A Blog of Two Midwest Highpoints
Hoosier Hill, IN (1,257 feet) & Campbell Hill, OH (1,549 feet)
The morning of June 25, 2011 found me headed East on I70 out of the Indianapolis Airport, and towards the rising sun at 6:15 AM. The day was clear, cool and afforded some great country music on a local station. I had the fastest, most maneuverable vehicle in the world – a fully insured rental car – and I was off for a rare opportunity to grab two state high points in a day.
The mid-continent of the US is part of the great craton, a large and stable part of the crust – very old and quite thin. Both Indiana and Ohio are parts of basin areas in the craton – both uplifted parts of ancient seas and more recent lake based deposits associated with the complicated history of areas near the front of the continental glaciers. The only geological activities that happen in these parts are occasional tension based earth quakes – which are incredibly violent and actually liquefy the deep and moist soils in the area. This produces some really wild and infrequent phenomena such as sand geysers. It has also produced the largest earthquake in US history in the area of New Madrid MO.
This geology has produced some of the finest soils in the world, and is the center of American agriculture. It does not, however, produce much in the way of hills, and the highpoints in these states are more colorful than impressive. It has been quite a problem actually determining the high points of many states in the mid-west, and the high point of IN was claimed by a number of spots in the area of Hoosier Hill Before the matter was finally decided.
Larceny – the price of fame
When I got to Hoosier Hill – on the property of Mrs. Kim Goble – I was disappointed to find that the original sign had been stolen, and only a paper sign in a plastic bag remained on the pole marking the spot. Such is the price of fame. The high point is about 100 feet off Elliot Rd., and in a small grove of trees. It feels like a small shrine to the high point culture, with a picnic table, a most peculiar cairn (a wooden post with a rock topping) and a large brick mailbox containing the register. The guy who signed in before me was from MA, and indicated that it was his second visit – he clearly suffers from a lack of imagination and too much free time.
IN Highpoint – Hoosier Hill
Mrs. Goble’s Farm watches the Highpoint of Hoosier Hill
After the rigors of the ascent of Hoosier Hill, I was off to Ohio on the northern route, down the back roads of Route 36. I crossed into Ohio in the small town of Palestine, and crossed through many miles of corn fields, all more than knee high by the 4th of July (they grow better corn here than we do in NH). Campbell Hill is an old Nike Missile base which was finally deactivated in 1969, and converted into a Community College. It still has the old military fence surrounding the property, which gives it the feel of another type of institution. This highpoint actually does not require that you get out of your car, but I did anyway to stretch my legs and enjoy the panoramic vista.
After a brief visit, and a couple of pictures, it was time to exit at full throttle, back home and off to the wilds of the Adirondacks for a Sunday climb with my dogs.
Beating swords into plowshares
The vista from Campbell Hill
The Fighting Bunny, Mascot of the 664th Radar Squadron on Campbell Hill