New England State Highpointing Trip Report

5-11 Jul 2002 - by Alan Ritter (view roster page)

This year's highpointing trip took us the opposite direction as last year's (Mt. Whitney). We flew from St. Louis to Boston on July 4, rented a car and set out on an eleven-day loop around the New England states. Most of these are drive-ups or trivial hikes, but they are part of our 50 state highpoints list. (See http://www.highpointers.org or www.americasroof.com or the highpointing section of my own WWW site, http://www.mtritter.org for more information on highpointing.)

In order, we "climbed":

1. 7/5/2002, Mt. Greylock, MA: Nice drive up, impressive monument on top. (MA war memorial) Food at the snack bar left a lot to be desired.

2. 7/5/2002, Mt. Frissell, CT: Short hike. Mountain Laurel were blooming. Not much of a view from the HP itself, but nice views from the trails 100 yards before the HP itself. Trails were well marked, no problem finding the way, although the trailhead itself is a little obscure.

3. 7/6/2002, Jerimoth Hill, RI: Ho, hum...been there, done that. Not too exciting, but definitely thanks to the HP Club for negotiating the open access dates. (The top of the hill is on Brown University property, but you have to cross private property to get there, and there are only four open dates, typically on holiday weekends, where the landowner deigns to grant access so you can walk 100 yards along his driveway to the summit of Rhode Island.)

4. 7/6/2002, High Point, NJ: Another drive-up with an impressive monument. Monument is still closed, gutted, waiting for new stairs on the interior. Very hazy that day, smoke from Quebec forest fires, limited viz. Anyway, ya gotta love the unique name for this highpoint!

5. 7/7-8/2002, Mt. Marcy, NY: Longest hike of the eight, 15 miles round-trip. We hiked in about 4 miles on Sunday evening (7/7), camped and then did the summit and out on 7/8. Great views from the top, less hazy than the day we did NJ. This one has a bit of history about it...apparently, Teddy Roosevelt was up on Mt. Marcy when he learned that McKinley had been assassinated and he (TR) had become President.

6. 7/9/2002, Mt. Mansfield, VT: Drove up the access road. Socked in on top, so we hiked the mile-and-a-half to the "chin" in fog/clouds/drizzle. No view, less than 100 yards viz. Didn't stick around long.

7. 7/9/2002, Mt. Washington, NH: Took the last cog of the day up. Cheaper ($11 off for second and third members of the group) but you only get about 20 minutes on the summit. Even so, that was enough...cold, windy and socked in.

8. 7/11/2002, Mt. Katahdin, ME: Greatest elevation gain (4,000'). We chose the Abol trail, which is shortest (3.8 miles each way) and steepest of the usual trails up Katahdin. It's a great scramble up a rockslide chute (rocks are mostly stable these days). Holmes lists it as "on-trail" but that's a bit wishful. It is thoroughly blazed (blue paint on the rocks) but is really a second-class boulder-hop and talus slog once you hit the steep part of the slope. Still, the day we went up, the wind was coming from the north, so we were sheltered most of the way. The folks using the Hunt trail (Appalachian Trail) were on the exposed ridge, fighting the wind the whole way. Definitely the most fun climb of the eight and I recommend the Abol trail to anyone who enjoys scrambling instead of trail hiking. The next morning, the wind had shifted again and we could both see and smell the Quebec smoke.

Total mileage was a bit over 2,000 in the loop from Boston. Not bad for 11 days.

That makes 19 for Marcia (she only does drive-ups and ride-ups like Mt. Washington), 35 for Nathan, 37 for me. Closing in on the 3/4 point, but the toughies are still to be done...

/s/jar (Alan Ritter) http://www.mtritter.org


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