Four High Points and a Wedding
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
No, not the less popular sequel to 4 weddings and a funeral. Nicole and I were going to her Uncles wedding in VA Beach so we decided to make the drive a little more productive.|
Left Syracuse at 3:30 PM to drive down to VA Beach, decided to get the Delaware highpoint on the way down (Ebright Azimuth). The high point was only 15-20 minutes off of the highway and was an easy drive to get to. From there we continued our drive south down the Delaware peninsula. The directions had us going down US13, let me tell you, that drive SUCKS! there are traffic lights every mile, and you end up hitting most of them. Eventually we got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which was fun to drive on at night with no one else on it. Ended up getting to the hotel at 2:00
Saw the sights around VA Beach and Norfolk. Took another trip onto the Bay Bridge so I could see it in daylight (it's only $5 for a 2nd trip in 24 hrs as opposed to $12 the first time). Then we spent the rest of the day hanging out on the beach. I decided to be a dummy and forego the sunblock which resulted in a nice sunburn on my shoulders. Saturday night we went to the wedding which was fun.
I plugged the trip into my computer to see how long the drive would be... 15 Hours not including getting to the highpoints. We decided to go for it anyways and left the hotel at 7:30 am. We drove across VA through Richmond and eventually got onto 81 north. From there we hopped on some back roads to get to the WV highpoint. These were some of the most fun roads i've ever driven on and it made me wish that I drove something more sporty than a hyundai elantra. The WV highpoint involved driving up some backcountry gravel roads, but after 30-45 minutes from leaving the pavement we made the summit. We took the trail to the observation tower and took some pictures. From there we jumped back in the car and headed to the MD highpoint.
A few hours later we were at the trailhead for the MD highpoint. To get to it you have to park in WV near the start of an old logging road and hike 1 mile with about 700 feet of gain. Unfortunately since the hiking was an afterthough during our trip, Nicole only had flip-flops. I was concerned for the welfare of her feet and ankles, but as usual she whooped my butt going both up and down. At the top was a nice summit sign with a picinic table. After a 10 minute break and signing the register we headed back down to the car to get our third and final high point for the day.
It had been a few hours since we left I81 in VA and to be honest it was the longest i've ever driven without seeing a McDonalds (which was kind of cool). Within a few hours of leaving the MD high point trailhead we were at the PA HP. PA is another driveup with a short walk to the observation tower and marker. The bugs were out so we took our pictures and got out of there. We got in the car, ready to begin our drive home. At this point it was 5 PM and we had another 7 hours to go before we were home.
We headed back to the interstate and began the long slog home. Surprisingly the last 7 hours to get home wasn't that terrible, mostly because it was a different stretch of roadway that I hadn't driven before (unlike the route to the ADKs). At one point on I70 (west of I81) we went through this really cool notch cut into the rock. Driving through you could see all the different layers that make up the insides of the appalachain mountains.
All in all it was an awesome but exhausting trip. Granted we didn't get much done in the way of hiking but it was really exciting to get to see parts of the country that I would have never seen otherwise, which I think is really the cool part about trying to do the state highpoints. One of the neatest parts of the trip was starting at sea-level in Norfolk, and then driving inward until we climbed into the appalachains, from there we drove through the valleys and passes until we began our drive home, when we slowly drove our way back out of the mountains.
The Good and The Bad
Driving through some of the coolest roads I've ever seen.
|1500 miles in 3 days, I did an oil change before this trip, and I'm going to need another one before the Maine trip!|