Sassafras Mountain Observation Tower Delayed until 2017

Highpointers wanting to get a new view from the highest point of South Carolina will have to wait just a bit longer as reports out of the Palmetto State indicate that construction on a 15-foot observation tower on Sassafras Mountain will be delayed until Spring 2017.

Sassafras Mountain has undergone extensive changes during this decade. An observation deck adjacent to a parking lot near the summit was completed in 2013.  While it is not located on the highest point of the state, the deck does allow for views into North Carolina.

2014 saw a radical change to the summit as the forest surrounding the area was cleared to prepare for the construction of an observation tower and to open up a view that had been previously unavailable.  On days without many clouds and low humidity, it is estimated that one can see 50 miles from the summit of the mountain, a view that encompasses four states.

Sassafras Mountain F. Van Clayton Highway or from the Foothills Trail.

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State Highpoints May Offer Amazing View of 2017 Total Eclipse

With a new observation tower and a cleared top, Sassafras Mountain might be a prime spot to view the 2017 total solar eclipse.

With a cleared top and hopes of a new observation tower, Sassafras Mountain might be a prime spot to view the 2017 total solar eclipse.

For the first time in nearly a century, a total solar eclipse will be visible across the United States, and given the projected path of totality, highpointers may be able to head to the top of  a few different states to watch the event unfold.

The Washington Post recently posted an article showing the projected path, and gives more detailed listings of where the eclipse can be seen in totality.

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Lost on a Mountain in Maine Author Dies

Donn Fendler, who spent nine days lost on, but mostly around, Mt. Katahdin as a 12 year old, died Monday at the age of 90.

His story of being lost was later turned into a book, Lost on a Mountain in Maine.

Fendler’s death has received a good bit of media attention, especially in Maine, a state that saw many of its residents view him as a hero or a legend.

Below are a couple of more articles about Fendler.

Stories of Fendler visiting Maine from time to time, especially taking time to go to Maine to visit classrooms,

Fendler’s tale did a lot to promote the Maine wilderness and safety in the woods.


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Bear Attacks: Is the Risk Being Overhyped?

Recently, Todd Orr’s Facebook video went viral as he checked in following two bear attacks.  With that in the news, the topic of bear attacks has come up in a variety of forums.

Vox recently released an article about deadly bear attacks in national and state parks.  A read of the article helps put your likelihood of being fatally attacked in perspective.  Of note to highpointers, Spruce Knob-Seneca Falls with three, and Denali National Park with two, rank in the top ten of national and state parks with fatal attacks since 1900.

So highpointers, use caution when you are in areas where bear encounters are possible, but remember, your odds of being killed by a bear are not as great as it might seem while the topic is dominating Facebook feeds.

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Report: Alabama’s Cheaha State Park Expected to Have Operated at a Profit for Fiscal Year

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Not that long ago, Alabama state parks felt the threats of budget cuts and closures, and for highpointers, that led to concerns about potential access to the highpoint of the state, Cheaha Mountain, which is located in Cheaha State Park.

According to this report from The Anniston Star, the past fiscal year, which ended September 30, should bring good news for all of Alabama’s state parks, including the home of the state’s highpoint, which was expected to have shown a profit.

In response to the budget crunch, Cheaha State Park raised its fees and operated its lodge at reduced hours during the winter. Greg Lein, director of Alabama’s state park system told The Anniston Star that Cheaha’s numbers looked good, even though he was unsure of the attendance for the year at the park.

Alabama voters will have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2 in November, which would change the way that park fees can be used by the state’s Legislature.

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Gearjunkie has a spectacuarly well written on article on highpointing “Highpointing: Climb To The Top Of 50 States” which really captures the spirit of the hobby. Here’s an excerpt.

High on Denali, John Mitchler took out a pencil to write a list. It was the summer of 2003, and as wind tore into the fabric of his cramped tent, he knew the end was near.

“I decided to write a list of all the people I’d climbed with over the years,” he said. “McKinley [Denali] was to be my final mountain.”

Mitchler didn’t perish on that high Alaskan peak. Indeed, his party soon made the mountain’s 20,320-foot summit.

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News Coverage of Highpointers Convention in Montana

The Carbon County News in Red Lodge, Montana, has a nice article on the Highpointers convention.

Convention organizer John Mitchler was quoted in the article:

The toughest climb for Mitchler is Granite Peak.

“It’s nasty. It’s hands on rock climbing. There are two routes, the one from the north is very smooth, but from the south it is loose rock and a real challenge. Most of these (highpoints) are hikes with backpacks, so Granite is more of a snow climb,” he said.

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Lucy Westlake at 12 Claims to Be Youngest to Summit the Lower 48

Congratulations Lucy Westlake of Naperville, Illinois, who was 12 years, 8 months and 18 days old when she claimed to be the youngest girl to complete all 48 states. The article notes that the family does not have a television and instead travels.

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2016-2017 Highpointers Board of Directors

Highpointers Board of Directors 2016-2017
2016-2017 Highpointers Board of Directors, Red Lodge, Montana convention
Left to right Ray Nelson (ex-officio), Alan Ritter, James Arnold Brown Jr. (Bomber), Ruth Anne Heselbarth, Gary Szelc, Kathy Dalsaso, Tim Webb, Nikki Hemphill, Mark Comstock, Mick Dunn, Marion Bauman, Don Holmes, George Paynter, John Keator, John Mitchler (ex-officio)

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Headlines for your Thursday

We’re on the backside of the week and headed for the weekend.  If you are still trying to settle into the office or get your day started, here are four good reads for your morning.

Ever cycled to the top of Mt. Washington?  Here’s a story of working through adversity to do just that.

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