You access the point by climbing over the stile (a gift from the Highpoints Club). The registration box is on the left.
Elevation: 1,257 Feet
Hoosier Hill, Indiana, 1257 feet
The trip was sort of a mending experience for me. My father died in February (he is pictured at the summit on my Iowa High Point page) and I was driving a van full of boyhood memories to New York City after closing on my parents' home in Missouri. Among the items in the truck was a 100-year-old brass bed handed down from my great-great grandparents and the flag from my dad's coffin. I was also clutching a printed copy of this web page with new directions provided by Sydney Cleveland.
After a night of driving through a spectacular electrical storm which spawned numerous tornadoes, I exited I-70 on State Route 227 at Richmond near the Ohio border.
Although I was in corn country, there was a certain mountain feel. A white water creek wound its way back and forth across the highway. It was dotted with campgrounds here and there - the only stores I found while passing through the communities of White Water and Bethel. The road itself offered a roller coaster feel as my van seemed to climb a new hill and descended into a mini valley every 30 yards. It was also obvious that I was on a classic plateau. You couldn't see that far, but the horizon just seemed to drop off with nothing higher in all directions. Nearby was a sign offering directions to an intriguing sounding "Chapel of the Winds" (in Ohio).
Just on the north side of Bethel was a huge sign announcing the arrival of Randolph County (the highpoint is in Wayne County) -- about 10 miles north of I-70.
From the intersection I beheld the mountain to the southwest -- a grove of trees rising up slightly above a corn field. I headed west on the County Line Road (also known as Bethel Road) for about a mile and then at the first intersection I headed south on Elliot Road. I passed a house on the left (east) and shortly thereafter the holy grail grove on the right (west).
Looking for the perfect photo, I kept going -- perhaps a quarter mile until I saw several children playing on a tractor outside a red barn on the right. They pointed back to the grove of trees as the highpoint. They said they owned the land. "People from all over come all the time."
I headed back to the grove. I parked on the access road just west of the road (imprints on the asphalt indicate that lots of folks turn around here). A pile of rocks on the edge guided the way in. Just to the left of them (on the west), I ducked through the underbrush and crossed the stile (with an aluminum plaque declaring it a gift from the Highpoints Club) over a fence to the rock strewn highpoint.
A blackened wooden sign on a pile of rocks was the highlight as it seemed to almost glow in the woods! The hand painted paper sign has long since disappeared and was replaced by a very crude carving of the name "Hoosier Hill."
Then the mosquitoes swarmed.
That big storm had awoken a passion in them and now I was lunch.
I tried to record my impressions on a Chinese Lenox Sound boom box bought for $19 from a Wal-Mart outside of St. Louis as I had unexpectedly decided to drive back and take in the highpoint. The box had doubled as a Books on Tape source for my tapeless van (Anne Rice's vampires are becoming particular favorites for these all night highpoint drives). But I couldn't spend the time I really wanted as I was being eaten alive. For almost two weeks, the scars and itches of this adventure were to provide considerable conversation when I returned to New York.
A wooden box just to the north of the stile sported a spiral ring registration notebook.. There were lots of entries complaining that Ohio's highest point (Campbell Hill also visited today) was closed on weekends. The two summits are almost bound at the hip for peak baggers. I clocked 100 miles summit to summit when I did it today.
Among the entries, "I wish they were all this easy", "the summit ridge was a killer", "beautiful day, beautiful country -- better here than winter on Mt. Washington," "I've lived here for 50 years, you never knew what is in your backyard."
A kindly man in a pick up truck waved as he passed by.
From here I angled my way up to Ohio via U.S. 36 en route to New York City via I-80.
I think my dad, a born farmer, enjoyed the visit.