(See part 1 and part 2 of my Black Hills hiking report for some of the backstory to this report.)
Having some extra time after bailing out of one last hike in the Black Hills (see links above) and seeing that the weather was going to hold at that point, I decided to make the 1 hour detour off of I-90 at Worthington, MN to go down into Iowa to visit Iowa's highpoint. Named Hawkeye Point, it has only been about 30 years since it was recognized as the state high point. It was already a farm by that point and the same family still owns it. They graciously allow public access and have a history of being friendly to highpointers. Although I guess I don't advertise it much on this site, I grew up in Iowa so I thought it might be nice to actually bag its highpoint.
No one seemed to be home when I was there, but it was a very pleasant partly cloudy afternoon. I wasn't quite sure where I was supposed to park, so I pulled off onto the road shoulder a bit past the driveway. I walked up the drive and then over to the highpoint which is at the end of an old livestock feed trough behind a small silo. All of this is behind a garish Osceola County rural water tower along the road. Other than this eyesore, the farm is actually quite pretty this time of year, with the soybeans growing low and green in the fields behind the farmstead and you can just see that you are gazing slightly down on those fields. There is just enough of a rise at the highpoint that you can tell that it is the highest point of the immediate area, but you would never guess that it was the highest point of an entire state. It's really only an accident of geography because just over the border in Minnesota there is plenty of higher land.
At the end of the feed trough there is a bench for sitting, which makes a good place to review the "summit" register which sits in an aluminum box, surrounded by various highpoint artefacts. A little over 2 months ago, Colorado guidebook author Gerry Roach signed in and plugged his website. I wonder how many other people who have climbed Mount Everest have reached Iowa's highpoint? I took one of the souvenir keyrings in the shape of Iowa bearing the writing "Hawkeye Point/Elev. 1670 ft/Merrill Sterler Farm". (I found out on-line that Mr. Sterler passed away several months ago, but his wife is still alive.) You can take one for free with additional ones to be covered by a $1 donation. I left $1 in the kitty for my one keychain anyway. This was my 4th state highpoint, and since I didn't make it up to Timms Hill in Wisconsin before I moved to Arizona, it may have been my last non-mountainous one, but this was still a very nice diversion and a nice cap to the Black Hills trip.
To the chronological trip index
File last modified: 21 November 2005