[pct-l] A lighter moment....

Paul Magnanti pmags at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 8 23:02:14 CST 2006

Thought I'd share what I did over Thanksgiving
Weekend. May be good for a few laughs...seems this
list needs it. :-)   


Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island has a rather curious
history [1]. At 812 feet, it is not exactly mountain
that towers over the country side. The summit is a
non-descript pile of rocks in a wooded area within
minutes of the Connetcicut border. The elevation gain
is five feet from the road on a path that is perhaps
100 meters long. But this modest hill is the high
point in Rhode Island. As such, it is a "must-do"
summit for people interested in reaching the high
point in each of the fifty states. [2]

The "curious history"  aspect of this summit is that
Jerimoth Hill was described as the "hardest high
point" [3] to reach of all the fifty states. Mt.
Washington may have 200+ MPH winds, Denali may be
remote and high and Ranier may be a classic in world
mountaineering... but how may summits have gun-toting
New Englanders who will bash you over the head?

High winds, white out condtions and remoteness may
make doing other summits difficult but dodging bullets
is a bit more of a challenge.

For years, the High Pointers allowed posing by the
highway summit sign as an adequate substitute for
reaching the high point. Posing by a sign was deemed a
bit less dangerous than dealing with armed locals.

Jerimoth Hill lost this rather dubious "honor" in 2005
when new land owners allowed access to the true summit
on weekends. No longer would intrepid hikers have to
contend with gun-toting New Englanders. The new owners
have even made an improved path to the "summit".

This past Thanksgiving, I visited my home state. Have
not celebrated Turkey Day in RI since 1998. The
thought of Mom's home cooking after four months of
eating Ramen on the Continental Divide Trail sounded
to good to pass up. And after a month of camping in
the desert of New Mexico, celebrating Thanksgiving in
Utah (as I have done since 2001) did not sound too

Used my visit as a chance to climb the highest point
in Rhode Island.

With me for this arduous climb was my good friend Tim.
Tim and I went to the same Catholic elementary school,
ended up working at the same hospital as orderlies in
our early twenties, and made rather large bar tabs
(with our good friend Leo) in our early twenties as
well. (At least I think we did..the years 20-25 are a
bit hazy for me. Pitchers of beer along with
Jaegermesiter and "kamikaze" shots put those years in
a bit of a fog.)

Tim took me on my first backpacking trip. He also
joined me for the last week of the Appalachian and
Pacific Crest Trails. And Tim was there for that fated
climb up Jerimoth Hill.

I arrived at the Geoffroy household for 8am. We then
suited up for the hike.

Provisions were packed. Equipment checked. Tim said
his last goodbyes to his wife, step-son and one-year
old daughter. A grave moment....

(Actually, I think the extent of the prepartion was me
finishing my coffee and Tim asking if I wanted to
drive. Reckless, I know).

Drove for five minutes and reached the summit sign on
the highway. Walked across the road and found the
trail. Was thankful for the time I spent on the CDT
this past year, otherwise I think would have been lost
on this twisty path. (OK...so there were more signs in
100 meters than I saw on the entire CDT this year!)

We reached the summit...without a support team or
oxygen. Reckless still!

The summit was a pile of rocks. A register was signed.
We posed, took photos. Jerimoth Hill was conquered!

After this difficult trek, Tim and I celebrated. How
else do two Rhode Island boys celebrate climbing a
summit in the morning? By going to a Rhode Island
diner, of course. Home fries, eggs, corn beef hash.
Lots of coffee. A fitting end to a most difficult

Pics of this epic triumph at: http://snipurl.com/14mpd

[1] http://www.quahog.org/attractions/index.php?id=69
[2] http://highpointers.org/
[3] http://snipurl.com/14mp6

The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust 
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched

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