Caledonia County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 31, 2008
Author: Scott Cockrell

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.