Friday, July 16, 2010

Mount Davis (Pennsylvania Highpoint)

Getting to Mount Davis is another one that has the potential to be pretty difficult but this one has nothing to do with hiking in the woods.  It is more about the nest of country roads in the area.  Luckily both the signage on the roads and the guidebook were excellent resources in finding Mount Davis. 

During our drive we noticed that there must be a good sized population of Amish/Menonite/etc... in the area because we saw at least a few horse & buggy teams being led along the roads.

Sy really liked the observation tower on this highpoint because it was so tall.  We climbed it, snapped a few pictures and broke for the car as a rain squall looked like it wanted to get us wet.

Admittedly, I wasn't all that interested in lingering longer.  After driving almost 3,000 miles I was tired of being on the road! That being the case, I still had to make it to Vermont to drop my canoe off at a friend's house an make it back home in New York before dinner the next day.  Sy and I are both looking forward to being back home with the family.

Backbone Mountain (Maryland Highpoint)

Backbone Mountain is along the MD-WV stateline and was just a short drive (~90 min or so) from the summit at Spruce Knob.

After having hit so many "drive-up" highpoints in recent months, it was nice to go on a short hike for a change..... for me, that is.  I don't think Sy enjoyed the hike as much as I did.  It ended up being a little bit a lecture from Dad on positive mental attitude yadda yadda yadda..... I am sure he appreciated every word of it!  It is about 1 mile long each way but it is definitely a gradual climb to the ridge where the highpoint is.  The climbing along with the summer heat proved to be a little challenging for Sy.

I think if it wasn't for the guidebook and red painted "HP -->" signs along the way, I never would have found this one.  Even with all the help, we almost accidentally turned around at the state line "No. 3" marker.  It is a fairly prominent monument given its location. 

Luckily, I noticed a couple of discrepancies with dates and other descriptions of the sign and decided to go a little further because about 0.1 miles later, we found the actual highpoint.  Having achieved the goal, we snapped a couple of pictures and made our way back to the car. 

On to Pennsylvania!

Spruce Knob (West Virginia Highpoint)

Last night turned out to be a pretty big adventure in and of itself.  I wanted to get all the way to Elkins, WV so we could have a good run at WV, MD and PA before heading north and finishing our drive.  So, I kept myself awake and powered all the way to Elkins arriving around 1:00am and planned to get a hotel room and crash for the night.  Easier said than done.  The first hotel I stopped at had no vacancies.  Then the second had none.  Then more of the same at the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.  Admittedly, I hadn't anticipated that Elkins, WV of all places would be sold out!

Luckily for us, a nice lady at the Super 8 referred us to the Days Inn where they had one "interior" room.  Beggars can't be choosers so we took it.  It turns out this hotel has been converted from an old hospital. Our room literally had no exterior window but did have a window that opened into a hallway.  It was odd to say the least.  I can't say I will be recommending the accommodations to anyone else but I was grateful to have a bed nonetheless!

After a late breakfast, Sy and I drove the twisting roads to Seneca Rocks and then south to Spruce Knob park and the summit!  The drive was really nice and I was happy to be back in the wooded mountains I enjoy so much.

The highpoint has an observation tower on top that Sy and I both enjoyed especially because the views were pretty clear.  The landscape reminded me a lot of that in New England.

Sy had a proud moment when he was the first to find the benchmark after I had wandered for a few unsuccessful minutes of searching.  Good going, Sy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Campbell Hill (Ohio Highpoint)

Campbell Hill is another "drive-up" highpoint so getting there was pretty straightforward. 

The only potential confusion point is that it is located just off a parking lot in a vocational school for adults.  Even with this added complexity, it is pretty obvious where the top of the hill is.  We just kept following the drive that went up and we ran right into the highpoint.  I imagine as long as the gates are open to the school, this should be an easy one for others to find.

One thing I liked about this particular highpoint was the historical information that was included.  If you paused to read the signage, you would learn the marble stone adjacent to the benchmark was the one originally placed there and you would also learn that Campbell Hill was once an important military site during the Cold War.

Once again, after snapping a few shots, we were on our way!

Hoosier High Point (Indiana Highpoint)

Getting to Hoosier High Point was pretty straightforward and there was pretty good signage along all the approach roads.... right up to the highpoint itself. 

It was odd that the final turnoff and highpoint itself would be so poorly marked given how good signage from the main roads had been.  It did look like there had been a sign of the highpoint at some point but there were just two signpost stumps to the east of the highpoint.  I confirmed that there was a sign there as recently as June 2, 2010 using a YouTube video so we may have just recently missed it!  No big deal, though, because the book Anne had given me gave good directions so I knew to turn off the road at the edge of the wooded area.

After snapping a couple of pictures and taking a moment to sign the register, we hit the road!  We wanted to hit Campbell Hill, OH that afternoon before heading to WV.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hawkeye Point (Iowa Highpoint)

Sy and I have been driving from Utah to New York for a couple of days with a canoe strapped on the roof of the Saturn Ion.  It has been a lot of fun... all except for the high winds in Wyoming almost blowing the canoe off of the car and the little kidney stone passing issue in North Platte, NE.  Other than that it has been great!

The important thing is that there is now way I was going to drive across the country and not hit a few more highpoints!

Hawkeye Point, though a few hours off of I-80, was the first one within striking distance of our route.  Note: Sy and I hit Panorama Point, NE a few months ago.

This one was as "drive-up" as they come.  I understand the farm owner recently donated the land at the actual highpoint to the government (local/county/state?) and it was obvious some recent development had been done to improve the site.  Signage was also excellent on the approach roads. 

These midwest "highpoints" make me chuckle a little as the elevation is barely distinguishable from the surrounding terrain.  Guess I just need to trust the surveyors!  Regardless, it is always fun to do a little bit of route finding and enjoy the tour of a new place as I work to arrive at the goal.