Niobrara County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: May 23, 2009
Author: Edward Earl

new access information

All candidate areas for the Niobrara county HP (and the land to the S) are on the Ira Lamb Ranch, which is owned by Lee Denny. The land to the N of the HP is owned by Donald Brooks, and some previous highpointers have gotten his permission to visit the HP via his land. Since the HP is close to the property line, Mr. Brooks didn't previously worry about highpointers penetrating a short distance onto Mr. Denny's property from his property. Recently, however, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Denny were involved in a lawsuit. As a result of the bad blood between them, Mr. Brooks is no longer willing to grant permission to cross his property on the way to the HP on Mr. Denny's property. Mr. Denny, who also owns a real estate business, is now the only person who can give permission to visit the HPs. His phone numbers are:

307-334-2372 home
307-216-0357 wireless
307-334-4021 real estate office

I called Mr. Denny and found him to be cordial (but I had to be careful not to mention Mr. Brooks!); he granted me permission to hike to the HP, and gave me directions to his ranch.

From the intersection of US-18 & US-85 on the S side of Lusk, I headed W on US-18. Zero or note your odometer at the highway intersection. At mile 1.9 I turned S on gravel Silver Springs Rd just beyond a rest stop on the S side of the highway. At mile 12.4 I turned R (W) at a sign that said "Ira Lamb Ranch 3 miles". The road is narrow, uneven, and sometimes muddy; a vehicle without high clearance will probably have trouble, and a vehicle without 4WD will probably get stuck in the mud in wet weather. At mile 14.9 I entered the Ira Lamb Ranch at a cattle guard and "No Trespassing" sign. At mile 15.3 I arrived at the compound, which consists of ranch facilities on the L and two small houses on the R. Mr. Denny lives in the second house. We had a brief discussion; he showed me which hill was the HP, and explained that there were some radio towers on it (which were not visible now, but I had previously seen them on my drive; they're visible for miles around). He instructed me to stop by the house again at the end of my hike to "sign out".

I set out on my hike, and after 30-40 minutes got high on the hill that Mr. Denny had directed me to. Checking my map, I determined that the hill he said was the HP was not the HP; it was the radio towers near Lamb BM 6094, and the HP areas are to 1 mile W of the towers. [A previous trip report indicates that Mr. Brooks also believed, incorrectly, that the hill with the towers was the HP. Perhaps there's widespread local misinformation as to where the county HP is.] I had ascended the gully E of Lamb Draw. In any case, I turned W and headed for the correct HP, first visiting the two eastern areas, then walking the horseshoe-shaped ridgeline to the western area. I returned to the ranch compound via Lamb Draw.

When I checked out with Mr. Denny after the hike, I decided not to take issue with him about the correct location of the HPs. After returning home, I called the Niobrara County Assessor just to be sure who is the owner of the correct HP candidates, and it is indeed Mr. Denny. Future HPers who find themselves unable to avoid the issue of the true HP owner and location can cite my query to the county assessor.