At Lodge Farm, follow track left then right then ahead over bridge over River Mole. Dorrell made his flight; he even had time to take an ineffective sponge bath in the airport loo. Though we wouldn't be the first to take on seven relatively lame summits—way back in 1987, a group of Kansans blitzed through Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma—we liked to think we would do it with a style and lack of grace all our own. It was absurdly comfortable. DAWN WAS BUT A RUMOR on the eastern horizon when our climbing team set off from base camp, heading north toward a mountain so elusive it wasn't even named until 1998. Do these so-called mountaineers even bother to explore anymore? These cookies do not store any personal information. We had removed the rear bench to make room for luggage, which meant only one guy at a time could catch quality winks by going horizontal. The color and type of earth literally changed right in front of us.

A simple wooden sign marked the top. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. To inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle.

A California-based documentary filmmaker who helmed the riveting A&E special on the history of cleavage (called, helpfully, Cleavage), Dave figured he could squeeze a film out of our still-close gang—two decades after graduation—as we schlepped around in a van, notching heartland "peaks." She passed out plastic key chains that read HAWKEYE POINT, ELEV.

But that's a modern alpinist for you: an unthinking yes-man, toeing the company line. Thank you. I exclaimed, flinching. There would be ramifications if we returned to our families and jobs looking like hollow-eyed carcasses.

Keep ahead to Dorking Station. Our friendships have never faded; we would march to the grave for one another. Our instincts said it couldn't be possible, though the odometer and our collective stench insisted that it was.

"TRAVELING TO STATE HIGHPOINTS involves healthy outdoor recreation with concomitant learning of state and regional geography and history....It can expand the senses and bring joy to the heart." Since all seven of us hail from the Sunflower State, we badly wanted this 4,039-foot trophy. Continue along drive passing entrance to Thorncroft Manor.

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At next path junction keep ahead into corner of park to road. Showers, clean sheets, sleep, glorious sleep. Hardly. Turn left immediately and follow path alongside River Mole. Which is how we found ourselves roaring past Mount Rushmore with barely a glance—who needs it? While Steve managed to sit in the Chair without tragedy, the sight of him wiggling on the precipice made the rest of us hit the flask repeatedly. We’re a family run shop, providing quality cycling products.

Walking time is approximately 3 hours but do allow much longer to appreciate all there is to see, and to stop for refreshment along the route. "Get in the van now!

Continue ahead crossing over road to kissing. Though a three-hour drive and our highest summit—South Dakota's 7,242-foot Harney Peak—awaited, we were ready, willing, and punctured by neither horn nor branch: the Chosen Ones of the Great Plains! A small corral surrounded the exhibit, echoing Kansas's rich cattle-drive heritage. Namely, the roofs of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. We made good time until the trail angled up Black Mesa itself, which is notorious for rattlesnakes. What would George Mallory think? It's capped with an elegant stone lookout built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939.

It's a big mound with a crude metal-and-stone marker on top, put there to remind you that it's something special. We had to pay a woman $20 to climb it—and she didn't even hand out key chains!

Drew and Casper claimed they "couldn't sleep in cars" and watched Steve drive—with the color drained from their faces and their fingernails dug deep into Econoline vinyl. I think he'd be more impressed with seven slow-footed high school buddies who decided, for no good reason, to stage a reunion in which they claimed truly unknown peaks far off the beaten path. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website.

As a note on the summit register put it, "the crickets scared the crap out of me!" If you're not from Kansas, you don't understand. "Do these people know who we are and what we've done? For the best of Surrey Hills, I prefer Leith Hill and Winterfold areas, but this is much more accessible by public transport and still very nice countryside to pass through - a mix of fields, woodland and river bank. We grabbed three flashlights, two of which worked, and set out across a grassy field studded with scrub pines. In the parking lot of a convenience store in Lamar, Colorado, he looked at his airline ticket and mumbled, "Uh, flight's at 6:20 Monday night." Mole Hill is located on PRIVATE property so you can't just wander on in.

Triumphantly, we descended the summit ridge. This is a pleasant station-to-station route that is easy to navigate and not too hilly. (Note: "We're not in Kansas anymore" is a line from 19-bleeping-39. Make sure to bring a good bug spray with you. Non-Kansan eyes might survey the featureless landscape surrounding it and conclude that the nearest town, Weskan, should have stuck with its original name: Monotony.

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