Niobrara County High Point Trip Report

Date: May 29, 2002
Author: Andy Martin

Access on Niobrara was rumored to be difficult, so I did this one solo. Hike started near center of section 13, heading for the windmill just southwest of section corner with elevation 5,686 feet. Hiking over a rise west of the windmill, I spotted a truck parked right at it. Contemplated a long uphill detour, but after a few rising paces decided I'd given a few too many wrong answers to the "Do you want fries with that?" query.

Turned around, and hiked directly to the windmill, with my heart in my throat. A rancher and his grandson were repairing the tank. We struck up a conversation, and after a few false starts including remarks about "two legged coyotes" things got more cordial. The rancher believed the county HP was near the large Radio Towers in section 20, but did not have any problems with my hiking around to the other areas. I believe this rancher is named Mr. Brooks (?) and lives at the buildings to the north, in section 7, by Page Flat Draw. Note: Fans of Ted Turner are advised to stifle their enthusiasm during discussions with Mr. Brooks.

In any case, I was on my way feeling much relieved about the Niobrara access situation. Visited the two areas near center of section 19, and heard a rattler buzzing unseen in rocks. On the hike over to the third area I stopped short after seeing a second rattler about 10 feet away. This looked to be the day all the snakes in WY came out of hibernation, and for the remainder of the walk I tried to keep both feet off the ground at all times.

A big cairn was found on the third area. I did some sight level work, and the two largest areas are close in elevation, but the center 19 one may be a bit higher. The south-center 19 (smallest) area sights lower, as does the ground by the Radio Towers. Hike out was uneventful.

We camped in Wind Cave National Park, which was a pleasant surprise, as we got a nice site, and price was reasonable.

GPS readings: Etrex WGS84, good sky -
(42° 38.691' N, 104° 35.147' W) at 6,124 ft - center section 19
(42° 38.540' N, 104° 35.741' W) at 6,132 ft - west edge section 19