Middlesex County Highpoint Trip Report

17 areas (120+ ft)

Date: December 24, 2004
Author: Don Desrosiers

There turn out to be 17, not 20 areas in this county. I will describe then roughly north to south. In some cases it is important to be on one side or the other of US 17. All of the points are fairly close together so mileage numbers are not critical unless noted.

Drive south on US 17 from Tappahannock for 16 miles and turn left onto SR 600 (Butylo Road) just before the county line. Drive to the first house on the left, park in the wide spot across the road, and take a bearing of 137. The indistinct point across the logged area, and right on the county line, is what you want. With all the briars, you WILL want long pants.

Area 2 - Drive back on 600 to US 17 and turn south (left). Just across from SR 601 is the small area bisected by the southbound lane of 17. There is an abandoned house (noted on the topo). The HP is in front of the house.

Area 3 - While you are parked in front of the old house, bushwhack through the woods northwest to the kidney shaped area near the "S" in Middlesex. The HP was obvious but not one that jumped out at you. The area was logged about 5-6 years ago and there is still some fallen timber as you gain "altitude". It was higher than area 2.

Area 4 (large area at county line bisected by 17) - Back into the car. Take SR 601 (McKans Road) northeast. In 3/10 mile there is a small pull-off on the left at the dogleg. Head northwest into the woods to an old overgrown woods road. Take the right fork to the obvious rise. There may be other candidates in this area but I thought this was the most likely.

Area 5 (north of 601 in open field) - At 1/2 mile from 17 on 601, there is a gravel road with a cable across it. You will see a cell tower through the woods. I thought the HP was on a small ridge at a 290 bearing from the tower, although a case could be made for near the small barn on the gravel road.

Areas 6 and 7 (two small areas south of 601) - The area south of 601 has been heavily logged. This is both good and bad. The good part is that at 8/10 mile from 17, there is a gravel road leading south over the cut area. I thought the road ran just to the east of the western area and the HP of the smaller eastern area was just at the woods line. The eastern point was clearly the higher of the two.

Area 8 (easternmost area north of the 102 spot elevation) - Continue on 601 to the 114 spot elevation. The dirt/gravel road is obvious. About where the map has the road jogging to the northwest, there is now a fork going along the edge of the open area. When you come to the gate, walk along the dirt road (not shown on the topo) through the logged area pretty much right to the small point in question. Nothing spectacular. Maybe 15 minutes round trip.

Areas 9, 10, 11, and 12 (three small areas on county line and the large area spanning both maps) - From area 8, return to US 17 and turn south. At Glebe Landing Church, turn right then immediately left onto Glebe Landing Road (Route 606). Just past the first house on the right (#1251) there is a dirt/gravel road posted by the JW Lilly Hunt Club. With enough clearance, this road is fine. Otherwise, you get to walk. On the way down there was a pickup coming the other way. It turned out to be JW himself. He was suspicious of what I was doing on his land. I explained why I was there and JW gave permission after determining I was not with the Nature Conservancy who are apparently trying to buy land in the area. The southernmost area on the county line turned out to have another cell tower. I thought that HP was at a 120 bearing from the tower piling in the open field. The HP of the middle county line area was just at the edge of the woods. It looked very slightly higher than the tower area. The minuscule area to the northeast is clearly lower and can be ignored. You may be able to get to these areas from the Essex County side.

Which leaves the large spanning area. By now I had been pretty much all the way around it and had come in a ways on the dirt road shown on the northern part of the topo. It seems that JW also owned this area and gave me permission to wander around. I thought the best candidates for HP were in the field northeast of the tower along an indistinct ridge or near the old barn (shown on topo) in a now wooded area. There is a small possibility there could be something in the woods due west of the 119 spot elevation, as I did not check every foot of it. From the lay of the land it is unlikely.

Area 13 (at 123 BM) - Get back to the church (exactly how is left as an exercise for the reader). There is a large wooden sign for the church just about where the BM is indicated (did not find the BM). That area looked as high as anything else. The homeowner at the eastern end of this area reported that he had gotten a figure of 123 feet in his field just to the east of his house (shown on topo). The land definitely has a small swale along the dirt road, so it may be worthwhile to check out the eastern field.

Areas 14 and 15 (to east of the 123 BM area) - Back on 17 and go north. Turn right at the sign for Winter Light Farm. Take it all the way to the end and meet the homeowner where the road takes an abrupt right turn. He is the one who said his field was 123 feet so this is a good time to check it out. The road no longer goes through but the owner gave permission to cross to the part of the road that still exists. There is a fork in the road (not shown on topo) just about in the middle of the western area. I though the HP for the bisected area was just to the left of the road at the fork. Continue on the road and bushwhack to the smaller southern area. It is indistinct and clearly lower than the northern area. I believe these two areas are lower than the area behind the house. As an aside, there is a dirt road at the 123 BM that may continue to these two points. I did not check it out.

Areas 16 and 17 (two small areas near 112 spot elevation) - Back onto US 17 north. Turn right onto Morgan Lane (dirt). In about 1/2 mile the larger area is on the left of the obvious rise in the road. The smaller area is out there someplace. I wandered inconclusively through the logged area. Clearly it is the lower of the two areas right there.

I have no idea which area is the highest, although the 123 BM area has more interesting possibilities than any other area.