Caledonia County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: August 31, 2008
My plan was to follow the GPS path from "Papa Bear". From the parking area,
walk up the road 1/4 mile to the gravel pit, then follow a magnetic north
bearing up the ridge to the summit. Then reverse course, follow a magnetic
south bearing, but attempting to stay towards the middle of the ridge.
The "gravel pit" really looks more like an eroded place where the road crossed a
glacial deposit of sand and gravel. It happens to be just beyond a second
bridge, much smaller than the first, and crossing a much smaller stream.
I started into the woods just beyond the eroded place. My magnetic north compass
course took me in a leftward direction and I started up the ridge. This ridge
is not as well defined as the ridge down from Butterfield. I paid more
attention to the "up" direction than the compass course. I hit a couple of very
narrow bands of close evergreens but the going was mostly not too bad. I think
I got a little left of the course I had drawn on the map -- the approach to the
summit was very long and gradual, through quite manageable woods. I was very
happy to see an orange marker tape blowing in the slight breeze and found the
summit register in a jar surrounded by three or four marked trees. It took 1:20
to reach the summit from my car.
When I took my magnetic south bearing to return, I was startled to find it was
almost ninety degrees to the left of the direction from which I had approached
the summit. Instead of a gradual slope, I found myself going down much more steeply.
I could occasionally see Butterfield through the trees, so I knew it
was the right direction. Again, I followed the ground much more than I paid
attention to the exact bearing.
Eventually I reached a stream with some running water. It was only a few feet
across and easy to cross -- so I crossed it and kept following my compass course.
I wound up on the road a couple of hundred yards further up than where
I had started -- the stream was the one that runs near the "gravel pit" and I
would have done better to cross it and follow it down. It took 1:20 to get back
to my car. From the excellent condition of the gravel road at this point,
I have to believe it runs much further than anyone has yet reported.
Author: Scott Cockrell