I’m pretty much making this up, but I think it’s an interesting idea for all you hikers out there. I’m daring you to take the regional highpoint challenge.
So what is it? It goes something like this:
Our “region” includes Oklahoma and all the adjoining states. Those include Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and New Mexico. The goal: Go to all the state high points and take a picture of yourself there. If you bag all the high points, you’ve successfully completed the challenge.
The good news is that bagging them won’t require any special tools, gear or climbing skills. Each high point is a walk-up. But some will be more challenging than others.
Here’s the high points:
Arkansas: Magazine Mountain, 2,753 feet. Basically a heavily wooded hill in northwest Arkansas. Looks beautiful.
Colorado: Mount Elbert, 14,433 feet. The second-highest peak in the lower 48 states. Good trail to the top, but a long and very tiring day fraught with altitude issues. Hike it the summer, but start early to avoid lightning. During late fall through spring, stay away unless you have winter mountaineering skills and gear.
Kansas: Mount Sunflower, 4,039 feet. The funniest high point of the bunch. It’s just a high point on a flat plain in west Kansas, with a pretty humorous marker showing the spot. Looks like you could drive to it.
Missouri: Taum Sauk Mountain, 1,772 feet. Similar to Magazine Mountain. From photos/reports I’ve seen, it looks like a high, tree-covered hill with nice views. Easy day hike in southeastern Missouri.
New Mexico: Wheeler Peak, 13,161 feet. Three routes to the top, all lengthy. The shortest, from Taos, is the steepest. The other two, from Red River, are more gradual but long — 16 and 20 miles, respectively. Follow the same rules I mentioned about Mount Elbert, but add higher avalanche danger during the months between late fall and late spring. Watch out for altitude sickness.
Oklahoma: Black Mesa, 4,973 feet. A decent day hike, not too lengthy, scenic in a rugged, semi-arid way. Isolated, as it sits in the far northwest corner of the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Texas: Guadalupe Peak, 8,749 feet. A healthy hike with some exposure and mild altitude issues in west Texas. Looks gorgeous, but very remote so take backcountry precautions.
Are you up to the task? I’ll confess to only having bagged two of these. I’d be interested to know if anyone else out there has bagged all of them and hear their thoughts.