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)

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