Friday, March 15, 2013


Geography is a discipline that can be easily consumed by the layperson. And you can easily construct plenty of lists to devour later. The longest rivers, state capitals, countries, highest peaks. Who doesn't have their own lists of geographical places? The lists can go on and on with the topics and depth only limited by the interests of each person. When I was younger, I spent many hours compiling in my memory lists of all of the countries and all of the states and their capitals and soon more memories of the earth’s geographical orders.  A skill not much in demand in the working world, but those memories concreted my interest in geography which eventually led me to my profession as a town planner.

A souvenir of Arkansas's highpoint
A fun part of travel is to check off or collect places from your own personal lists. When I was a child, I would mentally count and list the states my family traveled across during our moving junkets between Air Force assignments. (17 - California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, slivers of West Virginia and Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, a quick airplane touchdown and transfer in New York, Florida, the boot-heels of Alabama and Mississippi, Louisiana.)

Some of these lists are shared by multitudes of people, and the highest points in each of the United States is one such shared list. So many people dream of climbing to the tops of these points that there is are support groups dedicated to the task. The group of people have been called peakbaggers and highpointers and other names, and their dreams also include those who yearn to climb the Seven Summits of the World, the highest points in the 58 counties of California, or any other list of highpoints you can compose.

I have never had the urge or even an inkling to tackle the list of highest state elevations. I know, regardless of how much time and effort in bagging these peaks, that Mount McKinley / Denali in Alaska would be a 20,320 foot high wall that I would or could never climb. However, I have had some recent and easy opportunities to arrive at the highest elevation of four states. Of course these highpoints are considered some of the easiest ones to reach, and that’s why I had the opportunities to check them off my personal list.

Will I continue to seek the top of highpoints of even more states? Of course, the geographer inside of me says.

Web Links

For more information on the highest points in each state and an organization of folks dedicated to the climbing of highpoints, visit the website of

No comments:

Post a Comment