Caledonia County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: April 29, 2007
Author: Chris Gilsdorf

After completing Butterfield Mountain, I continue on to Signal. I continued up the road around the bend and across the bridge and in five minutes reached the height-of land just before bridge #3. The road continued on beyond this point and, based on later reviews of satellite imagery, seems to pass a few ponds before meeting up with the approach road at the first junction.

At this spot (due magnetic south of Signal's summit) I began ascending along a gradual remnant of a woods road (Brennan's perhaps?) but decided to save time and start powering my way through the undergrowth -- thicker than Butterfield's -- straight uphill. I reached the cliffy area in about 10 minutes and decided to cut to the left. Proceeding steeply through difficult stunted pines, I finally reached a relatively open valley which I took to the flat area at around 3,060 feet.

From here, I headed north-northeast up a moderately steep way through mixed forest and suddenly hit the first significant snow I'd seen on Signal. I gritted my teeth and began plunging through the 3-foot snow, post-holing often in my bare boots. The terrain was very gentle, enough for me to become quickly discouraged by the numerous "false summits" as I headed north and uphill. I saw what looked like footprints in the snow, only to realize they were moose tracks. After proceeding for what seemed like an eternity but was actually around 20 minutes, I reached what appeared to be high ground. There was no sign of a summit canister or surveyor's tape, at least not until it suddenly came into view when I was only a few feet away.

Feeling cold, damp, and a bit anxious, I scouted around for the high spot, including a rise perhaps 100-150 feet east of the register. I was unable to sign the register as the only pencil was broken. The next person up may want to bring a pencil themselves, perhaps the extra one from Butterfield's canister. I quickly began my retreat down this miserable mountain, crossing the snowy terrain that doubtlessly would have been easier in the absence of snow.

I retraced my steps (often literally) back to the flat area and back down the valley below it. This time, I miscalculated and ended up west of my ascent route. I eventually came to the drainage brook and simply followed it along a short distance back to bridge #2, emerging just across the stream from the Butterfield bushwhack. Right about then, it began to rain more heavily, so I pulled out my umbrella and walked back to the car.

Road-to-road, it was 60 minutes up and 50 down.

If you're as masochistic as I was, prepare to bring a good topo map (absolutely essential), a compass (highly recommended), and a GPS. We got by on the former two, but a GPS would have proved helpful at times. I'd recommend doing these bushwhacks in fall or spring; bring snowshoes if it's after October or before May. Though I regrettably did not see a moose (and am beginning to wonder if I ever will during my four years of college here), there was plenty of, well, evidence.