Highpointing

Driving, hiking or climbing to the highest point in each of the 50 United States of America.

I've sadly had to put this endeavour pretty much on hold since taking a couple of pretty bad falls on my attempt at climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine in September, 2004. I not sure if the falls caused my back and leg problems of if they were the result of the beginning of my back and leg problems. I've pretty much given up on getting any meaningful medical treatment since I can't seem to get any two doctors to agree on anything. I do feel I'm getting better on my own which several people have told me that is how they dealt with the same problem. I have gained a lot of weight in the months I have been "laid up" and I need to get the weight off and start some conditioning walking. I know there are a few states I'll never make but I do think I can get a few more before I kick the bucket.

Highpointers
No. State
(Click state for pics)
Peak Elev. (ft) Vert. Climb (ft) Hiking Mileage RT(mi) Elev. Rank Diffi- culty Rank Date Visited
1 North Carolina Mount Mitchell 6,684 100 0.2 16 35 May 6, 2002
2 Tennessee Clingmans Dome 6,643 330 1.0 17 27 May 7, 2002
3 Georgia Brasstown Bald 4,784 400 1.0 25 26 May 8,2002
4 South Carolina Sassafras Mountain 3,560 30 0.2 29 37 July 1, 2002
5 Kentucky Black Mountain 4,145 70 0.2 27 42 Sept 10, 2002
6 Ohio Campbell Hill 1,550 0 0 43 47 Sept 11, 2002
7 Indiana Hoosier Hill 1,275 0 0 44 40 Sept 11, 2002
8 Illinois Charles Mound 1,235 275 2.5 45 32 Sept 12, 2002
9 Wisconsin Timms Hill 1,951 130 0.4 39 31 Sept 15, 2002
10 Michigan Mt. Arvon 1,979 300 2.0 36 24 Sept 16, 2002
11 Minnesota Eagle Mountain 2,301 600 7.0 37 18 Sept 18, 2002
12 North Dakota White Butte 3,506 400 2.0 30 23 Sept 20, 2002
13 South Dakota Harney Peak 7,242 1,500 5.8 15 19 Sept 22, 2002
14 Nebraska Panorama Point 5,424 0 0 20 43 Sept 23, 2002
15 Kansas Mount Sunflower 4,309 0 0 28 44 Sept 23, 2002
16 Iowa Hawkeye Point 1,670 0 0.1 42 41 Sept 25, 2002
17 Missouri Taum Sauk Mountain 1,772 30 0.4 41 33 Sept 27, 2002
18 Virginia Mount Rogers 5,729 1,500 8.6 19 16 Oct 6, 2002
19 West Virginia Spruce Knob 4,863 20 0.4 24 34 Oct 7, 2002
20 Maryland Backbone Mountain 3,360 750 2.2 32 22 Oct 7, 2002
21 Pennsylvania Mount Davis 3,213 0 0.2 33 45 Oct 8, 2002
22 Florida Lakewood Park 345 0 0 50 50 March 16, 2003
23 Alabama Cheaha Mountain 2,407 0 0 35 46 March 16, 2003
24 Mississippi Woodall Mountain 806 0 0 47 48 June 6, 2003
25 Delaware Ebright Azimuth 448 0 0 49 49 Sept 23, 2003
26 New Jersey High Point 1,803 40 0.2 40 36 Sept 27, 2003
27 Connecticut Mt. Frissell 2,380 450 3.6 36 20 Sept 27, 2003
28 Rhode Island Jerimoth Hill 812 0 0 46 29 Sept 28, 2003
29 Massachusetts Mount Greylock 3,491 20 0.1 31 39 Sept 28, 2003
30 New York Mount Marcy 5,344 3,200 14.8 21 14 Sept 30, 2003
31 Vermont Mount Mansfield 4,393 550 2.8 26 21 Oct 2, 2003
32 New Hampshire Mount Washington 6,288 20 0.1 18 38 Sept 12, 2004
33 Hawaii Mauna Kea 13,796 230 0.4 6 30 Feb 9, 2005


February 2005 Hawaii Highpoint Trip

Wed. Feb. 8 - My wife accompanied me on this trip which was partly to celebrate her retirement from 35 years as a teacher/lirbarian. Left Rome and flew from Atlanta to Honolulu on Delta. Spent the night in Honolulu.

Thur. Feb. 9 - Flew from Honolulu to Hilo on Aloha Airlines. Rented a Ford Explorer 4x4 from Harper Auto and Truck Rental, which is the only rental agency which allows their vehicles off paved roads. As it turned out only a short section of the road up Mauna Kea remains unpaved and it was a full two lanes wide, smooth and dry. After visiting the Hilo Farmers Market and picking up our lunch, drove the 34 miles to the Mauna Kea Visitors Center at about 9,000 feet where we ate our lunch and spent about 45 minutes to try and adapt to the altitude. Drove the remaining 8 miles to the trailhead. There was about 5" of snow on the ground above 11,000 feet but the road was clear and dry. The weather at the summit was mostly sunny with some wind and 44 degrees fahrenheit. The 0.4 mile round trip hike to the summit proved to be a challenge due to the altitude, poor footing, no walking stick and a bad right leg from a bulging lumbar disc on my part. We both developed a major case of altitude sickness which took the rest of the day and night to recover from but we made it! Spent another day in Hilo and then 7 days on Maui - wonderful trip!


September 2004 Highpoint Trip

September 12, 2004 - After having been snowed out on my attempt at the highpoints of New Hampshire and Maine on my New England trip in September/October 2003 I promised myself to try again in 2004. I did manage to "scale" Mount Washington,NH since it is a "drive-up." It did prove to be something of a challenge for "Stella", my 1991 Chevy pickup with over 160,000 miles. I did treat her to a brake job on returning home. I've pretty much given up on getting any meaningful medical treatment since I can't seem to get any two doctors to agree on anything. I do feel I'm getting better on my own which several people have told me that is how they dealt with the same problem. I have gained a lot of weight in the months I have been "laid up" and I need to get the weight off and start some conditioning walking. I know there are a few states I'll never make but I do think I can get a few more before I kick the bucket.


September/October 2003 Highpoint Trip


June 2003 Highpoint Trip


March 2003 Highpoint Trip


October 2002 Highpoint Trip


September 2002 Highpoint Trip

Day 1 - Tue. Sept. 10 - Stella, my trusty 1991 Chevy pickup, and I left Rome early in the morning and did Black Mountain, KY - stopped at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and bought me a Golden Age passport. It lets me in free to all National Parks and National Forests and reduces camping fees by half - old age has it's benefits. I knew I was in "bluegrass" country - "Knoxville Girl" was playing on the visitor center radio. I spent the night in a motel in Mount Vernon, KY.

Day 2 - Wed. Sept. 11 - Drove up through Lexington, Cincinnati and Dayton to do Campbell Hill, OH on the campus of a trade school then across to Hoosier Hill, IN in a patch of woods beside a soybean field. Spent the evening and night driving and napping past Chicago to Western Illinois.

Day 3 - Thu. Sept. 12 - Stopped by landowner's office to get permission and did Charles Mound, IL Drove to Pleasant Prarie, WI after stopping at Gander Mountain Sporting Goods in Wilmot, WI for some supplies - Casualty #1 - made a sudden stop and my laptop crashed into my dashboard cup holder wiping out 3/4 of my monitor. - spent the night at my brother Joe Fred's suite who was there on a consulting job for a few months - excellent hospitality.

Day 4 - Fri. Sept 13 - Joe and I drove to Rhinelander, WI and rented a canoe then to Bear Lake in the Nicolet National Forest for camping and fishing. Joe navigated using Street Atlas USA on 1/4 of a laptop monitor. Casualty #2 - my 30 year old Sigg cook pot sprung a leak - had sandwiches instead of red beans and rice for supper.

Day 5 - Sat. Sept. 14 - It rained most of the day making for some quality nap time. We caught some fish in the late afternoon. Joe did not fall into the lake. We saw a few eagles but no loons.

Day 6 - Sun. Sept. 15 - While breaking camp heard something that may have been a loon. Took canoe back to Rhinelander and did Timms Hill, WI. Saw a deer on the road. Drove Joe back to the Kenosha pier and watched an old guy catch a 22 pound king salmon in Lake Michigan - spent the night at Joe's suite.

Day 7 - Mon. Sept. 16 - Drove back up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and did Mt. Arvon, MI - spent the night in a motel in L'Anse, MI - the desk clerk was drunk as a cooter - when I asked if he'd had a drink or two tonight he replied, "They keep me very busy around here." - What's that mean Everett? :)

Day 8 - Tue. Sept. 17 - Had breakfast at the Hilltop Restaurant in L'Anse noted for their sweet rolls - I got one to go - it must have weighed a pound and I never did finish it - drove across the upper end of Wisconsin then around Lake Superior to Grand Marais, MN near the Canadian border - got a fishing license and some groceries and drove several miles of dirt road to Two Island Lake campground where I caught some nice smallmouth bass and spent the night.

Day 9 - Wed. Sept. 18 - Got an early start on climbing Eagle Mountain, MI highpoint - my first real test as a "highpointer." Seven miles round trip and about 2000' elevation gain on a very rough trail through moose, bear and wolf country - saw what I think was a moose track and heard what may have been a wolf - I made it but it took 6 hours and I was bushed. Spent the night in a motel in Duluth, MN.

Day 10 - Thu. Sept. 19 - Drove across Minnesota through Brainerd where I got my oil changed and looked for the Paul Bunyan statue that was in the movie "Fargo." I was directed to a small statue of Paul and Babe, the blue ox. Paul's right arm was broken off. I asked across the street where the big statue was. "Oh, that one. It's in Bemidji." Saw lots of deer and antelope playing all day and a dead porcupine and lots of dead racoons. My laptop screen went out completely - bought a new one in Fargo, ND. Spent the night in a motel in Fargo - it's been too cold to camp - they don't really talk that way in MN.

Day 11 - Fri. Sept. 20 - Climbed White Butte, ND - about a mile across a field and up a real steep hill the hard way. I found a good easy trail back down from the top. Jumped a herd of antelope on the way in and a herd of mule deer on the way back. Cut my hand on a barbed wire fence but it's OK. The wind was blowing so hard on the peak that I literally had trouble standing up. Drove down to Bowman, ND and spent the night in a motel. Lots more deer, antelope and pheasants on the way.

Day 12 - Sat. Sept, 21 - Drove over into Montana just to say I had and then down to the trail head for Harney Peak in Custer State Park, SD and got a park permit but deceided it was too late to make the hike - rode around Custer State Park looking at buffalo, antelope, whitetail deer, blacktail deer, mule deer, bighorn sheep and even some wild burros. The annual buffalo roundup is Sept. 30. They select a few to be auctioned off and let the rest go - there are about 2,200 in the park. Wind was still blowing and saw a few flakes of snow. Spent the night in a motel in Custer, SD.

Day 13 - Sun. Sept. 22 - Got up to a frost covered pickup and drove by the Crazy Horse Monument and Mount Rushmore before climbing Harney Peak, SD with a bunch of other folks including an young Amish family with about 10 kids. Six miles roundtrip hike and about 2,000' elevation gain - it was a good workout for me but worth it - looked down on Mount Rushmore and it was about the size of a dime from the top. Drove through some interesting country in SW South Dakota and NW Nebraska - from the SD/NE state line I could see, at a distance of about 80 miles, Courthouse Rock, Chimney Peak and Scotts Bluff - all important landmarks along the Oregon Trail spanning a distance of about 40 miles along the Platte River. Toward the end of the day I was on dirt roads for about 30 miles. At one point I had an interesting encounter with a male antelope. He was grazing in a field to my left and when I slowed to watch him, he took off. He was wanting to cross the road in front of me but when I would speed up he would veer off. We did this several times until I gave him a little room and he came across the dirt road in front of me at about 40 miles per hour. That was a hoot! Spent the night in a motel in Scott's Bluff, NE.

Day 14 - Mon. Sept. 23 - Drove to Panorama Point, NE highpoint - this was a "drive-up highpoint" but over many miles of dirt road then cut across NE Colorado to Mount Sunflower, KS - another "drive-up" on still more dirt road. Both these highpoints reminded me of Kevin Costner's assigned post in "Dances With Wolves." Still lots of deer and antelope. Met one of the owners of the land on which Mt. Sunflower is located - an elderly lady who had come to check on her cows - we had a nice conversation. Deceided to back track a good ways to do Iowa and drove and stopped for naps all night. Spent a few hours in a county rest area near Clayton, where I was lulled to sleep by coyotes howling on the plains. Crossed the Republican River near Alma, NE. This is where Jasper Fant was trying to tie empty lards cans around himself to keep from drowning in "Lonesome Dove."

Day 15 - Tue. Sept. 24 - Today - I was tired so I stopped early in a motel in Grand Island, NE to rest and do a wash. Tomorrow it's on to Iowa and then head home to do MO and maybe AR on the way home. As Gus MacRae said in "Lonesome Dove", "Well Woodrow, it's been quite a trip." I have seen many strange and wonderful sights.

Day 16 - Wed. Sept. 25 - Spent the day driving across and up SE Nebraska through Wahoo, NE - the mythical "Home Office", the one-time source of David Letterman's nightly Top 10 lists, and Sioux City, IA, the musical home of "Sioux City Sue", whose hair is red and eyes are blue, to Hawkeye Point, IA. I parked on the road and walked up to the landowner's house, where I was met at the door by Mrs. Stetler. She was a nice lady and welcomed me to her place. I walked across the backyard and the barnyard to the highpoint at the end of a cattle feed trough and took some pictures and walked back to the truck and hit the road for Missouri. Stopped at Taco John's in Sheldon, IA for supper and spent the night in a motel near Omaha, NE.

Day 17 - Thu. Sept. 26 - Got a late start and then got lost on the way to the Strategic Air Command Museum near Omaha. Spent about 2 hours at the museum where I had hoped they would have a B-36 on display. They did. The B-36 has six "pusher" prop engines and 4 jet engines. I remember, as a kid, seeing one or two fly over Chalk Level. Even at 30,000', you could literally feel the ground shake when they flew over. Had sort of a "twilight zone" experience crossing the Missouri River near Plattsmouth, NE. I came around a curve in the middle of nowhere and there was this rusty old bridge with a toll gate. The spooky looking attendant wanted $1.25 to cross his bridge. I paid it and moved on. Because of the late start, the museum visit and fatigue, I only made it to Independence, MO where I spent the night in a motel.

Day 18 - Fri. Sept. 27 - Spent the day driving across MO. on I-70 and then some very crookedy mountain roads to Taum Sauk Mountain, MO. It was a very flat spot on the top of the mountain and had a cement sidewalk of about 1,000 ft. from the parking lot. Took some pictures and headed home. Had supper in Jackson, MO, where I could hear the band playing for half-time at the high school just over a hill. Casualty #3 - Stella's lights went out at 10:00 PM out in the middle of nowhere. I had stopped at a closed truck stop near the MO/IL border for a nap. When I got back in the front seat and turned on the lights they immediately went off. After some frustrating minutes, I discovered only the low beams were out. I adjusted the high beams to low beams and hit the road. It took 3 or 4 fine tunings to get the aiming points right. Almost casuality #4 - barely missed hitting a live skunk while the beams were a little low - had I not been driving slow because of the too low high beams, I probably would have hit it. Drove and stopped for naps the rest of the night across MO, KY and TN.

Day 19 - Sat. Sept. 28 - Came through Nash Vegas about 4:00 AM. All was guiet. After a final nap between Monteagle and Chattanooga, I made it home at 11:30 AM. 19 days, 13 new highpoints, 6,790 miles.

"You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. You shall see a... a cow... on the roof of a cottonhouse, ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation." - Blind Seer - "O Brother, Where Art Thou"

July 2002 Highpoint Trip


May 2002 Highpoint Trip

Monday May 6, 2002 - Having accomplished my goal of fishing in all 50 states, I needed another reason to travel. I had heard about "highpointing" several years ago and I did some looking around on the internet and found the highpointers.org website and deceided I give it a go. I knew where the highpoints were in the states around where I grew up and had been to a few of them but felt I should do them again to have a chronoligical and photographic record of the event. Having spent the weekend visiting my family in East Tennessee, I deceided to do the surrounding states on the way home. I left Rogersville, TN after lunch and drove to the parking lot and hiked the 1/10 mile trail to the top of Mt. Mitchell, NC. I had my picture taken by some people who were already there. My first official highpoint! I drove back down the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Tennessee and spent the night in the back of my truck in the parking lot of Pisgah Inn in NC.

Tuesday May 7, 2002 - After a breakfast of instant grits and smoked sausage cooked on my little 28 year Svea stove on the tailgate of my truck, I drove on down the parkway through Cherokee, NC and then up US 411 and Clingmans Dome Road to the parking lot and then walked up the paved 1/2 mile trail to the top of Clingmans Dome, TN. Even though I had met several people on the trail, including an elderly Englishman who was walking on the wrong side of the trail, I was the only one at the top of the observation tower and had to take my own picture. I didn't have a tripod at this time so I had to balance my camera on the guard rail of the tower and managed to chop my head partially off. As usual it was very cloudy at the top and the view was limited to a few hundred feet. I drove on down to Georgia and got into Vogel State Park just south of Blairsville, GA late that night where I shared my campsite with a couple of deer.

Wednesday May 7, 2002 - After an pre-dawn breakfast in the campground, I drove the 13 miles to the parking lot and walked up the 1/2 mile trail to the top of Brasstown Bald, GA. It was very cloudy here also and the view was very limited. I got home that afternoon. Three highpoints down and 47 to go. :-) When I got my photos back, I realized I did not include myself in the picture of the sign. I'm going to have to go back someday and do that.

After getting home, I set about locating the highpoints of the rest of the states using the information on the highpointers website and DeLorme's TopoUSA 4.0, a wonderful mapping program which with my laptop and my Garmin eTrex Legend GPS receiver I will locate them on the ground.