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hitting the high points this remote lake was to make it to the summit of Big Baldy–a mountain that stands 9,705 feet high, and is higher than any other ground in Valley County. My goal that morning: to hike the remaining four miles to the top of Big Baldy, thus completing my pursuit of the forty-four county highpoints of Idaho. That final leg of the journey, on October 5, 2004, was the easy part. The hard part came later in the day when I started the six-

Idaho counties. That distinction belongs, dually, to Ken Jones of Washington, and Bob Packard of Arizona. Those two completed the Idaho high-point feat back in 2001. By finishing, I did become just the third person–and the first Idahoan–to do so. Reaching the final highpoint ended a pursuit that started for me on July 31st, 1999, when I reached the top of Borah Peak, highpoint of Custer County. At the time, I

years, several people in the county highpointer’s organization studied maps to figure out the highest points in each county. Andy Martin of Arizona ultimately determined Idaho’s forty-four county highpoints. Martin publishes a book that lists the county highpoints of each United States state. While I started off slowly (getting only a single highpoint in each of the 1999 and 2000 hiking seasons), I eventually learned of the

The frost-covered grass and shimmering lake glistened under a bright moon. The dark, high, rocky ridges surrounding the basin provided a stark, mysterious backdrop...leaving the comforts of home was worth it for this scene alone. teen-mile hike back to the trailhead, and returned to civilization. While it may seem strange, this ritual of county high-pointing is shared with hundreds of hikers nationwide. In fact, upon reaching the Big Baldy summit, I wasn’t even the first to finish the

didn’t even realize county highpointing existed as a hobby. Now I’ve visited over fifty county highpoints in six states, and plan to do a lot more in the future. You may be wondering who determined the highest point of each Idaho county. Well, over the

county highpointer’s organization. This intrigued me a bit, so in the spring of 2001, I started collecting some nearby, “easy-to-do” highpoints. In July 2001, I teamed up with Ken Jones, who was then trying to be the first of the county highpointers to complete Idaho.


Idaho Magazine January 2005