county line, first curving slightly to the right (south) and then curving back slightly to the left (east). At mile 5.1, east of the first dog- leg curve, turn right (south) onto a dirt road which is the county line. Drive south a hundred feet and park at another dirt road on the left (east) which completes a two-way access onto FM 1268. If coming from the north on US 60, do not drive to Miami TX. Rather, turn left (south) on FM 3367 and go about 8 miles, and turn left (east) on FM 1268.

Note that the 4-way county intersection of Gray-Hemphill-Roberts-Wheeler is south of FM 1268, along a dirt county line road. This intersection is even south of the dirt roads and east-west fence immediately south of FM 1268. Put another way, east-west FM 1268 does not lie on the east-west Hemphill-Wheeler county line but rather follows along the county line a hundred feet or so north of it.

The Wheeler cohp is simple; from paved FM 1268, proceed due south along the Gray-Wheeler county line on a good dirt road for about 0.2 mile, first passing the dirt road on the left (east) and then an east-west fence on the left (east). The terrain looks different enough from the topo that you will pause and wonder, as the topo indicates the 3,000-foot contour to disappear by 0.1 mile. Perhaps this is because farming has eroded the land. Proceed south to where it looks highest on the left (east) side of the road. You will probably stop right by some bushes and old machinery. Walk around a bit and you’ve bagged the Wheeler TX cohp!

The plot thickens a bit for Hemphill. Bob Packard correctly points out that the dashed contour clearly visible on the topo north of the 4-way is not an intermediate 3,005-foot contour but rather a 3,010-foot full contour line. Interpolation techniques, totally appropriate in the very flat land, would indicate that the likely cohp of Hemphill lies about 0.6 mile due north along the west edge of the county, bordering the Roberts county line.

Here is how you earn your Hemphill cohp. Note that the north-south county line is indeed fenced north of FM 1268 but only for about 0.1 mile or so. From that point, where the fence turns east, there is no indication of a county line. John and his dogs walked due north from this point, far enough to nearly reach the east-west county road to the north, roamed a bit, and returned to the car parked along FM 1268. The land is covered in weeds and grass, much of it chest high or more, and is fairly featureless, so you’ll need a compass or GPS to keep you on bearing. For landmarks, use the radio tower to the west and gas compressor station to the north, both visible from the field. The tall radio tower along FM 3367 is 0.4 mile north of FM 1268. The gas compressor lies is 0.4 mile east of FM 1268, along gravel east-west County Road DD which is 0.7 mile north of FM 1268 along FM 3367. Mark these on your topo map before entering the field and, so using these landmarks if you walk north from FM 1268, you must go pass the radio tower and approach close to the gas compressor along the gravel county road.

Dave & Beckie chose to drive north on FM 3367, observing the land to the east, and then drove east on the good gravel road (CR DD) to the gas compressor station located on the north side of the road, 0.4 mile east of FM 3367. There is a stout barbwire fence along the south edge of the road here and, if you chose to not cross this fence, you could continue east to mile 0.7, whereupon you reach a fence line that appears to be the half-section center line fence of the section encompassing the HP area contour. A simple gate is found there where one could pass through and head back west.

This entire section is covered by tall grass and weeds, with some occasional small bushes. There are two large dry ponds visible on the topo and these can be located in the field by the intrepid, wandering highpointer. The larger eastern one is bisected by the afore-mentioned half-section fence line and the windmill (on the topo northeast of the pond) is but a pile of junk now. The high ground appears to be located, as the map would suggest, about 500 feet or more due west of the smaller and westernmost of the two ponds. There was no material with which to make a cairn. They located themselves with a compass to be due north of the center of the 4-way intersection first of course. That area is easily viewed as a spot where the phone poles are closer together, since they are on a more oblique angle to the viewer and, of course, the signpost with the green county line sign is visible. Hand leveling put their heads even with or slightly higher than the center of this sign, which is about 8 feet high when you are standing right next to it. Margin of error over a half mile distance is probably a couple of feet. We would say that the highest ground of Hemphill TX is out in the field and is about 3,008 feet high or perhaps 3 feet higher than at the FM 1268, and therefore, a visit to just FM 1268 is probably not sufficient to lay claim to Hemphill TX.