Cabell County High Point Trip Report

Date: December 3, 2001
Author: Mike Schwartz

two areas on county line 2 3/4 miles SE of spot elevation 1169 ft (1,160+ ft)

The easiest approach from a state highway, WV 10 at Salt Rock, brings one to these two areas first. From the Cabell/Lincoln County line on WV 10, go 1.4 miles west and turn left (south) onto Madison Creek Road/CR 49. Zero your odometer. Pass Green Valley Church at 5.0 miles, and turn left (south) onto Bowan Creek Fire Tower Road/CR 49-2 at 5.6 miles. Park at locked gate at 6.4 miles. This is the point on the topo where the main road that has been heading due south turns southwest up a hollow, and another hollow heads southeast. The last house before the gate is owned by Ralph Adkins, who was returning from hunting as I arrived. He was very cordial, and gave me directions to the highpoints. He "watches" the property beyond the gate, which is not permanently occupied, but is used by the landowner. Mr. Adkins gave me permission to hike, and I left him a copy of the topozone printout. He said that either walking the dirt road to the saddle west of the highpoints or just bushwhacking the ridge due south to the highpoints would work.

I opted for the road, and hiked past the gate. Soon pass a house, and bear left on a road that passes through another gate and switchbacks to the saddle. When the terrain opens up, the "lookout tower" knob is right in front of you, and the twin highpoints are off to the left. A woods road heads left (southeast) toward the western highpoint, or you can hike up to the former lookout site, as I did. A derelict building and concrete tower footings are all that remain, and the twin highpoints are very obvious from there. A path leads down from the tower site and rejoins the direct path to the highpoints. Bushwhack sharply uphill to the first knob and follow an overgrown path to the second. Elevations are very close. I returned the same way, with the round trip taking 55 minutes. If I were to return, I would try the direct bushwhack up the north ridge to the eastern highpoint.

spot elevation 1 mile east of McComas School (1,169 ft) and two areas 1/2 and 3/4 miles southeast of the spot elevation (1,160+ ft)

Backtrack to CR 49 and zero your odometer. Go left (northwest) 1.4 miles and park alongside a dirt road leading to a visible gate, next to house number 1306. This is the better road shown in purple on topozone, the next road NW off CR 49 from the track road shown at spot elevation 678. That road is 1.1 miles northwest of the CR 49-2 junction. The process of getting permission to use this starting point was complicated. I had originally intended to approach these three areas from the track road shown on the topo that runs in the valley to the northeast of the highpoint ridge, but since I was already on CR 49, I looked for an approach off 49 to avoid the circuitous drive to the aforementioned track road. I first pulled into the track road at spot elevation 678, which looks on the map like a good approach to the southernmost area. It is only passable for about 200 feet for passenger cars, and as I turned around, a hunter approached on foot. He had permission to hunt, said the landowner was very touchy because of continuing problems with trespassing vandals, and suggested going back southeast on CR 49 to the first occupied house on the north side of the road. This is the home of Grandall (sic) Childers, who was a big help. He informed me that the landowner, Alton Gue, is hard to catch on the telephone and unlikely to grant access to a non-local. The fact that this was deer hunting season did not help. Mr. Gue's number is 304-736-2618, but all I got (using Mr. Childer's phone) was a busy signal. Mr. Childers then suggested I call Don Childers, a distant cousin, who lives less than a mile northwest on CR 49, in a hollow to the northeast. They own the approach from the dirt road at house #1306. Mr. Gue's land is all south and west of the ridge top. I reached Mrs. Childers at 304-523-4996, and she had no problem with my hiking on her property. She said she would try to reach the folks at #1306 to let them know everything was OK. When I parked at #1306, I knocked on the door and spoke to the young man who lives there. He had not been contacted by Mrs. Childers, but had no problem with my hiking. He also mentioned that some of the land on the ridge top is owned by a Mr. & Mrs. Casey, both county police officers, who live in the house northwest off CR 49, opposite the Salem Church. This house is on a long driveway, with a two story barn nearby. I drove up to the house, but no one was home. At this point, after 1 1/2 hours of getting permission, I was ready to start hiking.

Hike up the dirt road, and carefully bypass the gate. The road climbs steadily and reaches a gas well near the summit of the knob at 1140 feet, the next one north of the southernmost highpoint knob. Note Mr. Gue's fence line near the crest. As you hike the ridge to the 1169-foot knob, you will have to cross other fence lines, none of which was posted. I suspect that land ownership is broken up among more than those already mentioned. I saw no hunting stands, and felt that with Mrs. Childer's permission and knowledge of Messrs. Gue and Casey, that I would be in good standing if confronted by another landowner. From the 1140-foot knob, bushwhack along faint use paths south toward the first 1160-foot knob, picking up a woods road part way, which leads to the summit. The valley below, including some dwellings, was visible with the foliage down. Use topo and compass to reach the next knob to the northwest, and follow woods roads north to and over the knobs on the way to spot elevation 1169. The 1169-foot knob was quite obvious as soon as I topped out onto the first 1140-foot knob at the gas well. Keep an eye on the compass as you approach knob 1169. I ended up on the south ridge of the knob just east of knob 1169, and did a lot of head scratching before getting oriented. The climb up the ridge to spot elevation 1169 is quite substantial, but hand leveling the three areas to identify the highest was not possible.

Return the same way. Time up 1 hour 5 minutes, down 45 minutes. Total time to do all five Cabell County areas, including negotiations, was almost 5 hours.

Cabell is pronounced CAB-ell, with a short "a."