Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip Report: Bagging my 24th High Point

CAMPBELL HILL-OHIO OCTOBER 4, 2011 The bagging my 24th highpoint was part of a Midwest driving tour I had been planning on for years. I always wanted to tour the Midwest: visit the state capitols of Ohio and Indiana, see the sites, and bag their highpoints in the process. It took me two days to reach Columbus, Ohio but there was no rush to bag the highpoints just yet. The weather when I got to Columbus was not good and I wanted some sunshine when I did visit Campbell Hill. I got half my wish. Tuesday, October 4, 2011 dawned grey, cloudy, and overcast but not rainy. I was staying at the Red Roof Inn in Hilliard (a suburb west of Columbus). After breakfast and getting washed and dressed (regular clothes no hiking gear) I was on the road a little after 9:00AM. It’s almost an hour drive to Bellefontaine (where Campbell Hill is located). I took 270 North to Route 33 and stayed on 33 all the way to Bellefontaine. The drive was anticlimactic. I passed the time by listening to one of my favorite CDs of all time: World Party’s Goodbye Jumbo (if I was stranded on a desert island and was allowed ten CDs to listen to that would be one of them). While Karl Wallinger wailed in the background I absorbed the Ohio countryside. Ohio is so different from where I live in Southern New Jersey. It doesn’t have the suburbia that the Eastern States have. Where I was driving the country begins where the city ends. There was no in-between. All I saw were cornfields in various states of harvest. No one was really out and about. I was struck by the starkness of the terrain; the absence of elevation; everything sticks out acutely because there is nothing really big (save for silos) to overshadow it. The terrain itself was quite flat with only minor undulations, bumps, and bruises. The fall colors were out already. I discerned yellows and oranges with only a few reds. When the exit for Route 540 came up (signaling where I would turn to go to Campbell Hill) the CD had already finished. In less than a minute I was on 540 and knew I was at the right place. There are hi-point signs all over the area. There is a hi-point church, hi-point offices, and hi-point facilities everywhere. The school loomed large to my right and I turned into the parking lot; my only concern being where to find a parking space. The visitor’s parking lot is at the rear of the school. You make a loop and park your car. It was a weekday and school was in session. I took more time taking pictures of everything that moved around Campbell than it took for me to actually reach the high point. You can see Campbell from the parking lot. You just walk up the loop road to the top and you see the area with the brick walkway, the summit register, and the flag poles. I took more pictures; left my spoor on the summit register; picked up a certificate which states that I stood atop Campbell Hill; and relaxed on the two park benches which face each other atop the hill. The sun still hadn’t come out but I was busy taking more and more pictures: panoramic shots and gag shots. It was nice to bag an easy one after the rough times I had at Maine and Nevada. I wanted to take it easy a little bit and smell the roses. No one was with me atop the summit. The only activity was the groundskeeper mowing the lawn. I walked down and around the base of the hill. When I had gotten all I could get from the experience I used the bathroom at the school and left Campbell Hill around 11:00AM. I didn’t return to Columbus instead I took State Road 68 south to the I-70 and Dayton, Ohio where I spent a glorious afternoon at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. If you’re mad for vintage airplanes then Wright-Patterson is an absolute must visit. Their airplane collection is larger than the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. I spent the entire afternoon taking picture after picture of World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam war, and experimental aircraft. It was a truly wonderful experience and was a brilliant end to a brilliant day. Oh yes, if you’re staying in Columbus, Ohio, eat at Spageddie’s in Hilliard, a suburb of Columbus. The veal is delicious. See you at the High Points!

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