The last of lower 48 states was the most intimidating, 448 foot high Delaware high point, Ebright Azimuth. This residential peak is marked by a bench and a sign on the sidewalk near the Pennsylvania border.
It just so happens that one of my brothers, Richard, lives about 15 minutes away from Ebright Azimuth. Richard, his wife Christiane, and their dog Penny all joined me in conquering Delaware and celebrate!
A few feet down the street is the survey marker with part of the sidewalk cut out so it wasn’t covered up.
Actually, we didn’t celebrate right after visiting the high point because Christiane was on her way to play tennis, but after that it was a straight-up, wild and crazy throw down of The League season 2.
The contiguous 48 states. Check!
States conquered: 48
Summing up my mountainous eastern high points is Spruce Knob in West Virginia. At 4,863 ft, Spruce Knob is not only the highest point in West Virginia, but the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains as well.
As you may have guessed, there is quite a bit of spruce growing in the area. The short, well maintained trail to the summit offers a lovely view of the forest and is accompanied by a strong refreshing spruce scent.
At the high point is a small tower offering views of the surrounding area.
My apologies for the lack of creativity in titling this post.
States conquered: 47
A short drive from Mount Davis is Maryland’s high point, Backbone Mountain. In the far western part of the state, the 3,360 foot mountain is just minutes walk from the West Virginia border.
The high point is not accessible by road. The trailhead lies one mile from the summit and climbs 700 vertical feet. It is not a very difficult hike, but a short portion of the trail has a decent grade to climb.
Along the trail is the Maryland, West Virginia state line. A few steps further and you’ve reached the summit of Backbone Mountain known as Hoye-Crest.
A nice view of the rural landscape from the high point.
States conquered: 46
Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania. Located in the southwestern part of the state, the 3,213 foot Davis is lacking in prominence (only 653′), but a lookout tower at the top makes up for that.
I drove to the top of this one. There are some extremely short trails that lead to the summit I could have taken, but I decided to save myself 7 minutes of walking.
I climbed up the lookout tower and the lovely fall colors were showing!
A rock near by had the summit marker on it.
States conquered: 45
The highest point in New Jersey is simply known as High Point. Rising 1,803 above sea level, the high point is in the northern corner of the state and is marked by a large monument.
I parked my car in the parking lot and walked about 100 yards to the top. Certainly not the most prominent of high points, but you can see quite a ways from the base of the monument.
I didn’t know much about New Jersey besides what Pauly D told me before I visited high point, but the state is quite nice the further you get away from the shore.
States conquered: 44
Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts. Located in the western part of the state, the 3,491′ Greylock is a been a ski destination for over 70 years. A vintage ski lodge still stands near the summit.
I chose to climb this mountain using the Thunderbolt Trail which is a back country ski route in the winter time. This trail ascends the mountain in 1.6 miles and climbs 2,175 vertical feet.
It was a bit chilly in the morning and I hit the trail without a jacket. Instead going back 20 feet and grabbing a jacket, I decided to climb as fast as I could to stay warm.
The trail ascent was quite steep, reaching 35% grade in some places. I can see how this would be an awesome ski slope!
At the summit is the lighthouse looking thing. Unfortunately, the tower was closed for construction reasons.
After taking in the views for a bit, I was getting cold so I high-tailed it back down.
States conquered: 43
Connecticut’s highest point is a bit unusual. I doesn’t lie near or a cornfield or at the top of mountain. The highest point in constitution state is on the side of a mountain, Mount Frissell. While the peak of Mount Frissell is in Massachusetts at 2,454 feet, the high point of Connecticut is on the south slope at an elevation of 2,380 ft.
Driving off the pavement and down a gravel road takes you to the not-so-obvious trailhead. Near the trailhead is a state line marker.
A view of Mount Frissell along the trail
The climb itself was fairly short. About a mile and change takes you to the peak of Mount Frissell and down the south slope to another state line marker. This marker is the high point of Connecticut.
A view from the CT high point
While not a ton of elevation gained, the trail has some short steep rocky sections that are lots of fun!
States conquered: 42
Another flat state to ‘climb’ was Rhode Island. It’s high point, Jerimoth Hill, is 812 feet above sea level and would only be found by those who are looking for it.
As it turns out, I was looking for it and there was a sign on the road near the top of the hill to let me know I had arrived.
I parked across the street and walked a few minutes along a flat trail to the high point. I signed the ‘summit’ register and that was about it.
summit register in the ammo can
States conquered: 41
Mount Katahdin is Maine’s highest point. The 5,269 foot Katahdin is also the terminus for the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail.
I set out to climb this mountain on a Sunday morning. This presented me with a small problem as the round trip to the peak and back was 10 miles and the nearest sports bar was hours away. How would I be able to climb this mountain and watch a full day of football!?!?!
The answer: start climbing at 3am!
I camped at the trailhead and woke up super early to hit the trail. I put on my head lamp and started up the trail.
The first part of the trail was very easy to follow even in the middle of the night. I worked up a sweat in no time marching up the steep trail in extremely high humidity. After about an hour and a half, I cleared the treeline. I could see every star in the sky!
Along the knife edge
By 5:20, I reached Pamola Peak. This is a peak on one end of the ridge that Katahdin lies on.
I traversed the famed ‘Knife Edge’ portion of the ridge to complete my 3700′ elevation gain to the summit just as the sun was showing. While the walk along the Knife Edge was clear and pleasant, the weather at the summit was sub optimal: wind was howling and visibility impaired my clouds rushing over the mountain top.
I started down the mountain with a mission to get out of there as quickly as possible and go watch some football. I took a different route down the mountain making a 10 mile loop. A couple miles in to my descent and I ran into the first fellow hiker of the day. We chatted and he asked me if I was the idiot who started up the mountain at 3 in the morning (there is a mandatory trailhead check in/out station). I laughed and explained my football situation…
A lovely view
I kept trucking and got back to the campground at 9:20. I sped out of Baxter State Park and strait to the first place that had a tv and was able to watch the full Texans v. Titans game!
30-24 OT win for the Texans!
States conquered: 40
New Hampshire’s high point, Mount Washington, is home to some of the worst weather on the planet. The 6,288′ summit once held a record for highest recorded wind speed of 231 mph. This dangerous weather has made Mount Washington a dangerous climb as well. The mountain has claimed many lives over the years, may of which were a result of the quick-changing and hazardous weather.
While the weather on my climb was not optimal, it was certainly nice enough to make an enjoyable ascent.
I chose to tackle Mount Washington via the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. This trail climbs 4,280′ in 4.1 miles to the top. I hit the trail at first light and was joined by a steady drizzle of rain for two hours.
The trail was fairly steep and moderately rocky as it winded its way through the trees. About half way to the summit is a caretaker’s cabin where you get a first glance at the steepness that lies ahead. Even if there clouds were out of the way, the summit would not have been in view just yet.
Climbing up the steep slippery boulders along side a group of waterfalls was really neat. As I neared the top of the ridge, I climbed through a thin layer of clouds and continued to scramble along the boulders towards the summit. I took a quick break here and realized I was sitting in between two layers of clouds!
In a cloud sandwich
The summit is actually a bit touristy. There is a visitor center with gift shop and cafeteria. There’s also a historic hotel you can tour. While most visitors drive to the top, a popular way to experience Mount Washington is to climb to the summit and take a train back down.
At the top with the weather station in the background
I didn’t have my wallet on me so I walked back down.
States conquered: 39