[Published in Apex to Zenith #52 – First Quarter 2001]
Having our first cold snap of the year in Shreveport (November 9, 2000), the temperature at 40d under beautiful blue skies reminded me of being on the top of a mountain out West on a late July morning. It has been a little over a year since I completed the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii. I finished with Missouri at our High Pointers meeting in September 1999.
I think it has taken me a while to grasp the fact that I’ve actually climbed 49 of the 50 high points in the USA. My interest in climbing started years ago when we would go camping in Arkansas and climb the highest hill in the vicinity. My first high point was Guadalupe Peak in Texas in March of 1991. I climbed this mountain with my son Russ, his wife Maria Elena, and my wife Martha.
Later, on a trip back from visiting our daughter Susan, who was attending the University of Colorado, we were pulling a small camper and stopped in the panhandle of Oklahoma. Picking up the Rand McNally map, I noticed the the high point of Oklahoma was nearby I asked around at the general store am got directions. That made my second high point in three months. Both of these were very beautiful areas that would not have visited had it not been for climbing high points.
At that time, not knowing tha there was organization of highpointers I thought it would be fun to climb the high point in each state. I stumbled o the Highpointers Club by accident. Someone at a sporting goods store in Shreveport told me that the High-Tec Shoe Company was sponsoring climber to scale the high points in all 50 states using High-Tech’s shoes. I called the High-Tech Shoe Company an talked with the vice president who informed me of the Highpointers Club. After contacting Jack Longacre and securing a Highpointer guidebook from Paul Zumwalt, I made up my mind do all the 48 contiguous states.
Not only has this given me opportunity to visit parts of the United States that I probably would never have seen, but also I’ve met some of the nicest people I’ve ever known in the highpointers from every state. Martha and I have had the pleasure of attending fo Highpointer cOnventions and corresponding with many highpointers over the past nine years. One who comes mind right off is Rick Craycraft, who filled the role of guide when we climbed Mount Hood. Another is Clark Hall, a very special person, who visit our home in Shreveport on one of I trips to the South.
Looking back at our highpoint adventure, there was not one highpoint that we did not enjoy the experience climbing. To paraphrase Will Rogers “I never met a highpoint I didn’t like.”
If I had to choose the one that got the most pleasure from, it would have to be Gannett Peak in Wyoming. The hike in and out of the Wind River Range makes that a very special place. My climbing group, which consists my sons Bill & Russ, my brother B. Hines, and occasionally friend All Maxwell, plans to make a return trip the summer of 2001 to that beautiful part of the world.
In closing, I would just like to thanks to all our highpointer friends who gave me advice and guidance reaching my goal. Perhaps, we will you again at the 2001 Highpoint Convention.