Price County High Point Trip Report

Date: December 6, 2003
Author: Robert Greene

"Creature of the Night High Pointing, 2004"

A business trip finished early, and I found myself hanging out in the Midwest, with nowhere to go. I'd brought along some rudimentary gear (thermals and hiking boots) under the theory I'd traipse over to some local hills for exercise on the weekend. Welcome to Illinois, it's not California. There weren't any "hills". Oops. Plan B. The state high point will guide me. Illinois is closed except 4 weekends a year. I consider the life of the pre-felony trespasser. Visions of fighting off the cat hoard guarding Charles Mound cloud my eyes. Maybe not.

Wisconsin. Now that sounds promising. A county park, easy to find, almost 2000 feet of altitude. Woo hoo. I was in business. And hey, that Michigan high point looks close too while I'm at it. With a bit of GPS loading, a quick jaunt down of the directions from the web, and I had plan B.

By 1 p.m. Saturday, I'd secured my rental car, and was motoring through the land of endless tolls. My carefully crafted plan was to arrive at the WI high point around 4pm, finish it off under the rays of the setting sun, and then drive up to Michigan, sleep over night in the hamlet of L'Anse, and have a nice walk Sunday morning. Easy as 1-2-3.

Distances are deceiving. The sun briefly appeared around 4pm, just to settle under the horizon. I was still about 90 minutes out from Tomahawk. I hoped the plans of mice were going better. Eventually I arrived in Tomahawk, around 6pm. My directions from the web were limited to "about 5 miles west of Tomahawk". Luckily, I'd picked up a Wisconsin map at the welcome center, and they were happy enough to mark the location of the "peak". I could see it was just a nice jaunt down road 86 to the west, and I proceeded through the dark town (except for the bright holiday decorations in vast abundance). After quite a bit of driving, I passed such memorable locations as "Road to the Airport", "Spirit Falls (unincorporated)" and "Spirit (unincorporated)". The granularity of my map said that I should be near it after passing Spirit, so I fired up the GPS, and it told me "just a little bit further". Sure enough, moments later, "Road to Timm's Hill" arrived. I believe this was actually "County Road C". I drove down this nice dark road, and eventually crossed onto a rural road -- a nearby sign informed me that the Timm's Hill County park was 1/4 mile down the rural road.

The gate was closed, and I looked at the "County Park Hours, 7:30am to Dusk" sign unhappily. Well, I guess it wasn't Dusk somewhere. That's what I kept telling myself. The full moon was out, and it wasn't too bad going. I was sad I hadn't brought my headlamp, but when I left for the trip, I only thought I'd do some "short daytrips". The snow was hard packed and crunchy (the snow had appeared magically out of nowhere once I got off the main roads). I walked down the obvious snow trail that was the road, and eventually found a county park sign that proclaimed "Timm Hill Trail". I turned right onto the trail, and walked around this small hillside. On the left, I could see an empty field with a bunch of houses. Dogs were barking at me as I kept crunching loudly through the dark woods. The GPS said I was going away from Timm's Hill. I thought "damn those web people got the GPS location wrong!!!". But then, the trail led out the driveway of the nearby farmhouse and back to the main road. I WAS going the wrong way.

After retracing my steps back to the original sign, I looked around for some trail that led the way I wanted to go. There was a road that traversed the hillside of what looked to be the probably location of the summit. I followed it for a bit, then finally decided it was time to "go direct". A short scramble up about 200 feet of snowy hillside led me to the tower. Success! After the obligatory photograph of the geographic survey marker, the obligatory unsuccessful (I never find these things) search for the register, I decided to ascend the tower. I wished I had crampons there was so much ice on that thing, but I made it to the top, and enjoyed the view of the farm house lights off in the distance. 7:00 p.m.