Sunday, September 06, 2015

18 of 50, over a 1/3 of the way done

Getting Ready for Mt. Whitney

I like maps. When I get a new map, I eagerly open it up and peruse its content. My wife thinks I'm a little crazy and she might be right. But, I love the idea that this map represents a nook on our vast planet earth. A nook that was fashioned by God waiting to be explored if one be so inclined. This highpointing adventure idea is one way in which I can combine my love for exploration and maps and my love for God. It is a chance for me to visit a part of His creation, to discover the beauty of it and in doing so to behold the greater beauty of the one who holds it together.

Whether I glimpse a setting sun, fill my lungs with crisp October air, or sit quietly on an empty mountaintop, I know it is the Lord who made it and governs it all. The creation is a reflection of His greatness and I am thankful that He has given me an opportunity to partake in it. What a gift!

Will I ever really have the time to get to the top of all fifty states? Only God knows. But even if I don't, there is always the new heavens and earth that awaits exploration. For now, however, onwards and upwards.

List of Completed Highpoints

#1, Britton Hill, FL, 345 ft, 5-26-06
#2, Woodall Mtn, MS, 806 ft, 5-27-06
#3, Cheaha Mtn, AL, 2407 ft, 5-29-06
#4, Mt. Whitney, CA, 14494 ft, 9-24-06
#5, Boundary Peak, NV, 13143 ft, 9-25-06
#6, Spruce Knob, WV, 4863 ft, 12-19-06
#7, Mt. Rogers, VA, 5729 ft, 12-29-06
EC, Reno Reservoir, Washington DC, 429 ft, 3-29-07
#8, Ebright Azimuth, DE, 442 ft, 5-22-09
#9, Mt. Washington, NH, 6288 ft, 5-24-09
#10, Jerimoth Hill, RI, 812 ft, 5-25-09
#11, Campbell Hill, OH, 1549 ft, 4-3-12
#12, Hoosier Hill, IN, 1257 ft, 4-5-12
#13, High Point, NJ, 1803 ft, 6-10-13
#14, Mount Frissell (south slope), CT, 2372 ft, 6-13-2013
#15, Mount Greylock, MA, 3491 ft, 6-13-2013
#16, Sassafras Mountain, SC, 3553 ft, 11-10-2013
#17, Clingman's Dome, TN, 6643 ft, 8-13-14
#18, Mt. Hood, OR, 11240 ft, 6-3-15

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Mt. Hood, OR

Highpoint #18
11240 feet ASL

My wife and I headed to Seattle, WA to witness the marriage of a mutual college friend.  At the reception I caught my first glimpse of Mt. Rainer...majestic.  While Rainer wasn't planned for this trip, it did get me excited for Mt. Hood, which I would attempt in a few days.  

Mt. Rainer

After the wedding, we headed down to Portland, OR, where I picked up my boots, crampons, ice axe and helmet.  Then it was over to Rhododendron, OR, at the foot of Mt. Hood, where we had booked a fun cabin on AirBnB.  Unfortunately, we arrived to a stationary front with lots of cloud and light drizzle at the foot of the mountain, but what would the summit be like?  I met my guide, Aaron Hartz, with Timberline Mountain Guides.  His first news wasn't good.  Chair lift up the first half of the mountain was closed due to high winds and low visibility.  Our original plan to go up and work on skills and then camp on mountain would have to change.  We decided to work on our skills on a lower section of the mountain and then meet at the trailhead at midnight to attempt summit from the lodge.

Clouds, drizzle, and nastiness continued for the skills part and as I tried to go to sleep that night.  I awoke to drive to trailhead and still clouds and rain, although perhaps a bit less.  We started at Timberline Lodge with the mountain appearing to be socked in above Wilcox Hut.  Climbed to the top of the ski lift in heavy freezing mist.  But then, maybe, just maybe the clouds looked to be clearing.  As we began again after a rest at the ski lift, I saw some stars and then the upper reaches of the mountain.  Maybe I will get a chance.  We put on our crampons and were headed up.  Our next break was a doozy, wind picked up on a ridge with I'm estimating 30mph winds and 20 degree temps.   Brutally cold, even with gear.  Hard time getting back going, with cold muscles, though I might have to stop, but I was able to get into a rhythm and warmed back up.

We made it to the Devil's Kitchen, protected on three sides by the 1000 foot mountain walls.  The sun started to rise, wind died down, we were above the clouds, with distant volcanoes peaks above the clouds.  Fumaroles were active with sulfur smell.

We short roped up and made our ways to the Hogsback.  We didn't traverse along the Hogsback, but instead opted for a muddy, sulfur section that lead to the Old Chute.  Aaron went up the Chute and set a belay so I could manage the steepest section.  

All that was left was a short ridge hike to the true summit.  Unfortunately, some clouds pushed in to cloud the summit view, but I didn't care, I was glad to have made it up.  7 hours up, topping out at around 7:45 am (PCT).  Texted my wife and good buddy and then we started the descent.  We descended same route in 3.5 hours.

Trip Statistics and GPS data on Gaia

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clingman's Dome, TN

Highpoint #17
6643 feet ASL

My family took a detour from the normal summer beach trip.  Instead, we were off to mountains of Tennessee.  We stayed in a cabin in Gatlinburg and got a taste of a truly touristy town, although I hear Pigeon Forge is even more touristy worse.  We did border Smokey National Park, with numerous hiking trails and waterfalls to explore, including the summit of the great state of Tennessee, which made the trip worth it.

I warmed up the day with a hike of Mt. LeConte.  My little sis joined me on this hike with over 2500 ft of elevation gain.  We didn't have plans to stay in the summit lodge, but saw this neat little community and enjoyed the respite at the top.

Mt LeConte GPS info

Later in the day, the entire family packed into our cars and headed to the highpoint of Tennessee.  The gang included my wife and two kids, my brother-in-law and sister and their kids, and my mom and dad.

We hoofed it up the short, but steep paved trail and to the summit monument, path thingy.  I carried my kids for a bit of the way.

The Smokies were doing their thing, so the summit was socked in clouds, but still a good trip.

We were back in our cars and headed to a much needed all you can eat dinner at the Cataloochee Ranch.

Clingman's Dome GPS info

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sassafras Mountain, SC

Highpoint #16
3553 feet ASL

A quick detour hike with my wife on our return trip home from the MTW conference in Greenville, SC.  The drive to the hike gave my wife a bit of car sickness, but we arrived for a quick hoof up to the summit.


Sittin' on the Summit

Beautiful Fall Day for a Summit

Since EveryTrail is on the fritz, here is the GPS track date from Gaia GPS.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mount Greylock, MA

Highpoint #15
3491 feet ASL

Earlier in the day I bagged the highpoint of CT, now I was headed toward Mount Greylock.  I was cold, wet, and tired from the 5+ mile hike.  I was glad this turned out to be a walk instead of a hike.  If the weather was better, I would have enjoyed a hike, but as it was with the cold, clouds, wind, and pelting rain it was better to check this one off the list.  Here is a video. 

Back in the car, and a few hours later, back to summer vacation.  Three more highpoints checked off the list. 

Mt. Greylock summit (highpoint of Massachusetts)

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Mount Frissell (south slope), CT

Highpoint #14
2372 feet ASL

This was the second day of bagging 3 planned state highpoints (NJ, CT, and MA) during a summer vacation 2013 trip to Providence, RI.  A few day earlier on the way up to Providence, I bagged NJ with the family.  Today, I was solo, leaving from Providence to hit up CT and MA and return back to Providence.  There was heavy rain in the forecast and even severe a bit to the west and south of where I was headed.  I was up early trying to edge out the rain at my destination.  Only drizzle at the trailhead, although the actual trail was a lake from previous rains.  I tried in vain to walk on the edge of the trail and stay dry, but soon I embraced the wet, there was no other choice
The highpoint of CT is interesting in that the highest point in the state is not the summit of a mountain, but rather on the side of the mountain, whose summit lies across the state line in MA.  My route took me to the summit of Mount Frissell, but it was a few hundred yards down the mountain to the actual highpoint of CT.  The log register at the summit of Mount Frissell explains the matter. 
 It was at the highpoint of CT that the rain caught up with me.  From here on out, I would be wet and cold.  But the highpoint (not summit) of CT was mine. 
 To complete the loop, there was another interesting marker, a tri-state point.  This is a place where the borders of three states converge.  In this case, CT, MA, and NY.  CT must not have gotten the memo when the stone monument was being hewn because the CT designation was written in Sharpie, really CT. 
I completed the loop and was back in my car heading to Mount Greylock, highest point in MA. 

Mount Frissel slope (highpoint of Connecticut)

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Monday, June 10, 2013

High Point, NJ

Highpoint #13
1803 ft ASL

I've never had fond memories of NJ.  My experiences with this state primarily consist of driving through the state on the NJ Turnpike, paying usury-like tolls, and for my viewing pleasure: industrial smokestack vistas.  The moniker "armpit state" has rung true with me.   

But hey, this was a great opportunity for me to rethink NJ, to give it a second chance looking down from its highest peak.  The Whited clan first had to get there and also needed a reason.  We were headed from Roanoke en route to Providence, RI for a week of summer vacation with some dear friends.  We stopped for the night in Scranton, PA.  We were paying homage to The Office, which had just weeks earlier had its series finale.  My wife and I loved this show, it was our first "together as a couple show."  We were faithful to watch and laugh through every episode of its 9 seasons.  After our ode to The Office, we were a few hours drive to High Point State Park and only a short detour off our main path.   

As I mentioned, New Jersey had a lot of work to do to change my perception of the state.  Unfortunately, the weather was not on New Jersey's side.  It was cold and rainy as we approached the park's entrance.  I knew there was a fee to enter, but I was hoping on this treacherous day the fee might be waived because who comes to a park to swim in the lake or have a picnic, or hike on such a day as this.  "$10 please for out of state residents."  Seriously, I thought.  My wife looks at me, her face speaking "Why are we here?"  Well, because, I have a weird hobby and it would be more expensive if I had to come here on another day with the gas and all.  I'm just thankful we didn't come a day earlier when the fee is $20 for non-residents on a weekend.  Ridiculous.  We drove past the lake, that no one was swimming in and where lifeguards are busy playing cards in the guardhouse making easy money.  (I was once a lifeguard and we lived for days like these, no thunder or lightning, so we can't close, but really who is going to swim.)  We drove to the parking lot, where a sign instructed us: handicapped vehicles can drive up the last quarter mile, but all others vehicles must park and occupants hoof it.  I just paid $10, I'm going to use all of your road thank-you.  Past the sign we drove.  My wife snapped my picture from inside the car as the wind and rain pelted me in the face.  My wife was not getting out of the car.  I don't blame her.  My kids were not going to either, but after telling them it would be an adventure, they bagged the highpoint with their dad. 

So, I'm glad to have bagged this highpoint.  And in a way, going this route, actually saved me from the NJ Turnpike and its tolls, which was nice.  But do I still think NJ lives up to the aforementioned "armpit state." Why, yes, I do.    

High Point summit (highpoint of New Jersey)

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in High Point State Park

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Hoosier Hill, IN

Highpoint #12
1257 feet ASL

One of the easier highpoints.  Hoosier Hill sits on private property, but the landowners are gracious to allow public access.  The most memorable moment of this highpoint was the drive to it on Route 227.  The road has plenty of hills and dips to tickle your tummy.  We also thought the trail around the highpoint was epic. 

Our friends from Richmond, Indiana accompanied us on this epic journey and officially knocked off their first highpoint.

I also discovered that Nessie from Loch Ness is a frequent visitor to Hoosier Hill.  Check just to the west on the satellite photo below and see if you can spot her. 

Hoosier Hill (Highpoint of Indiana)

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