Island County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 8, 2008
Author: Edward Earl

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 this intersection.

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).

Final Notes

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.