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Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, Taking Along the Family Pet

To the Top of the Mountain

January 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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At the summit of Mount Mansfield, Vermont

Ryan, Terry, Diane and Meghan Berry with our canine traveling companions at the summit of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont.

We are a family of highpointers. We travel around this beautiful country mapping out our vacations and weekend trips to enable us to climb the highest point of as many states as we can reach. Starting our quest in 2005 with the highpoint of New Mexico, where we were camping at the time, we have since completed 31 total highpoints.  Highpointing has become a family passion.

Highpoints vary widely, including everything from drive up locations to all-out mountain climbs. Most are something in between. Wheeler Peak was our first at 13,161 feet above sea level, involving a hike of 14 miles. Predicted hiking time was approximately eight hours; our venture took more than nine hours because we inadvertently took a wrong turn on our way down, which took us more than a mile out of our way, much to the dismay of our two unenthusiastic teenagers who had been required to accompany us. North Dakota was our most recent summit, completed this past July. At 3,506 feet, summiting White Butte involved a round trip hike of only two miles with a predicted hiking time of one to two hours. However, due to the heavy mosquito presence, we completed this hike rather quickly, mostly at a jog, and were back at our car in less than 44 minutes, even after spending time taking photos at the top.

Most often we plan our journeys and intended summits during winter months, debating the pros and cons of summiting this peak or that, and combining highpoints so we can usually pick up three or four on a summer RV trip.  On a recent weeklong Easter trip, we were able to knock off a record eight highpoints in a seven day period.

We use winter months to map out our route, choose campgrounds and RV parks and reserve sites based on our intended speed of travel. Along the way, we try to see as many of the sights as our time will allow, so that we may use this mission to know and see as much of this country as possible.

A highpoint handstand

Ryan performs a highpoint handstand at the top of Sassafras Mountain, the South Carolina highpoint

While our daughter remains less than enthusiastic about most of these adventures, our son,  now 18,  has taken to them quite readily, even to the point of attempting the highpoint tradition of performing a handstand at the summit as often as possible. He has also decided that, on our summer RV trip this year, we should venture to Idaho to summit Borah Peak with its infamous “Chicken-Out Ridge!” I guess we’ll try anything once!

If you’re new to RVing, check out our glossary of terms for helpful camping information.

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