After I flew into Las Vegas my BFF Jen picked me up from the airport and we drove to Flagstaff, AZ to spend a few days of sightseeing. On the list of planned activities was hiking Humphreys Peak. We were up before the sun and headed out to the trailhead which was only about a 15 min drive from Flagstaff. The sun was just coming up as we started down the trail at 6am – I was seriously wishing I had some gloves as it was a little chilly, but I knew it would warm up as the day went on.
After getting rained on at Baxter State Park we decided to head to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The weather was only slightly better, but we had a hotel instead of a tent! We decided to drive the loop road and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain first. It was so foggy and misty that there were no views at all. There was a camera man at the summit taking videos for the 100th anniversary of the park – watch HERE – you can’t miss me with my bright pink rain jacket – LOL! I’m taking the photo you see below left.
We decided to come back the next day because the weather was supposed to be slightly better. There was really no point in driving the road when you could only see a bit in front of the car because the fog was so thick. We ended up heading to our hotel to shower and then went to grab something to eat. We were pretty tired so we settled into the hotel and hoped for better weather the next day.
First, let me start this post by saying I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!! I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!!! 🙂
Let me backtrack: I have been using the Summit Chicks’ blog for quite some time as a reference for my own high pointing road trips. I was so surprised and excited when they contacted me shortly after I started my blog and asked if I would want to hike a highpoint with them – ummm YES!!!! 🙂 They found me because I left a comment for another blogger who was starting out highpointing and I suggested she check out their blog. After chatting back and forth we decided Katahdin in Maine would be the peak we would go after – how exciting! The Summit Chicks (Raina and Jill) put together the whole trip – it was in the works for MONTHS because you have to snag a campsite about 4 mths ahead of time for Baxter State Park. They have a ton of crazy rules and the girls did a lot of research to figure out what would be the best option to hike Katahdin.
Kevin and I got up early to pack the final things we would need for our trip and put them in the truck. We gave Willow (my cat) her insulin shot and set out for Stowe, VT to try to hike Mt Mansfield before they closed the toll road at 5- I knew we would be cutting it close and my heart sunk when I punched the address into the GPS and saw the estimated arrival time was 3:30- that was over an hour what my phone GPS said!! “We’re not gonna make it” I said – it takes approx 20 mins to drive up the toll road – plus let’s say 2 hrs to hike and enjoy the views and then 20 mins to drive back down- the website says all cars must start driving down by 4:45 at the latest because the gate closes at 5. This did not give us enough time. Kevin said his GPS the time always goes down as he drives. We figured we would give it a try and see if we made it- I wanted to be there by 2 to be safe but knew that just wasn’t possible. On the long drive I started looking for options for plan B.
They were calling for rain again so we headed out as early as we could. Again we put ourselves within about an hours drive of Charles Mound, the highest point in Illinois so we could snag it first thing in the morning and then continue our drive home. I was expecting there to be a lot of people there as well as this highpoint is on private property and only open a handful of days during the year.
I typed in 688 West Charles Mound Rd, Scales Mound, IL and my GPS took us right to the gate. It was closed with a chain around it, but there were signs directing us to park and continue on foot. My dad parked off the road as far as possible and as we were putting on our hiking shoes a truck pulled up and a man inside warned us to be careful because where we parked there was a big drop off that was hidden in the tall grass. He also stated it looked like it was gonna be a busy day – it was around 8AM or so and there were already a few cars parked besides ours. The man in the truck turned and drove down the lane next to the gate for the highpoint so we are assuming it was Mr Wuebbel who owns the property but he didn’t introduce himself so I am not sure.
From Sioux Falls, SD it was maybe a little over an hour drive to Hawkeye Point – the highest point in Iowa. We set out early because the weather predicted storms and we were hoping to catch a tiny window before the rain. Actually we ended up driving through the rain and got ahead of the storm as we reached the highpoint.
I plugged in 5467 130th St Sibley, IA into the GPS which is the address I found on roadsideamerica.com and it took us right there. It was very easy to get to and since everything is so flat we could see the silo and flags in the distance (as well as the approaching rain) as we drove closer. For some reason my GPS took us off the main road and down some dirt roads the back way to the entrance, but either way works.
I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles,
I can see for miles and miles and miles and…ok you get the point…I just kept hearing this song by The Who as we drove from Rapid City to Amidon, ND on the way to the high point White Butte. The drive was BEAUTIFUL – you really could see for miles in every direction as the landscape was pretty flat – and we also saw a rogue cow running down the road. Poor guy got out of his pasture somehow!
We followed these instructions from Summitpost.org:
From Amidon, ND:
– Go E on US 85 for 2.0 miles to an unmarked gravel road.
– Turn S (R) on the road and continue on for 5.0 miles to another gravel road.
– Turn W (R) and continue 1.2 miles to the VanDaele’s farmhouse.
There is actually a sign pointing towards the highpoint from 85, but I read on another blog that the road wasn’t the best so we opted to go to the next road, which follows the instructions above. It brings you right to the donation box at the start of the trail. After you place your donation (I read online $10 is the standard amount – the box has a padlock, but it’s open a bit on one side so you can slide the donation in) you can drive down the lane to the gate, but the road is really rutted out so it’s not recommended. Believe me, this would be really tricky to drive down even in an SUV, plus it only adds 2 miles round trip to an already pretty short hike, and the views are gorgeous walking down the lane – ENJOY THEM!