Kevin and I had a 3 day weekend so we decided to try to knock out a few state highpoints. I wanted to do the same trip the Summit Chicks did and snag 5 highpoints in 3 days – CT,MA, VT, NH, and RI. Piece of cake right? Honestly it was a bit harder than I thought to try to plan everything and where we could stay. MapQuest is AWESOME and I love that you can put in your route and click a button so it shows you lodging and campsites along your drive. I planned to do the exact same route the summit chicks did, but Kevin said that he didn’t want to drive his giant truck up Mt Washington on a Saturday when there would be tons of traffic and people to deal with. I agreed- there is actually some rules about how big and wide your vehicle can be for Mt Washington – Kevin’s was ok- barely, so if you are planning this trip and have a larger vehicle you may want to look into this! So we ultimately decided to do the loop of highpoints the Summit Chicks did, but in reverse.
Anyway, we left Thursday night and drove to the Baymont Inn and Suites in Branford, CT. We stayed at a Baymont in South Dakota and really liked it – plus they are dog friendly and we had JoJo along! We got there pretty late and I went to check in while Kevin parked and walked Joey around to stretch her legs. The guy at the front desk started arguing with me that I have to pay for the room with the same card it was reserved on and the card I handed him was a different card- I said I only have one credit card so it is the same card. The he started saying it was reserved under my dad’s card. I was really confused- why would my dad reserve a room for me on a trip he wasn’t even going on- but honestly that is something my dad would do. The guy finally looked at my card and realized the numbers WERE the same so it was all ok. Then he kept staring at my t-shirt and said “Just Do It huh?” I was like “yeahhhh….it’s a Nike shirt.” I was like what is going on? Whatever maybe he was just tired- it was pretty late after all. He also said something about JoJo not peeing in the room or something – I was like “yup, she knows not to pee inside.” When Kevin brought her in he kept saying “Is that a dog? She looks lie a coyote!” We said “She’s a german shepherd.” Like I said, it was late….LOL!
We had a good nights sleep, enjoyed the continental breakfast, and headed out early for our first stop Jerimoth Hill- the highest point in Rhode Island! I read online this would be an easy hike- it was more like a short stroll down a path. The hardest part about this “hike” was crossing the road from the parking pull over to get to the trailhead. We followed the trail and before I knew it- we were there. I believe we spent a total of 6 minutes on this trail round trip- yes it was really that short. But JoJo was happy to stretch her legs a bit!
Once we climbed back into the car we headed for Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It was a few hours away, but the drive was very pretty. We actually passed the place we planned to camp on the way so that was nice to know it was so close to Mt Washington and we wouldn’t have to search for it. We arrived at the auto toll road at the base of Mt Washington – it was $28 per car and driver PLUS $8 for each additional passenger for a grand total of $36. A little steep in my opinion. We got a bumper sticker and a CD to listen to on the way up which we listened to for a bit, then the drive got a bit precarious. It was hard to see the road over the hood of Kevin’s truck at some spots that were steep. The higher we got, the prettier the view, but also the steeper the drop off. Most of the road was paved which made it nice and since it was a Friday afternoon there weren’t TOO many other cars.
After a while we made it to the parking lot at the top. Then came a steep walk to the top – there were steps, but JoJo does NOT like when there is gaps in the steps that you can see through so we took the steep ramp off to the side. The view was AMAZING from the top – and I couldn’t believe how much colder it was! We were in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops and there were other people there in parkas and winter hats. I was wishing I had remembered my hat because it was so windy and cold my ears were starting to burn. We wandered around the top for a bit and I looked at the signs for the Appalachian Trail—SOMEDAY!
Kevin decided he had enough so he went back to his truck to warm up. I walked around a little more until I couldn’t stand it either and we headed back down the mountain. There was various pull offs on the road in case your breaks started to overheat as it was so steep, but Kevin’s truck did fine. We could smell the breaks of other cars- it was crazy!
Once at the bottom, we drove over to a little visitors center across the road. They had dog treats in the shape of a Moose! Adorable! There was also a few bike trails that looked really nice – I definitely want to check them out in the future!
We then drove to the Mt Washington KOA and checked in. What a WONDERFUL place!! I would really recommend staying there if you are in the area! You could hear the cars on the road from our campsite like some reviews online said, but it wasn’t that bad. The entire place was VERY clean, the staff was friendly, and JoJo was very welcome there! They even had a little fenced in area for her to run around, which she LOVED. They asked us to keep all our food in our car so the animals wouldn’t get it, which we always do anyway. We even had electric at our site – a little far away from the tent, I guess most people bring extension cords, but we didn’t so just plugged my phone in and left it – it was within sight from the tent so I wasn’t worried about it.
It got very cold that night and I had to put JoJo’s purple sweater on her- Kevin made fun of me for bringing it, but I was glad I brought it! When we woke up there were people sleeping in their cars because it was so chilly! We made breakfast and then I went to check out the newer bathhouse. It was very nice! I stepped in and started getting ready to take a shower. I turned around and saw 5 mosquitos of varying sizes floating veryyyy slllooowwly towards me- it was the creepiest thing. So there I am trying to take a shower while fending off mosquitos at the same time. I kept hoping no one would come in as I was flinging water all over and snapping my towel at them! They were probably starving from being trapped in the bathhouse and I was their breakfast! After my shower I grabbed my things, dressed quickly, and ran back to the campsite. I told Kevin it was the best/ worst shower I have ever taken. (The water from the shower did feel amazing). So I went to the other bathroom, which was attached to the check in, to finish up- no blood thirsty mosquitos. I should have just gone there- it was closer anyway!
After that we got in the car and headed to Mt Mansfield in Vermont! I told Kevin I wasn’t sure about this hike with JoJo along as I read it was a little difficult in spots. I wasn’t even sure if I would like it so we agreed we would turn around, no arguments, if one of us thought it was for the best.
We got to the auto toll road after a few hours of driving. This road required $19 per car and driver plus $6 per each additional passenger – total of $25. The lady who took the toll said “Is that a person or dog in the back?” to which JoJo barked at her like “HEY! I’m a dog!” haha. The lady handed us a CD and bumper sticker and told us there was some great hiking trails at the top for dogs. I read that the road to the top of Mt Mansfield was a scarier drive than Mt Washington so I asked the lady about it- she said it was basically the same as Mt Washington, just most of it was not paved. But Kevin got us up both safely – it was a very pretty drive, but it is a little sketchy when you have to pass another car. There was actually people hiking up the road- that seemed a little dangerous to me, but more power to them!
The parking at the top was nuts- it was a tight squeeze with all the cars coming and going. Kevin managed to back in and we got our stuff together for the hike. We started down the trail which was LOVELY at first, then you could see all the way down to the highpoint which was considered the “chin” as Mt Mansfield looked like a face when you viewed it in profile. It was a ridge walk the whole way and at first I was like “Oh no no no- I am not doing that.” as I had never done anything like that before, but Kevin pointed out how small all the people looked so it wasn’t as narrow as it appeared to the eye. We kept going to check it out – the day was BEAUTIFUL and the view was AMAZING. I was glad Kevin was with to walk with JoJo as I was having trouble on my own climbing up and over rocks – I am clumsy remember?
There were trails that were coming up from the sides of the ridge that looked sooo steep- how the heck would someone climb that?? And why would you want to?? I couldn’t worry about that now, I had to focus on my own hike. It was cool to see all the different people out enjoying the day- old and young, and a few other dogs as well! We got to one spot that was boulders piled on top of each other and you could see down between them 10 feet or so- I do NOT like hiking over such things. The top boulder which had the blaze on it was slanted – how the heck do people walk across stuff like that? Kevin told me to hold JoJo as he went across to show me how to do it. He came back and then tried to get JoJo to go across- she wanted to but her legs just started SHAKING like crazy- she was scared- I think it reminded her of the steps that she doesn’t like that you can see through. We sat down on the rocks for a while watching other people go over the spot Jo and I were stuck at- some went over like it was nothing, some were a lot more hesitant. We tried again and JoJo was still shaking. At that point I said “I think it’s best we turn around. We were so close- maybe 3/4 of the way there, but I didn’t want to get in a situation where we had to carry Jo off the mountain because she hurt herself. There were other dogs on the other side and I think if one of them had been near us to show Jo how to go across she might have done it, but it wasn’t worth the risk to me- this mountain wasn’t going anywhere. We turned around and began the hike back- I decided I would just have to go back by myself next time to get this peak!
We hiked back towards the car a little and then sat down and ate lunch – uncrustables- YUM! Everyone who knows me knows I LOVE PBJ’s- especially while hiking! 🙂 We watched the other hikers go by- it was just too pretty to leave, but we had to keep going because we needed to drive to the next highpoint Mt Greylock, Massachusetts!
We got in the car and drove all the way there- it was getting late as we approached and I was worried we wouldn’t make it in time- it was also becoming very foggy and cloudy. We drove up the long and winding road to the top- the AT crossed the road several times.
I was very excited about this highpoint because the monument looked awesome from pictures, unfortunately it was drizzling and foggy when we reached the top and could barely see the monument when it was right in front of us. We got out of the car and walked around a bit- it appeared they were having a wedding or something in Bascom Lodge so we didn’t really go in to look at it. We walked out to see the “view” which was complete fog and then hiked a bit on the AT.
It was getting late and we needed to get to our next campsite so we jumped in the car and kept driving.
We arrived at Pittsfield State Forest and checked in. Our tent site was in a field, which we thought was a bit strange. It was just a big open field with fire rings all around the edge. It was really raining so we debated if we should sleep in the truck or set up the tent. We ultimately decided that it would be more comfy to sleep laying down in a tent instead of in the truck so we set up quickly. There was a little tree cover so we were able to cook dinner. The ranger said if we walked through the field we would find a path that would lead us to the bath house. We found the path and started hiking- it was actually pretty steep and when the path entered the woods it was just a muddy, sloppy mess. The mud was over our ankles and some points- we had no idea how far away the bathhouse was and we couldn’t see any lights so we decided to turn around as it was WAYY too muddy to continue! Once we were back at the tent we decided to walk up the road to see if we could get to the bathhouse that way- it was definitely the better option. The bathrooms were actually the nicest I have ever seen- it was pretty amazing, but we just kept wondering why they would put them so far away from the campsites–and the mud didn’t help either, I’m sure if it wasn’t raining it would have been a perfectly fine walk to them.
It was still raining when we woke up- we decided not to try to hike Mt Frissell in weather like this as I read it was a bit of a tricky hike as well. Well 3 outa 5 state highpoints isn’t too bad I guess! We packed up began the LONG drive home. The weather cleared up as we were driving which was nice.
It just seemed like this trip was spent mostly in the car. We had a strict itinerary which sounded good on paper, but I think from now on I am not going to try to cram as many highpoints in as I can and enjoy the surrounding areas- there seemed to be a lot to do around Mt Washington that I would have liked to check out.
But there’s plenty of time to go back!
Thanks Kevin for being an awesome navigator and driving down the perilous roads so I can stand on a marker someone stuck into rocks that mark the highest point in every state! 🙂
Also thanks to my Dad and sister Claire for taking care of my diabetic cat Willow and making sure she eats and has her shots of insulin on time! I really appreciate it!! 🙂