I visited Hawkeye Point, the Highpoint of Iowa at 1670 feet, on Monday, August 2nd, 2004. It was my 27th state highpoint.
I checked out of the Motel 6 in Mitchell, SD on Monday morning and arrived at Hawkeye Point at 1:30PM. Although it was a warm and sunny day I was concerned about snow and glacial ice formations at higher altitudes. Fortunately, since I was returning home from the Konvention in Washington, and an unsuccessful first attempt at climbing Mt. Rainier, I had my plastic boots, crampons and ice axe with me in my car. I carried them with me in my backpack but as it turned out I did not need them. I was able to find a clear, and mostly dry trail. I remembered to practice my rest step and pressure breathing all the way to the summit. Thankfully I felt no serious problems from the altitude.
The Sterlers were not at home that afternoon but there was a box with Hawkeye Point key chains in it near the sign in book. I was glad to see that other visitors had already placed small donations in the box to help cover the cost of the key chains. I signed the book and spent about 15 minutes at the summit before beginning my descent.
After I reached my car, and as I was leaving, I met a fellow highpointer from New Hampshire. I spoke with him briefly and gave him directions to the trail I followed to the summit. I then headed east taking the scenic non-interstate route through Iowa and Illinois, arriving at my home in Algonquin, IL later that night. It was good to be home after being away from home for over 6 weeks.
This is a shortened summary of my trip with good friend C.D. and plastic action figure "Woody" from Toy Story of course (who attended Konvention and conquered IL with me in 2003, and to this point has attained all my HP's with me. He will likely be retired to the future highpointer museum when he completes.)
The uncensored blog version of this and other HP, tri-pointing, boundary, and other adventures (due to language) will soon be available by request to my email, in which I'll respond with a URL link. The site will include many pictures and likely some panoramas we've taken. I can be reached through cxdomains at yahoo dot com ..
Hawkeye Point, IA (HP #4) "It's all downhill from here!"
Waking up at 6:30AM in Sioux City, IA, we talked about both IA and ND HP's and other travel, and seriously considered adding WI, MN, and MI since the trip was ahead of schedule. When I went downstairs to grab breakfast at 8:45, I quickly noticed a weather cut-in on the Omaha NBC affiliate of severe weather approaching the IA HP and told C.D. about it. We delayed departure a short while to allow the storm to pass. Sibley worked out excellent! The only thing I regret is not meeting Mrs. Sterler, the Hawkeye Point owner. Although C.D. and I didn't know her number, we knocked at the door and didn't get an answer. There were several cats playing around the porch, two of them were older kittens.
Because our visit would be a few minutes, we grabbed our cameras, tripod, GPS, and other goods to maximize the fun. On the way to the cattle trough, I noticed the clover blooms and it finally hit home how much shorter the growing season for clover is this far up in the midwest. It's blooming in April in Arkansas, but almost becoming a meterology student, I quickly recalled how severe weather season is blooming when the clover does in Arkansas, and now it's Iowa's time as noticed just hours earlier, June and July their prime tornado months. After laying claim to my fourth HP, and first since Missouri in August, 2003 - I made a call on the cellphone to discover I was on an analog channel, one of the few instances to that point. After several more pictures on their farm, we signed the register and left some extra $$ for the souvenir keychains, mine of which I'm jealously guarding. We developed a quote shortly after the Hawkeye Point visit while still in the area. C.D. suggested "Hey, when you think of it, it's all downhill from here!" and I agreed that "It's all downhill from here!" should be noted on all future HP's we do together whereever a registry exists.
Nearby, I had noticed active wind generators, the first large ones I'd ever seen in person. We left toward those generators to take pictures and noticed a small cemetary not far from the HP. Since Merrill Sterler had passed on the previous year, and I had not viewed his complete obituary, it was our curiousity to find out if he may be buried there. Although no grave or stone with his name was found, the cemetary revealed many other stories to us concerning local residents, some war heroes, and sadly - even some infant and youth deaths, so who says the dead never talk? We drove northward to the MN line where I entered it, taking pictures of it's sign, then back to Sibley for lunch. Their Subway restaurant truly ruled the roost with superb food and service to boot! This continues the so-far-perfect record of Iowan hospitality toward me, the last instance being across the state at Dubuque when I stayed at least 2 days during IL 2003 Konvention.
Sibley has one of those rare road pressure sensors which switches one of the few traffic signals in the town. Iowans have plenty to be proud of, and this Arkie will help spread the word. I especially want to thank the Sterler family for being the ultimate HP'er hosts for so many years. Your generosity is well known within the HP'ing community, especially considering the registry entries. One of them truly stirred inspiration. It mentioned visiting the tallest man-made structure on the globe! I recalled the story of this North Dakota tower, but knew little else. A phone call to Becky in Little Rock with her internet access combined with our atlas gave us the answer and tools to get there.
From Sibley, it was into SD and ND into the late afternoon to grab pictures of the 2063' KVLY-TV 11 tower between Fargo and Grand Forks. An interesting and unexpected change in our plans. Just remember, "It's all downhill from here!"
This was the first of four state HPs I hit on this particular trip out west. The others were S. and N. Dakotas and Washington. This was my twelveth HP overall. An easy detour from the interstate took me to this farm where I was waved in to the HP by a nice lady on a riding lawnmower. After photos I drove to the Black Hills to climb Harney Peak the following morning.
Our first highpoint! Drove the 160 miles from Prior Lake, MN, to Worthington, and south into Iowa. No trouble finding the highway sign, second driveway, or water 'tower'. 47 degrees - very cool and windy. One gray tiger kitten greeted us, and daughter Kelly made friends quickly. The crops were all out, so the view was unobstructed in all directions. Picked up a keychain, signed the book, and knocked on Mrs Sterler's door. She was there, and left her cookies and some old keychains. She even posed for a pic with Linn, as wife Sara manned the camera. Linn seems most excited about these high points - especially since Iowa is first, the old home state. Followed the Buffalo Ridge along I-90 on the way home. Suppose we'll have to join the HighPointers Org now!
On Monday, 16 July, I found myself with an entire day to get from Onawa, Iowa, to Des Moines, Iowa, so I determined to visit Hawkeye Point "en route," as it were.
From Sibley, just take IA-60 NNE about three miles, and you'll come to a signed turn-off for Hawkeye Point, which is just a few hundred yards to the east. However, I found that access to be blocked by the construction of a dual carriageway for this busy highway, so I continued on to the Iowa/Minnesota state line and went east a short distance and then took county road L44 south and then west along a county road, and a little north along a county road, and then west again to the Sterler farm. It's easier and more intuitive than I made it sound, and normal access from IA-60 should be restored soon in any case.
I arrived around 9:15a CDT, and was the only person there, and I observed no activity at the Sterler home. It's a short walk to the celebrated high point at the south end of a disused hog trough. A metal box contains a visitors' register and the famous keychains.
This is a wonderful site, surrounded by corn and soybeans and silos. Many thanks to Mrs. Sterler for keeping it open for public access. This was highpoint #25 for me.
My husband I recently took an impromptu trip to Minneapolis and decided to rent a car to go nab the IA high point. My guidebook from 1999 seemed to address access issues that conflicted w/ vague access information I'd found on the web. I gathered that a member of the Sterler family had passed away and the family had moved on from the high point site. But just to cover all bases, we still called the indicated phone number. There was no answer.
When we arrived we were saddened to see that indeed the family had moved on and now the high point appears to be the property of Iowa State University, but still free for public access. Despite our disappointment in not getting to meet the kind residents, we were very pleased to see just how celebrated Hawkeye Point is. Despite 49 degrees and blowing rain, it truly was a lovely visit.
On June 16, 2009, I visited Hawkeye Point, and completed my 24-year quest for state highpoints. As I mentioned in the logbook there, I resolved 12 years ago to not push this quest to the ultimate conclusion. In 1997 I spent 2 nights in a 3-man tent with 4 other climbers at 20,320 feet..http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/2899/aconcagua.html . When I returned from this trip, I declared that if I were to spend 2-3 weeks on a climb ever again, it would be in Nepal, NOT Alaska. So my quest is completed. Thanks to my wife and family for their support. This exercise began in September 1985 with my oldest daughter, Vanessa. Together we visited 30 high points in 1985-1987, and I have been picking off the remaining 19 at about 1one per year ever since.