Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Campbell Hill - The Highpoint of Ohio

Campbell Hill, Bellefontaine, Ohio
May 29, 2012

“Are you a highpointer?” The question, despite me being on top of Ohio’s highpoint, caught me by surprise. I hemmed and hawed and sputtered, “No, not really. But I’m here because of this being a highpoint.” As he replied that he was a highpointer, I quickly realized there is no hemming and hawing about being a highpointer. Either you are a highpointer or you are not. And it dawned on me that I was indeed a highpointer.

The entrance to the highest (natural) point in Ohio
Campbell Hill near Bellfontaine is the highest point of natural elevation in Ohio. It was my destination for May 29, 2012 with some other tourist stops on the way to and from also on my to-do list. But let me be honest with myself - my only purpose for the day was to reach the highpoint of Ohio.

Unlike the previous state highpoints I visited, Campbell Hill has had a higher purpose than  merely to be a highpoint. During the Cold War, it was a Air Force aircraft and early warning station that was part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Its facilities were converted in the 1970s to a vocational educational center which is now the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

With such public facilities, summiting this highpoint was a breeze, and I did not even have to touch the natural ground. I followed pavement and concrete all the way from my truck to the top. As I came upon the top of the hill, I could tell where the highpoint was located - it is surrounded by a 225 square foot concrete pad with the survey elevation marker set in the center. The soles of my feet were 1,548.81 feet above mean sea level, and I conquered my fifth state highpoint of these United States.

The Top of Ohio
I saw him walking away when I arrived at the parking lot saw him again when I started walking away from the highpoint. “Are you a highpointer?” Upon my answering, he told me he was a highpointer and traveling to visit the state highpoints in the Midwest. He began describing his past, present, and future of highpointing, but I was having a difficult time keeping up with him. He is from New England; he’s visited 17 highpoints mostly in the northeast including Mount Katahdin in Maine and Mount Washington in New Hampshire; he’s on a two-week trip to check-off the highpoints of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan; his next highpoints trip will be further to the south to Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas; and he was wearing a Mount Washington ball cap.

I could hear from his voice and see in his face the excitement and passion he had for high-pointing. I was happy for him and his excitement, but also a little jealous of this passion. His passion soon became contagious, and I joined the conversation. I told him of my trips to the highpoints of Florida, Arkansas, and Indiana and shared my tips on reaching the tops of Mount Magazine and Hoosier Hill. We bid farewell, and I wished him good luck on his highpoint adventures. His pep talk had me already thinking of my next highpoint:  Charles Mound in Illinois.

“Are you a highpointer?” If I see my highpointer acquaintance again, I will  give him the true answer, “Yes, I am a highpointer.” (Well, at least a 5/50ths of a highpointer.)

My certificate for standing on the top of Ohio

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