High Pointer 1 & 2 — Complete
When you take on this challenge of hiking 2,200 miles, you come across many interesting facts and challenges in your research. You find things about Hiking that had never crossed your mind.
For example, you begin to watch documentary films on hiking as well as fictional hiking films. These films give you grandiose ideas about what you can do AFTER you finish your AT Thru Hike,
I’ve had delusions of completing the Triple Crown (in one year), hiking the fastest AT Thru Hike, hiking the North Trail, hiking coast-to-coast, finding other US Thru Hikes and doing them…and the list goes on and on. I mean I now have ideas of “expeditions” that only a short time ago weren’t even on the radar.
Before planning this AT Thru Hike, I had planned to do a few long paddle boarding expeditions including the MR340 (Missouri American Water MR340 paddle race). I’d also considered some longer paddle trips just to do them. However, now I have ideas of HIKING more and potentially doing the paddling too.
One of the NEW hiking adventures I came across during my AT research was the High Pointers Club and Summit Post. They have compiled a list of every state high point. When I first saw this list, I thought…that’s kinda coolio, it a demented sort of way. Then I read about Maddie Miller and Melissa Arnot who did the 50 Peaks Challenge.
Not only did Maddie finish the 50 peaks in under 50 days, she set a new record. Check out this 50 Peaks Challenge Trailer.
And then I read about some kiddo who was also doing the 50 High Points. Wow…if they can do it, shouldn’t I maybe add this (or at least some of the high points) to my list of hiking locations Bucket List?
Sure Enough…I was going to make add High Points to my list. In fact, I had started to see where High Points were located so that I could “adjust” my travels to hit these high points.
This week, I was able to complete 2 of the 50 High Points as I traveled to Louisiana. Along the route was the Mount Magazine in Arkansas and then Mount Driskill was close by in Louisiana. So this could be my START to High Pointing in 2017.
Now, don’t get me wrong, these two High Points aren’t anything to write home about. In fact, the Louisiana High Point is number 48 in elevation on the list. At a whopping 535 feet, it’s only higher than Delaware and Florida. And the Arkansas High Point was only a 0.5 mile walk after you drove up to the State Park.
While I could have started my accent on the Mount Magazine at the base of the mountain, we were on a tight schedule and the weather had turned for the worst with a big cold front across the Southern US. So, while I did make the summit, it wasn’t a very tough hike…but is it about the difficulty of the hike or reaching the summit. However, I felt these relative easy High Points would be a good start for me with some small guaranteed successes.
After an hour drive to Mount Driskill, we parked in the church parking lot and began our trek up the wide and mostly leaf covered trail. After reading about the trail information about staying on the wide trail versus following the blue blazes, we maintained our focus so that we could reach the high point and not be led astray to the false high point that were designated trail by those blue blazes. With a strong north wind, our trek was protected with various trees and brush even though the winter had made many of they barren. However, it was an easy trek to the top and we had reached our 1st (I hope of many) High Points.
While Mount Driskill was our 1st High Point, it wasn’t planned to be. As we drove south from Missouri to Louisiana, we passed a sign for Arkansas’ High Point at Mount Magazine. However, since we running out of daylight, we pressed on to Little Rock for the evening. I knew when I passed the Mount Magazine turn-off, I had made a mistake. With beautiful weather with temperatures in the 60’s during January, I knew we’d be lucky to get a better day.
I was proven right when we came back to Mount Magazine on our return trip and they had had a winter storm dumping 3 inches of snow and ice on the area. In fact, we were a little afraid we wouldn’t even make it to the trailhead in Mount Magazine State Park via the southern route since we didn’t know if they had “de-iced” the roadway.
Also, the southern roadway was quite an experience to drive in good conditions because it very winding with many switchbacks. I guess that explains the Warning Sign of “No Vehicles over 24 feet in Length”. It’s a good thing we are 22feet 9 inches in our Roadtrek Motorhome! It was good that the roads were mostly clear of snow and ice so that we could reach our goal.
After arriving at the state park campground which is right across from the trailhead, we found a parking spot, donned our heavy cold weather coats, gloves and hats and were off to the trail. The snow was a little slick, but the cold and wind were more of a challenge. Temperatures were dropping with every step we took, but from the looks of the trail, many people had been there the previous day since the snow was trampled down along the trail making it easy to secure our footing.
At 0.5 miles one way, it’s an easy hike from the campground. If the weather had been better, we could have made the hike from the base of the mountain, but since we were traveling through the area, the short hike worked perfectly into our timeline. We would hike, have lunch and get back on the road to home.
While I have grand plans to do some of these “other” adventures, right now I’ll add in the High Points as I travel around the United States. I might get to many of them, but will try to add the ones along the AT as I hike the trail this year.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.
I’ve already been plotting what comes after my thru-hike, too! 2018 will be the summer of the 4000 footers in the White Mountains. (I’ve done 12 out of 48 so far and I’ll add a few more on my thru-hike, so one more summer and I should be able to check that off my bucket list!) Then the John Muir Trail. Anything could happen after that. And hopefully it will. Hope to see you out there on the trail!