Pennsylvania – Mount Davis

Spanky Conquers Another One

Spanks and I departed from Hagerstown, Maryland on the morning of April 19th, 2007 on our way to score the highest point in Pennsylvania. As I sit here trying to write about our latest escapade, I realize that this stuff is starting to all run together in my mind. I keep daily notes using a digital voice recorder so I can jot down facts and thoughts as we are driving. I write down everything I’ve recorded, usually at the end of each day, and within a day or two try to come up with some kind of logical, hopefully interesting accounting of our travels.

Nevertheless, we’ve hit 13 summits (including this one) in a pretty short period of time and they are, to some extent, getting jumbled up in the old noggin. So, I hope this is not getting boring for you to follow. I realize that a lot of it is rather similar, camp out, drive to or near to a summit, hike or walk up, take some pics, and off we go. And…….the weather this past week has thoroughly sucked so we really don’t have any spectacular pics to show for it.

I’ll try to keep the story moving with little tidbits about people we meet, odd ball things we see etc. and, of course, some of my personalized socioeconomic and or political dribble.

Our plan is to move on to Ohio for the weekend and pick up the summits of Ohio and Indiana (not too far from one another). These are flat-land high points, not mountains but do them we must. From there Spanks and I will head south, stop in Atlanta and ease on down the road to sunny Florida. The weather is warming up, there is a promise of clear skies and we hope to snap off some good pics for your viewing pleasure.

Mount Davis, Pennsylvania’s highpoint, lies in south west PA, just a few miles from the Maryland border. It is on the Appalachian Plateau which is a few thousand feet high to begin with. At 3,213 feet, Mount Davis does not rise prominently above the landscape. Heading north out of Maryland towards Mount Davis was just a slight climb through farm country – pretty farm country – would have been a lot nicer if the weather wasn’t still crappy.

The final part of the drive took us on several small farm roads, with small farm houses, silos, barns, you know the rolling hill, quaint little farm scenario. Coming around a bend we were confronted by what I believe was an Amish dude going the other way. He had the horse and buggy thing going on, we slowed down, he waved to us, I waved back and Spanky barked his lungs out. Spank loves to bark at horses!

We entered Mount Davis State Park, went past a picnic area, and saw a sign proclaiming Mount Davis, Highest Point In PA! Could this actually be that easy? Nope. And……by the way, there was snow at the top. Lets see……Clingman’s, Mount Rogers, Spruce Knob, Highpoint, NJ, Backbone, all covered with snow. It’s getting toward the end of April, what happened to global warming? Maybe I’ll give Al Gore a call. I marked the way-point with my GPS and sure enough the roadside sign is not the highpoint. A little investigation by me and Spanks and we found the highpoint trail leading uphill from the picnic area.

I should mention here that there is a lot of detailed info available on the internet regarding directions, what trails to take, etc for each highpoint. Unfortunately we did not have a connection for the last few days so the Maryland and Pennsylvania highpoints required a little searching around. That’ll teach me (yeah right). Don’t wait till the night before to do your research (hmmmmm – sounds like this has been a lifelong problem).

Spanky loved the idea that once again he got to go cavorting about in the snow. Approaching the trail across a snow covered field, Spanks laid down several circular sets of tracks through what was left of the snow drifts. The highpoint trail meandered slightly uphill through the mostly hardwood forest for about a mile or so. Since the actual temps were above freezing, we once again got to trudge (Spanks didn’t trudge – he galloped, pranced, leapt, etc) through snow, slush, mud, and just plain old water.

The weather on top of Davis is apparently pretty harsh. Lots of snowfall, high winds, and frosts even in the summer time. The hardwoods at this time of year showed no signs of buds. With no leaves on the trees, only some evergreens to break things up, and the bleak weather, the place looked pretty stark. Even so, me and Spanks enjoyed our little hike to the peak (well, not really a peak, just the highest pile of rocks in the area).

Pennsylvania has done a great job with the summit, they have used natural stone as a base for the bronze information signs which tell the visitor all about flora and fauna, the mountain, the guy the mountain is named after etc. The summit area is stone/rock that has been beaten down over the millennia by the harsh conditions to form some interesting looking patterns of stone.

April 19th, 2007, number thirteen accomplished! We cruised on down the road to Washington, PA – bout 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. Spanky and I arrived at our next campground at a about four in the afternoon, ample time to set up, check things out, get some groceries and to meet some folks.

The owners of the KOA, Rick and Sharon, met us with open arms. In fact, Rick remembered me from talking on the phone the day before. He even came out to meet the Spankster. We shot the breeze about a few things, how long they had been in the business, how they liked it etc, I got some info on local stores, I told em about what Spanks and me are up to, etc. After the introductory formalities were done, Rick escorted us to our sight. Very nice people, Rick and Sharon, and they run a very well maintained and friendly facility.

A brief investigation of the area revealed that just uphill there was a big open meadow. Man did Spanky love that. As soon as we broke out of the trees he started to run around in the grass only briefly stopping to sniff things out once in a while. We also found a stream in the woods on one side of the campground where Spanks helped himself to fresh stream water on several occasions.

The place was not all too full (you think it might have something to do with the weather we’ve been having?) so we managed to chit chat with almost everyone there. Of course anyone that walked by wanted to pet the Spankster – man he’s got a tough life. The couple in the next site (from Oregon on their way to visit old friends and spend some time around the Delaware Water Gap) took a special liking to Spanky, stopping by several times to pet him, play with him, and tell him how cute he is.

At the end of the day the sun actually broke trough and we watched an honest to goodness sunset over the hill. First time we’d seen the sun in well over a week. Friday turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day. Numerous walks in the woods and through the fields. I caught up on our summit story. Spanky enjoyed basking in the sun drenched grass.

Westward to Ohio!

Road Sign - Not The Actual Summit

Spanks Lets Me Join Him

A Little Bit of History

View of the Summit Area

Brass Summit Sign


Anonymous said...

Hey Spanky-
Hasn't Rein purchased a Highpoints Guidebook yet? Very handy. Did you drive through Accident, Maryland? I love that name.

Rein & Spanky said...

Dear Anon,

Where can I get the Highpoint Guidebook? Probably through the Highpointers site huh?


Krissy said...

You guys rock!!!! (Literally) Missin ya back here on the beach....lovin your stories keep them coming

Anonymous said...

Hey Rein and Spanky, Mt Mckinley looms in the future,good luck Wayne Sharon Zane Zack Noel Brett Miriam

Ken said...

Another great story!!!! I find it amazing that there are other people camping in the crappy weather you describe. I’m sure all of us stuck at home envy your freedom and would love to join you, but get back home in time to sleep in our own beds.

Rein & Spanky said...

Me and the Spankster loved the camping part, despite the weather!

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