Thursday, April 7, 2016

So What's All This About?

A profound and intricate question, with as many answers as there are--oh, just this blog? That's much simpler. This summer, I'm going to hike the high point of as many US states as I can and document the results right here.

Highpoint Map
I'mma go see all the red dots!

The ultimate goal, as constrained by my car's current lack of wings or gills, would be to summit each of the contiguous 48 states. As scattered as they are, it's doable within a single May-September climbing season--heck, it's been done in just under 20 days by a couple of siblings from Michigan. But speed has never been my thing, and I can't sleep in shifts with myself while I drive, so I expect I'll take a good while longer than them.

Also I'm not sure I could hack the 4-6 day backcountry hike it takes to get to Wyoming's Gannett Peak, and Granite Peak in Montana tops out in a nasty-looking stretch of exposed rock, and Mt. Rainier has all those access fees, and...

Holy snow bridge, Batman!
Okay, I admit, I'm a wimp. And a cheapskate. But I reckon I can still rack up a good 40 or so high points before the summer's through.

So, most people ask at this point, who are you going with? Surely you don't plan to do all that driving and hiking and camping... (scandalized gasp) alone?

Of course not! What kind of fool do you take me for? Even I'm not that reckless. I've got these two to keep me company:

My hiking buddies! :D

Yes siree, those little green dudes are two genuine purebred Lar- (cough cough) ahem, mutant mountain groundhogs! There's a lot more radiation at high altitudes, you see, so their skin gets all hard and their hair falls out in patches. You've never heard of MMGs? Why, you're the first person I've met who hasn't. Bear in mind that the effects of the mutations are quite random, so any resemblance between them and certain cartoon critters under copyright is entirely coincidental (I assure you).

If there's one thing mutant mountain groundhogs know, it's how to survive in the hills. Their skin is tough enough to take any kind of beatdown: bear attacks, falling rocks, whatever--they laugh it off. Rocks and dirt are their favorite snacks, so there's no way they'll run out of food. And when it's time to bivouac, they can just knock down a mountain to make a nest. So the real question isn't why I'm going mountaineering with only a pair of MMGs for company, it's why more folks don't do the same.

Now that you've got the what and the how of it, I bet you're wondering why I'd go to all this trouble. Why drive thousands of miles and risk life and limb just to stand on a bunch of rocks? And what about all those flat states like Kansas and Louisiana--aren't their high points just glorified hills? Why bother with those?

Let me tell you…

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