Hiking Rhode Island’s highest point before the end of the summer was not my original plan for Labor Day, but after a rough hike to the highest point in Massachusetts, I made a change in my plans. I wasn’t quite ready for Vermont’s Mt. Mansfield, so instead, I decided to take on Jerimoth Hill.
Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island’s highest point, stands at 812 feet and is a bit different than the high points I have hiked so far. To start, there is no real hike up to the high point, as it’s level with the road you drive on to reach it.
While cars drove by the sign announcing the state’s highest point, I turned around and parked in the small lot across from the trail’s entrance. After crossing the street, there were more signs informing me that I was in the right place.
Years ago, this trail was relatively unattainable for those who wished to hike the highest points in each state, as it was located on private property. The owners were not thrilled about the attraction on their land and would apparently shoot at hikers who were trespassing. Eventually, the state bought the land, and the Highpointers Club marked the way for those wishing to reach the high point.
After reaching the entrance, the high point itself was just a short walk into the woods. There was no incline or scrambling involved, just flat land in a relatively straight, clear path. Knowing that it wasn’t a mountain, I was prepared for this, though I was at least expecting somewhat of a hill. But, that’s not what I found, and after just a few minutes, I reached the location of the high point.
While there wasn’t a summit to speak of, the area is decorated up and is the most adorable high point I’ve been to yet. There are no fancy monuments to climb or restaurants to dine in or even a view at all. Instead, there are Tibetan prayer flags, cairns marking the high point, and a box with a notebook for guests to make it known that they had reached the highest point. Just the fact that someone had gone through all that fuss made it special, especially because it was my fifth high point.
I proudly signed the book, took my typical summiting photo, and before I knew it, I was back in my car and headed home. It was over before I knew it, and a whole lot different than the day before.
I’ll admit I was looking for a bit more of a hike, and was prepared for one, but the time I had in the woods was ideal, and it served to remind me what it is that I love so much about hiking and nature. There was no struggle here, or even a grand triumph, but being back in the woods felt right, it felt like I was supposed to be there.
On, the ride home, all I could think about was planning my next summit. It was the end of summer, but I knew that I had a few long weekends and breaks that would allow me to hike even more high points throughout the year; this was only the beginning.
Now, with my confidence boosted, and a week of exercise under my belt, I’ll be heading off on the road again this weekend to claim that high point that got away from me that last weekend in August. Vermont, here I come!