Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bagging my 25th Highpoint

HOOSIER HILL-INDIANA OCTOBER 7, 2011 Three days after I bagged the high point of Ohio, I added Hoosier Hill to my list of high points. Hoosier Hill was my 25th High Point. It took me fourteen years to reach the halfway mark of the 50 states but it was worth it. I was staying in Indianapolis so to get there I would have to backtrack eastward via the I-70 freeway to exit 153 in Indiana. Friday, October 7 dawned sunny and hot. The going was a little slow because there was construction where the I-495 beltway meets the I-70 but I slithered through and was soon on open road. The Indiana countryside passed swiftly by as I was jamming to my favorite songs on CD. No special album just a compilation of hits I adored. It took me 80 minutes to get to exit 153. You go up the ramp and make the left turn onto State Route 227, a two-lane blacktop that meanders and undulates for ten miles through rustic Hoosier towns like Middleboro, Whitewater, and Bethel. I had the windows down and had switched off the music. What I beheld was a golden, silent land lined with cornfields and soybeans. Little brick churches emerged to my left or to my right. I saw a stray cemetery. Mostly, though, the land was quiet. There were very few cars on the road. Once I passed through Bethel, I had my eyes peeled out for County-Line Road as the Holmes guidebook advised but when I got there I saw that the name of the road was changed to “1100 S” instead but there was a sign on the road which said “Indiana Hi-Point this way” so I knew I was on the right track. I made the left turn and soon Elliott Road emerged with another sign leading to the high point. It was an anticlimax. There was a copse of woods to the right and suddenly a gravel driveway appeared and I turned right into it and there it was in the clearing in the copse of woods. I was totally alone. No one was stirring around. It was little after 10:00AM and the day was hot and a little humid. I was in no rush. I whipped out my camera and took pictures of everything. I felt an exhilaration; a feeling of appreciation for this quiet nook in the state of Indiana. I beheld Middle America in its rustic splendor. I was seeing an America I had never seen before. In New Jersey one has to go a long way before you enter real country. Suburbia is everywhere. In the Midwest the country begins immediately where the city ends. I had Hoosier Hill all to myself during the forty minutes I stayed there. There is a picnic table, chair, summit register, summit cairn and the commemorative rock that adorns the summit. I saw a flag left by police officers there to commemorate their cause. I performed my usual summit rituals: the trinity of prayers, the picture of me holding the U.S. and Indiana state flags, the usual gag shots. I relaxed and composed my notes for this report. There was a gentle breeze that filtered through the canopy of trees that covered the high point. At one point it blew some of my notes away and I had to scramble to recover them. And when all was done I took one last look around, got in my car, and drove silently back the way I came. I want to thank Candance Lasco and Tom Yost for treating me to breakfast my last day in Indiana. Thank you it was real! God willing and if the world doesn’t come to an end I hope to bag three more highpoints in late May: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee when I vacation in Asheville, North Carolina. See you at the high points!

No comments: