High Point Weekend
Eric Morse and I planned out a quick trip to the south to bag three state high points that he had yet to reach. I’d done the trip a couple of years back while heading down to Tampa to visit my parents. I’m always up for another highpoint weekend so off we went.
We took an early flight from Manchester to Atlanta and were in the rental car by 10:30 on Friday morning. I planned out a run about 2 hours into our drive and picked the Tuskegee National Forest as a location that might be interesting. The map I got (nothing online, I had to purchase it and get it mailed to me), showed some dirt roads and trails and it was conveniently located right off of the highway. When we arrived and checked out the map board I was surprised to find that there was a fire tower not too far away. Eric plotted out a loop and we ended up bagging a tower during our 6 mile run. What a bonus!
We continued on to Florala Florida (another couple of hundred miles) to bag the highest point in Florida. Britton hill is the high point and at 345’ it ranks among the lowest state high points. It is actually a pretty nice location with a small park and a hiking trail (about .7 loop). We took some pictures then headed off for a short road run to the second highest hill in Florida (330+) which is located on the same road. After that we did three loops on the hiking trail to get our six miles in. That gave us credit for 5 ascents to the summit with a grand total of less than 200’ of climbing! Then it was off to Montgomery AL where we’d spend the night. It turned out to be a long day with both of us getting up at about 3 am and getting to the hotel after 7 pm. We put just over 400 miles on the rental car during that day.
Wow, it was a short night! We were up at 3:45 and on the road by 4 am. It took about 4 hours to get to Woodall Mountain (802’) where we got a nice 50 minute run in which included a descent from the mountain and a very short loop on the summit. In all I’m taking credit for 3 ascents, one in our vehicle and two “unaided”. We wasted little time and were off again.
Four hours later we arrived at Cheaha Mountain (2,405’) and paid our $4 entrance fee. We drove to the top and got some pictures but the view from the tower was obscured by a very thick fog. We hustled out of there and ran down to the Pinhoti trail (1,900’) and did an out/back on the trail. I’ll only take credit for two ascents of the summit for this peak, but the last mile of the run was a solid climb up the road and a great way to end the days running. Another 90 miles had us in Atlanta at our hotel and gave us another 600+ miles on the rental car.
In the 30 hours of driving we’d put in 1,008 miles on the rental and got in 40 miles of running including 10 ascents of the three state high points. We had a final very short night and got up at 3:15 am to put in 6 miles before we caught our 7am flight home. In all it was a very packed weekend. Eric ended the trip with a total of 26 state high points. Next year we’ll be aiming to bag a couple of the remaining western peaks.