2016 Brought a Spike in Visitors to Mt. Mitchell State Park

Though it is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, Mt. Mitchell is one of the more accessible highpoints.  A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway takes one to Mt. Mitchell State Park.  From there, one can drive to a parking lot near the summit and hike a short distance on a paved route to the summit. 

In 2016, more people took advantage of this park than in previous years as Mt. Mitchell State Park, home of North Carolina’s highpoint and highest point of the Eastern United States, saw an over 25% increase in visitors in 2016 over 2015.

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Panorama Point Now Open

UPDATE

Panorama Point is open!  As we go through the rest of winter and the early parts of spring, one can anticipate that there will be other temporary closures to Nebraska’s highpoint.  

We’ll keep you updated.

 

 

Panorama Point, the highpoint of Nebraska, is currently closed due to road conditions.

Please do not attempt to walk the road as bison roam within the fence.

Thanks for your cooperation.

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“Record” Snowfall on Mt. Mitchell Revised

A view of Mt. Mitchell from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In January of 2016, Mt. Mitchell received a reported 41 inches of snowfall in a 24 hour period from 7am January 22nd to the same time on January 23rd. 

However, that report was ruled incorrect by a state weather committee, who met for the first time in more than a decade.

The committee took a look at a variety of factors before lowering the recognized snowfall amount on North Carolina’s highest point.

No matter the current record, the story does go a long way to showing how easy it is for the areas in the Blue Ridge, especially Mt. Mitchell to receive quite a bit of snow in a short period.   Any of our readers hiked the highest point east of the Mississippi in the snow?

 

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Airmen Use Highpointing as Training Exercise

A view from the trail to the summit of Mt. Rogers, Virginia’s highpoint.

While many people take up highpointing as a hobby to enjoy the great outdoors and to travel to new places, Chief Master Sgt. Dean Werner highpoints as a way reinforce the four pillars of comprehensive airmen fitness: mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness.

The idea of highpointing providing such reinforcement should not come as a surprise to those involved in the activity. While there are many peaks that only require walking a few hundred feet from a parking lot, there are several that require long hikes or travel over difficult terrain, pushing people past limits they may have seen as impassable.  Highpointing is a way to make one mentally tougher than they have been before, but also it has a way of making people push their critical thinking and decision making skills to another level as well.

It would also be tough to argue that highpointing is not good for one’s soul.  Who doesn’t have moments from highpointing trips that have become part of the fabric of who they now are?  Whether this has been a result of nature, company of the trip, or other factors, the quest often provides new dimensions to one’s life. 

How has highpointing changed or reinforced the person you are?

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Massachusetts 2017 Convention Schedule Announced

The 2017 Massachusetts Convention schedule has been announced, and it features three days of events for highpointers who will be in attendance.

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Searching for a Signal

For many, exploring the Great Outdoors means disconnecting from the busy nature of everyday life. Perhaps this is the reason why two new proposals to bring cell service to Mount Rainier National Park have created such a stir.

While the park has yet to issue a decision, many have already issued opinions on the matter.

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South Dakota’s Black Elk Peak May See a Change of Elevation


For South Dakota’s highest peak, 2016 turned out to be a year of change. First, the highpoint saw its name change from Harney Peak, and now, a new survey claims the mountain stands more than ten feet shorter than originally thought.

Results from a private survey claim that while Black Elk Peak is still the highest in South Dakota, it only stands at 7231 feet, not the 7242 at which it is officially listed.

Jerry Penry, a professional surveyor from Nebraska, undertook the private effort.

It will be interesting to see if this becomes the official height of the mountain.

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Alabama’s Highpoint Offers New Year’s Eve Festivities

The observation tower at the summit of Cheaha.

Finding the right New Year’s Eve activity can drive anyone crazy this time of year.  Do you want to sit at home and watch the College Football Playoff, head to a party, celebrate with a late dinner, or just call it a night early to get a jump on 2017?  For highpointers, there could be one more decision to be made.

Cheaha State Park in Alabama will be in the celebrating spirit on December 31 with its annual Turkey Drop.  The gates to the park will open at 9pm, and Pinhoti the Turkey will be at the observatory at the state’s highest point teaching the Turkey Trot to visitors.  

At midnight, a lighted ball will be dropped to celebrate the start of 2017, and breakfast will be served in the CSP restaurant.

For highpointers, this is a great chance to make a first ( or second, or third, or….) trip to a state highpoint and mix in a little New Year’s Eve fun as well. 

The following day, the park will host a First Day Hike that ends at Alabama’s highpoint.  The hike will start at the Bigfoot Trail Head.

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What Goes into a Name: Clingman’s Dome

A photo near the top of Clingmans Dome.

Highpointers have the opportunity to encounter all sorts of interestingly named places in their quest to reach the highest point of every state. Some names, such as Hawkeye Point and Hoosier Hill, make it easy for folks to know the state to which these points belong.  Other names, such as Cheaha, point more to the history of places, and there is no shortage of highpoints named after people.

Once such highpoint is Clingmans Dome in Tennessee. What is interesting is how much Thomas L. Clingman’s life is tied to neighboring North Carolina and Elisha Mitchell, the man for whom the highest point east of the Mississippi River is named. 

Michael Hardy at the Avery Journal dove into the topic of Clingman and his ties to the area recently in an article worth the read

As time goes on, there will undoubtedly be continued pushes to rename certain highpoints. This makes it all the more important to learn the history behind the name to see if it really does best reflect the area.

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Charles Mound 2017 Access Dates Announced

Highpointers hoping to reach the top of Illinois will have five weekend opportunities in 2017 as the access dates for Charles Mound have been announced.

For those looking for a winter accent to the top of  The Prairie State, access will be granted on February 18 and 19.  However, the lane leading to the highest point will not be plowed.

After February, highpointers will have to wait until the summer months to reach the top of Charles Mound.  Access to the highpoint will be available June 3 and 4, July 1 and 2, August 5 and 6, and September 2 and 3.  These dates are similar to the first full weekend dates set in 2016.

Charles Mound sits on private property in Illinois, and it should be treated as such.  The property owners, The Wuebbels have three firm rules for visitors:

  1. No cars up in our lane.
  2. No pets
  3. No visitors after dark.
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