On the summit

Mount Davis, 3,213ft

Date climbed: Sep 3, 2005 12:06pm

Over the years, driving from home in Kentucky to school in Massachusetts has presented some excellent highpointing opportunities. There are many states along the way, many essentially equidistant driving routes, and our Dad has always been up for driving hours out of the way so we can tag a new hill. We’ve visited the high points in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and (almost) Massachusetts during the journey to/from school. In the summer of 2005, on the

Driving to the summit

drive back to school following a summer on trail crew in the California Sierra Nevada, we decided to swing by Mount Davis to check out the view from the highest point in Pennsylvania.

We left our grandparents’ home in Greensburg that morning and drove sixty miles into the rolling hills and eventually the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. When we were younger we had visited the Laurel Highlands many times, from whitewater rafting the Youghiogheny River, to mountain biking near Ohiopyle, to road-biking the Allegheny Passage bikeway, to skiing at Laurel Mountain. But we had never ventured as far as Mount Davis. After climbing Humphrey’s Peak (AZ), Boundary Peak (NV) and Mount Whitney (CA) earlier that summer we were now in the double-digit territory of our highpointing quest list and hungry for more mountains.

When we finally arrived at Mount Davis and stepped out of the car into the cool mountain air we were

Dad below the lookout tower

delighted to see an observation tower peeking up above the trees. First we tagged the big boulder and USGS marker that indicated the true summit and then headed towards the steps to the tower. Our Dad volunteered to guard the van while we climbed up the tower.

From the top you could see a big chunk of southwestern Pennsylvania. Here on Mount Davis we continued a quasi-tradition that we had started back in Sierra over the summer: the shirts-off summit photo. It’s difficult to articulate why exactly we feel compelled to remove our shirts on top of a mountain. But I suppose it’s just our instinctual way of saying “We conquered this mountain. And look, it was a piece of cake – we didn’t even need our shirts.” It was a tradition we would continue sporadically on subsequent high points including Mount Washington (in January) and Mount McKinley (well, just Eric – Matthew was a bit of a sissy).

We snapped a few triumphant photos and congratulated ourselves for yet another successful KY->MA road trip. Earlier that day we had stopped in Garrett, PA in honor of our friend Garrett, the expert meteorologist. Garrett’s forecasts would prove to be a vital contribution to the success of our future highpointing adventures.

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