RT Length: 8.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 734’
Once again the weather in Colorado was terrible, but at least I had a few days’ notice to make other hiking plans. I have backup plans for when the weather isn’t swell in the high country, and today’s plan was to drive to Oklahoma to do some highpointing.
The highest point in Oklahoma is (not surprisingly) close to the Colorado border. I left the house at 2:30am and quite enjoyed my commute until I turned off the main road and onto a dirt road with 26 miles left to the drive. Also, I completely lost cell service. This wasn’t a big deal as I knew my GPS would get me to the trailhead, but I was worried about finding my way back to the paved road on my return. It was quite dark and I couldn’t see any landmarks to guide me back. There were 6 or 7 turns, and I mentally thanked myself for printing out directions and bringing them with me. The dirt road was littered with cow patties and I could see cow eyes glowing at me in the dark.
The last bit of road took me down a one way dirt path with 2 foot tall grass growing between the tire ruts and then through a stream crossing I was sure was over a foot deep, but I made it without a hiccup. I arrived at the trailhead at 7:30am (after crossing a time zone, so it was 6:30am to me), gathered my gear, and was on the trail. It was still dark out.
My vehicle was the only one in the medium sized parking lot. There was a bathroom that was open and a wheelchair accessible parking space.
The trailhead started behind a gate that ensured only foot traffic proceeded. I signed my name in the trail register and was on my way.
It was still dark when I started and I was a bit worried about forecasted wind and the potential for rain later in the day. Route finding ended up being no problem at all. The trail follows an old 4WD road with signs every quarter mile or so marking the way.
So even though it was dark it would have been difficult to get lost
At mile 1, 2, and 3 there were benches where you could potentially sit and rest, but since this was a fairly level hike I just took pictures and kept on
After mile 3 the trail took a sharp turn towards the mesa and up what the instructions called switchbacks but the route never really switched back: instead it was a trail that circled up the hill.
The trail up to the top of the mesa was washed out but it was still easy to follow.
In no time at all I’d reached the top of the hill
From here there was another mile or so to trek, but it was across the flat mesa
Once again, the path was clear and easy to follow. I made it to the summit at 8am after 1.5 hours of hiking.
The summit was… flat. It didn’t feel like a summit at all. I was surprised to find a summit register and elevation marker.
Summit 1 :
The obelisk at the summit was rather detailed and contained information on how far the different states were away from this point as well as a few other state facts
Ok, now it was time to head back down. I enjoyed the views on the mesa
Here’s the route back to the trailhead
I made it back to the trailhead at 9:15am, making this an 8.6 mile hike in 2 hours 45 min. Back at the trailhead I saw a bench I’d missed in the dark, dedicated to an avid highpointer
This hike was very easy. There was minimal elevation gain, and you could probably push a stroller on this hike and get it to the summit without too much difficulty. I didn’t see another person all day, but I did see dozens of cows.
Oh, and in the light of day there weren’t any landmarks to guide me on the dirt road back home either. Once again, I was very glad I’d pre printed out directions to assist me on the way back.
I made it back to the paved highway without making a wrong turn, and just in the nick of time too because it started raining violently. The weather back home was much worse, as the snow anticipated for 4pm came roaring in with a vengeance around 10am and closed the freeway north of my house. I’d made the correct choice today to head south and go highpointing instead of into the mountains near home.
Here’s the track of my route and stats for the day