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Not all state high points are created equal: Jerimoth Hill, RI
posted by John : September 6, 2015


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moosefish photo

The trail was well signed


Let's be honest. There are state high points and there are state high points. Out west we've been blessed with high points that really are high. Places like Mount Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Whitney, and of course Denali. Not that 14,000 or even 20,000 feet is high when you compare them to peaks in other parts of the world.

But when you compare them to high points like Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island the difference is striking.

When I climbed Rainier I trained for months, practiced crevasse rescue, and spent three days on the mountain. When we topped out in Rhode Island we parked and walked for five minutes.

When I climbed Rainier it was with three other guys I trusted with my life. When we summited Jerimoth Hill it was with the kids and their grandparents.

When I climbed Rainier... You get the point.

Contrary to the reports of climbing two other state high points on this trip, I have no illusions about climbing all the state high points. I'm plenty content with my insane goal of climbing all the Cascade volcanos. In fact, I didn't really even think about Jerimoth Hill except for these two reasons:

1) It lay between Mystic, Connecticut, where we'd be for a wedding and Boston where an airplane was waiting to take us home.

2) It was in Rhode Island and I hadn't adventured in Rhode Island before.

So what was the trip like? Navigation was all Google Maps. It was 30 minutes longer than driving the direct route to the airport. (I don't have any idea how we ever navigated without our phones.)

The trail itself is wide and flat, leading directly to the high point in less than a quarter of a mile. Way less. I think we could still see the car from the high point. Through the trees.

Unlike other pictures I've seen, the highpoint was a simple rock with a benchmark on the top. There were no Tibetan prayer flags or cairns or adoring crowds to ooh and ah about our achievement. Henry stood atop the high point. Then Lilly. Even Clara shed her tweenness and climbed up. They were far more excited and animated on this relatively low high point (812 feet) than on either the Connecticut or Massachusetts climbs earlier in the week. No views, no challenge, but a big win for them.

Even Nana and Papa were smiling. I'm pretty sure it was Nana's first high point, but Papa has been to the top of Oregon in his youth. (And tempting fate by wearing blue jeans no less!)

All too soon our adventure came to an end. We were back in the car on the way to the airport almost as soon as we walked away from the high point.

It wasn't the most epic of our high points, but it was still fun. And we get to check off Rhode Island now. Only 44 states to go! (No, not seriously.) (Well... Maybe.)

Special shout out to The World Wanderer, where I first saw that the trail to Jerimoth Hill was attainable.

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