Highpoint #5: Iowa

IMG_1561After a very wet camping trip at Blue Mound State Park (in Minnesota), we drove south to Iowa’s highest point – Hawkeye Point.  It is located just north of Sibley, Iowa or just south of the Minnesota/Iowa border.  There is not much to see along the way except wind turbines.  The land is mostly farm fields and prarie, but still very beautiful in its own way.  It is one of the features of this country that make it unique and which also makes highpointing interesting.

When we arrived, we saw exactly what we expected at this highpoint – long stretches of farm fields as far as the eye could see.  No mountains, no valleys, just miles and miles of rich agricultural farmland.

IMG_1562The drive up is a very short driveway past a former farm house which is now owned by the University of Iowa.  It looks a little odd with the University of Iowa sign in front of it.  I could easily see the house in its former use as someone’s home.

IMG_1597There is a small parking lot, suitable for about six cars, and the walk to the highest point is about a tenth of a mile over very flat land.  It’s not very far at all, and the elevation gain is only a couple of feet.  Seriously!

IMG_1589Approximately two years ago the farm was sold to the county, and the University of Iowa has apparently erected a small marker and shelter.  They also put up some fancy signposts which point to the various other highest points.  Apparently they have plans to improve the site, as was evidenced by a drawing on the small shelter wall.

IMG_1575There are a few picnic tables at this location, so it would be a great spot to stop and have lunch.

IMG_1574If you look off into the distance, you can see only farm land.  When we arrived on June 7, 2009, we were the third visitor that day.  We ran into another group as we were leaving.  They were on their 17th highpoint.  This only makes number five for us!

IMG_1587I’m not sure about the meaning of these license plates, but they were very interesting.

IMG_1569The signposts pointed to other highpoints, but it appeared some of the directions were slightly off.  One of the signs facing us was one of our previous highpoints!

There is a marker in the ground indicating the farm and the elevation of this highpoint.  Of course, we took our obligatory foot photograph to prove we were all there!

IMG_1568Compared with other states, this is a relatively easy location to visit.  Just don’t expect fantastic views of canyons or mountain peaks.  The farms have their own charm, and smell, which is something most other states can’t brag about.  We enjoyed this trip, even in the wet weather!

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