Orange County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 23, 2008
Author: Scott Cockrell

I drove in to the grassy parking area most people have used -- it was 2.3 miles from the highway. Follow the Jones report, from the intersection of 25 and 302, go north (the signs call it east) exactly 2.9 miles to a gravel road on the left labeled "Groton State Forest Butterfield Block". Take a left at the first fork (0.3 mile in) and right at the second fork (0.7 mile in), up a steep incline, park at the grassy area on the left.

There I mostly relied on the GPS printout from "Papa Bear". I taped the topo maps from together and drew a straight line from the place he shows the road crossing the stream to Butterfield and another line almost straight up SIgnal, crossing the little "bench" at around 3050 feet. The two lines almost made a straight line between the mountains. Essentially, he recommended going up the road to the stream, taking a 240 degree magnetic bearing and going straight up the ridge. I didn't have the patience to go all the way up to the stream -- I headed straight back into the woods from the parking area and soon picked up the ridge going mag 240. It was easy to go up -- the brush wasn't too hard and there were a lot of great game trails. I thought I was ahead of schedule when I reached the top of the steep part but there is a really long, not very slanted distance up the top of the ridge. I took just about an hour to get to the summit and easily found the tree with a little orange tape around it about 8 feet up and the jar hanging by a string.

Going back down I had a lot of trouble finding the game trails (the bottom of the mountain is a lot bigger than the top!) and slightly fell off the ridge to the right (east). I was aiming for a 60-degree magnetic bearing but didn't pay too much attention. Anyway, I took longer going down than coming up -- there were a lot of places where there was 2-foot high vegetation that obscured holes, rocks, small muddy streams -- going up I could avoid most of that. I think the secret going down is to aim sort of towards Signal, look for game trails, and try to stay in the middle of the ridge at least until you get halfway down to where the terrain gets steeper.

I got down at about 2:35 PM, observed I had taken 2:10 to do Butterfield, and saw Signal was a little higher and a little steeper. I wasn't sure how long it would take, and started thinking I didn't want to be coming down with long shadows and I had pressed my luck bushwhacking by myself enough for one day. So I didn't attempt Signal until the next weekend.