Over the past year and a half I have become really big into hiking and as a part of that even began highpointing. Before this trip my highpoints were NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, VA, and KY. All of these highpoints are below 7,000 feet and all in the same geographical region. Wanting to hike a serious mountain along with having never ventured west of the Mississippi River inspired me to make a spur of the moment trip to satisfy my spotaneous craving to do some different highpointing. This trip would include five highpoints ranging from the flat fields of Kansas to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The trip was 6 days by way of Toyota Camry starting in South Carolina with the furthest point of the trip being Leadville, Colorado. In 6 days I would drive 2 days across the country doing highpoints some what nearby being on the way. I would then spend 2 days in Colorado and return back to South Carolina via an alternate route that would include some extra highpoints. My trip would last 6 days, 4,000 miles, and 13 states (In order it was SC, GA, TN, KY, IL, MO, KS, CO, WY, NE, IA, MS, and AL). It was unforgettable.
Day 1 - SC, GA, KY, TN, IL, MO
Day 1 would leave from Anderson, South Carolina at 5 am to Knob Noster, MO where I arrived at 1230 am the next morning(40 miles east of Kansas City). This trip took me through parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri. I made two stops along the way with one being in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. I stopped at a rest area and took pictures of a scenic bridge with the mountains in the background. I thought it stood out and decided I could spare a few extra minutes on my trip to Missouri. I was thrilled as I crossed the Mississippi River since this was a major milestone in my traveling life. My second major stop would be at the Taum Sauk Mountain which is the highpoint of Missouri. The state park had a tower just outside to take some wonderful pictures. Of course I also took a picture of myself with the highpoint marker.
Day 2- MO, KS, CO
Day 2 I left from Knob Noster, Missouri at 4 am and ended my trip in between Buena Vista and Leadville, CO. This drive would take me through the remainder of Missouri, the complete width of Kansas, and into deep Rocky Mountains Colorado where I arrived at 9 pm to set up my tent in the dark. My only higpoint on this section of the trip was in Kansas "Mt. Sunflower" within 3 miles of the Colorado border. The highpoint was awesome, it was in the middle of a flat field but the sky was the most beautiful blue and the summit had the best markers/decorations i've seen on any highpoint yet.
Days 3 CO and 4 CO, WY, NE
Day 3 was dissapointing as I began to climb Mount Elbert via the South Route but was dissapointed when 2 miles into the trip I ran out of water and realized I was unprepared and would have to turn back and start fresh in the morning. Day 4 I woke up at 4 am and drove to the mountains North Route Trailhead where I arrived 530 am. I began hiking at 540 am and found myself on the summit around noon. I made some new friends on the hike (Dustin Shook "Denominator" who was using an old school square pack with an external frame that I think was bought for him at birth and the two IT guys with the very helpful GPS and more importantly the homemade cardboard sign we used in the summit picture. The hike was very challenging and many times I thought I would never make it. Many of the looks to the summit were very deceiving and made the summit appear to be within 30 minutes, however, an hour later you still looked 20 minutes away. All in all it was well worth it and I enjoyed the more challenging North Route which is much more rugged and steaper than the South Route. The night of Day 4 I drove out of Colorado, through Cheyenne Wyoming, and was going into Nebraska.
Day 5 NE, IA, MO
Day 5 began at 12 am just before crossing into Nebraska. Just after midnight I took the exit headed about 17 miles into Nebraska and headed towards the states highpoint "Panorama Point". After 20 miles of dirt roads with no lights and inneffective headlights I found the turn off for the summit. A sign instructed visitors that the land is roamed by bison, coyotes, and other animals. The sign also stated hiking, biking, or walking on the property is prohibited in order to guarantee the safety of the visitors. Driving to the summit marker was awesome. I saw bison crap everywhere and noticed the fences were torn down. The entire time I was waiting for a pissed off tired grumpy bison that I was annoying to rush the car and try to take me out. Once I got to the marker I was feeling a rush leaving the car and walking over to the marker. Just waiting for either a bison or coyote to come snag me, instead I got a decent pic considering we were so far out that the darkness beat out the flash and did not alow a decent pic. Afterwards I drove back to the interstate where I slept at a nearby restop from 3 am to 630 am and took to the road again. I drove the distance of Nebraska, down into Iowa, and into Kansas City, Missouri. I stopped at Knob Noster State Park where I had a tentsite but I only used the shower and continued my trip in interest of being home in time for work on wednesday. On my trip I stopped off in St. Louis around midnight and tried to take some pictures of the arch though they did not turn out too well. I would drive about 60 miles south of St. Louis and sleep in my car at a rest stop from 2 am til 5am.
Day 6 MO, TN, MS, AL, GA, SC
At 5am I took to the road crossing out of Missouri, into West Tennessee and down inot Mississippi. I went to Mt. Woodall the highpoint of Mississippi and took some quick summit pics before crossing through Alabama, Georgia, and back home to South Carolina where I arrived at 8pm. I made a quick stop to Cheaha Mountain the highpoint of Alabama which I had summited months before but lost the digital pics so I wanted to takes some new pics of mountain for my highpoint collection.
I loved the trip, it was a lot of fun and doing this much traveling and camping by myself made be feel independent and self sufficient (a rewarding feeling), I had a great time, have great memories and stories, and some awesome pictures only a few of which I have been able to put on the website but overall I counted between 800 - 850 quality pictures.