This isn't a tale of epic adventure, technical acts of mountaineering skill, or feats of endurance that would kill a normal human being. It's more a report of people than place, and the value of SummitPost as a social media tool.
But first the place, "The Pinnacle" is arguably the most impressive mountain in the state of Pennsylvania. You can read the description elsewhere but suffice to say that is has a pretty impressive rock outcrop with sweeping views in a state known for long hardwood topped flat ridges with no views. My personal history here started with a couple of misbegotten winter camping trips in the 1970s. This was my first time back in over 30 years.
There are a group of slightly obsessed folks who enjoy hanging out on Summitpost known as "State Highpointers". Over the past few years several of us in the mid-Atlantic region have chatted on-line but had never met. After a few false starts, Hotoven suggested a date and place for a hike, an open invitation was made, and plans were set.
Sunday, November 17 dawned frosty and looked like it was going to be a fine day. Friends Andy and Jamie were just as into the outdoors as the rest of us but thought the whole highpointing list thing was a little disturbed. They agreed to drive up with me from Wilmington for the day hike. It was an easy 90-minute drive and we arrived at the Hamburg Reservoir trailhead before the appointed meet time of 9 AM. The parking lot was surprisingly populated. After a short period a car with New York plates pulled in. This had to be Jow, resident of Manhattan. Shortly thereafter SM0421 (too hard to say so we will just call him "Alex") arrived from nearby Reading, PA. Finally, Hotoven arrived from Lancaster, PA. Hotoven was the stud of the group, just finishing work on a midnight shift and leaving directly to come for a day hike.
We counted completing 132 state high points between us. Completions ranged from 41 (Alex) to 25 (Jow). While I was definitely the senior member of the group in terms of being graying and aging, Hotoven had a clear edge in terms of climbing resume and had been tackling highpoints since about the time he learned to walk. None of us had been to a "Konvention", but all were curious about possibly attending one in the future.
The route we took was roughly a seven-mile circle. We started up the Appalachian Trail towards the ridge. Tales of separate experiences on the same faraway mountains were shared. Alex had just returned from a solo trip to Boundary Peak, NV. We climbed up a moderate slope at best and before long we were rock-hopping along the ridge.
We quickly came to Pulpit Rock. Although not as well known as the Pinnacle, this had great views too.
Another bit of travel and more rock hopping through the hardwood forest this brought us to an enormous rock cairn at the end of the ridge that marked "The Pinnacle". Shortly beyond the cairn the woods ended and we had a great 270-degree view. It was a bit hazy but we all agreed it was a fine day to be in the woods and out of town. Temps. were in the upper 30s F with light winds.
After a lunch break we followed a different trail, really an old road trace, that sloped gently down the back of the mountain. Eventually we were in a pleasant valley filled with rhododendron, hemlock trees, and a nice stream. Considering the number of cars in the parking lot we never saw what I would consider a crowd. After a while we reached and hiked along the side of the reservoir. Before we knew it we were back at the parking lot. The entire leisurely circuit took less than four hours. It was a great fall day for a walk in the woods. We toasted our gathering with a cold six-pack of Victory Hop Devil Ale. We hoped that Jamie and Andy maybe caught the bug from our discussions of mountains all over the US and would join us on some future adventures. We talked about getting together to tackle some real mountains out west next summer. What a nice day!
I wanted to close with thanks for the value of SummitPost. The four highpointers are from different towns, of different ages and backgrounds, and different careers. We share a love for mountains and a slightly wacky hobby. I've been hiking and climbing for the majority of my life. I didn't even consider highpointing until joining SummitPost about five years ago. It's nice to discover there are other like-minded individuals within a short drive of my house, with whom I can share adventures. Thank you, Summitpost!