Island County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: March 8, 2008
On 2008 Mar 8, Duane Gilliland, Grant Myers, and I visited the five contending
areas for the HP of Island county WA. The weather was approriate for this trip:
cloudy with one brief rain shower. It was satisfactory for the Island cohp itself,
but not so good that it would have been a waste of a good weather day
not spent at a more interesting place.
We met on WA-532 in Stanwood, which is about 5 miles W of I-5 and just E of the
tidal river that separates Camano Island (on which the HP areas lie) from the
mainland. We all piled into Grant's vehicle and headed W on WA-532, which ends
at Terry's Corner. Following the roads on the topo map, we eventually found
ourselves on the well-named Cross Island Road where topped out on the mostly
flat plateau near the possible high point areas. I will call the areas #1
through #5 in order from S to N.
Two roads not shown on the topo head S from Cross Island Rd into area #1.
Windsun Road skirts the E side of the area, while Sequoia Rd skirts the W side.
Windsun Road also extends N of Cross Island Rd and the N part is
shown on the topo, beginning at
We first investigated Sequoia Road, which tops out at its public end, after which
it becomes a two-track driveway and descends slightly. A berm on the E side of
the road may be a HP contender, but it is probably not natural. We went into the
woods here in case of a hidden rise, but after 100-200 feet it became clear that
the ground was dropping off. We had broken views of houses and a power line that
were probably on Windsun Rd. Just to the right of the private drive at the end
of Sequoia Rd is a grassy area from which a grass-covered road continues into
the forest. To the right of the grass is a dirt pile under trees near a stump.
We feel that this is the probable highest ground in area #1; Duane's GPS showed
596 feet at hip level. We continued on the grass road for a minute or so,
climbing onto any rises we saw, until the ground was clearly dropping ahead.
We then investigated Windsun Rd, where it soon became clear that there was
no place near it that could possibly be the highest ground in area #1. It was
distinctly uphill toward Sequoia Rd where we had already been. We then called
area #1 good.
Area #2 is on the grounds of the first house on the E side of Windsun Rd N of
Cross Island Road. The owner is a woman who has seen a number of county
highpointers before and is known to be friendly and cooperative. We asked and
received permission, and determined that the highest ground is at the far end of
the front yard, near the NW corner of the house. We also spotted what appeared
to be high ground two or three houses farther north, but Grant's level showed it
was lower. Duane's GPS, which had been reading quite consistently, showed only
583 feet; given that area #2 is fairly small and not steep, we feel that area #2
is definitely lower than area #1.
We then proceeded farther N on Windsun Road, where we determined that area #4 is
in the front yard of an apparently unoccupied yellow house. We then recognized
it as the same point we had already determined by Grant's level was lower than
area #2. Thus, area #4 (which is tiny and not steep) can also be eliminated from
contention, and we did not even get out of the car to claim it.
For area #3, we first went a block W on Cross Island Rd, then N on Ezduzit Road
(to circumvent the property of an ill-mannered man who refused access to
previous highpointers). We asked and received permission at a house that we
initially felt was next to the HP, but we soon realized that higher ground was
on another property behind this house. So, we crossed E into the adjoining property,
which was occupied by a small gray house (which was actually on
Windsun Road, where we had just been!), asked and received permission from a young
man to walk around his yard; the highest ground is around a shed on the S side
of the house, where Duane's GPS showed 593 feet.
Area #5 is the only one not near private residence, but that comes at a price:
bushwhacking. To reach this area, we headed N on the well-named Island Crest Road,
about 0.3 mile E of Windsun Road. After about 0.6 mile, we encountered a
"T"-intersection where turned W on Dodge Road, which skirts the N side of the forest HP.
We parked near the highest point along the road and began our trek into the woods.
While the bushwhacking was occasionally thorny and no trivial matter,
It was not as bad as I feared based on previous trip reports and hearsay; in fact,
I've had many a worse bushwhack in the chaparral of San Diego county.
After meandering uphill until the gradient vanished and looking around in the brush,
we agreed that the highest ground is an extremely rotten log next to a stump
covered with bushes and vines. It's an example of the "When does a rotting log
become soil?" question, but this one definitely qualified as soil; you can scoop
it with your hand and it crumbles and sifts like soil. We found a 10-foot branch
and erected it into the log (the butt end was easy to force down into it).
I would be interested if a future HPer finds it.
The highest ground in area #5 can also be reached from the E if one finds a
taped survey path starting at Island Crest Rd; for at least 100 yards or so,
the path is clear except for a large brush-covered log that must be climbed.
You can also approach from some houses on the S, although it would be kosher
to ask permission (this is the way we departed the area,
when we saw one of the houses through trees).
Only areas #1, #3, and #5 need be visited.
#2 and #4 can be eliminated from contention.
For area #3, it is not necessary to go to Ezduzit Road as we first did. Go N on
Windsun Road, past the first property on the left (which is in front of a radio
tower near the HP, and the owner is grouchy). Go to the next house on the left,
which is 431 N Windsun, fairly small, color is gray. The young man who lives in
the house was friendly, and the HP is around the shed in his yard. It is not
very near the radio tower, and the grouchy owner of the property in front of the
tower is not a factor.
Author: Edward Earl