We hit another high point, this one 10,000 feet lower than our last on King’s Peak: White Butte, North Dakota at 3,506 feet.
North Dakota marks our 38th high point. We’ve been pretty impressed with ourselves for having such a “high” number. However, this past weekend, we attended the annual “Highpointer Convention” (yes, it is a thing!!) and found that 38 was on the low end!
The convention took place this year in Red Lodge, Montana. Though we’ve been active highpointers for 10 years or so, we’ve never been to a convention. Since we were in Salt Lake City last week for Outdoor Retailer, we rationalized that we were halfway to Montana, so why not hop over there for the gathering?
In any case, there were 286 fellow highpointers at the convention! And, the majority of them had reached all of the lower 48 state high points!! A handful did ALL 50 state high points!!! We even met one person who had done several rounds of the 50 peaks!!!!
Exclamation points aside, it was awesome to have met so many interesting people and to be able to exchange stories with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. There were several different activities during the weekend, including a watermelon feast and knot tying practice classes (I participated; J sat and critiqued my not-so-great knot-tying skills). We even met the authors of the guidebook we’ve been following since 2006 (Highpoint Adventures by Charlie and Diane Winger), as well as a fellow van-dwelling couple our age.
After leaving Red Lodge, Montana, we swung over to North Dakota. Its high point is in the southwest corner of the state, not really on the way to anywhere, but we were in Montana, and North Dakota was relatively close …
White Butte is on private property, so down a few gravel roads and with nothing around but farmland. The 3.4-mile roundtrip hike was easy enough with no drama, aside from the occasional rattlesnakes. Buttes are common in this part of North Dakota, rising from the grasslands with colorful layers of sediment. This was a pretty butte (LOL!), plus we timed it perfectly to catch a famed North Dakota sunset with howling coyotes in the distance.
With North Dakota marking our 38th high point, we can almost see the goal of reaching all 50 state high points close to completion. Except that I’m pretty certain I will only make it to 45 high points. Here’s what we have left:
Illinois – Charles Mound (1,235 ft)
Wisconsin – Timm’s Hill (1,951 ft)
Minnesota – Eagle Mtn (2,301 ft)
Michigan – Mt. Arvon (1,979 ft)
The plan is to knock out these 4 in one big swoop of a road trip. The difficultly is because Charles Mound is on private property and only open 4-5 weekends/year!!
Colorado – Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft)
New Mexico – Wheeler Peak (13,161 ft)
Nevada – Boundary Peak (13,143 ft)
Oregon – Mt. Hood (11,239 ft)
Wyoming – Gannett Peak (13,804 ft)
Montana – Granite Peak (12,799 ft)
Alaska – Denali (20,310 ft)
All I can say is I will try … however, some of these (Oregon, Wyoming, Montana and definitely Alaska) require some serious technical climbing and glacial travel. So try will probably mean I will be J’s cheerleader from the trailhead
And hopefully saving the best for last … Hawaii – Mauna Kea (13,720 ft)