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48 states in 48 days?

6:09 p.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Got what might be a hare-brained scheme not long ago that I can't shake. When I perused a map of the lower 48 states, I thought it might be doable. The "it" in this case being a road trip with camping overnight in each of the lower 48 states--one night in each, no more, no less.

Has anyone done this, or tried it? Ideas, thoughts?

11:24 p.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Haven't done it, you do know it's a lot harder to knock off banks these days don't ya! HaHa.

Sounds cool though, wish I had the time!

12:50 a.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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There is a "club" of people who have done that, with a tiny number who have done 50 states camping in 50 days. I have the impression that at least a couple of the 50-state/50-days folks cheated by "camping" in the Honolulu and Anchorage airports.

A variation is a group of the HighPointers who are aiming to complete the 50 high points in as little time as possible. There are several places you can get a half dozen of the High Points in a couple days - I did the cluster of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in 15 hours, for example, and a couple of 3-pointers in a day. Problem is that some require a lot more time, like Denali, which has been done in a 1-day round trip from the Kahiltna air strip by a couple of volunteer rangers who were working on the Hill one season - definitely not advised for a flatlander. Denali usually takes more like 3 weeks (my summit expedition got almost perfect weather - for Denali, that is - and we did it in 18 days). Katahdin in the East and several in the West take at least an overnight. I am not in that race, though, since my topping out of Whitney was in 1956, with my next High Point being Mt Washington in 1972. And we were in Mississippi for about 6 years before hitting that state's High Point (all of 1000 ft altitude, I think). The most interesting ones do require a bit of camping, though mostly no more than 1 night's worth.

1:00 a.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill--I have to agree that the 50/50 folks almost certainly had to have violated the spirit of the thing, if nothing else.

I forgot to mention that my plan--if one could call something as ill-formed, inchoate, and full of holes a plan--was to do it all specifically on the ground. No aircraft involved. Which would of course mean that the driving route and logistics would have to be carefully considered, but I think it's still doable.

BTW, I did the trio of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland high points all in one day quite some time back--kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing with a couple friends way back when. I don't recall any discussion of Pennsylvania until the next day when we realized we probably coulda done it, too. I have hit the high spots of every state east of the Mississippi, with the exception of Katahdin--weather cancelled that one, way back when, again.

More challenging in the west, obviously, and I've never even gotten within shouting distance of Denali.

Well, if I stop taking my meds, and can find the time.....

10:16 a.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry, I think your idea sounds interesting.

You made me pull up some maps to start considering what kind of route you might take, particularly in the West and Midwest.

10:36 a.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Nice plan! My parents took off for a 6 month camping trip a few years ago. If i remember right, they crossed canada from east to west, then went south, est and north again to complete the loop. It looked like an awesome trip!

I wish you all the best...and oh yeah: how about catching a fish in every state too? :P

3:24 p.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Ooh, Franc has thrown down the gauntlet--catching a fish in every state!

We'd have to decide ahead of time what sort of rules apply to that. Does it have to be rod & reel? Or does a minnow in a dip net count?

To make it doubly--or even trebly--difficult, one could try to catch a fish using only one particular fly rod for all of the catches.

And yes, Alicia, I know what you mean about the route considerations. Unfortunately, time would probably preclude some great spots, like the Olympic peninsula, for instance. And the distances traveled on some days would make for a need for lots of iPod playlist variation.

A further consideration would be how much hiking could be done. In some carefully considered spots, such as along WV/VA/MD/PA, or NY/MA/VT, or maybe even the Four Corners region of CO/UT/NM/AZ, it might be possible to camp in three or four states in the same number of days and not even use the vehicle.

I won't have the time to do this little project this summer, but a year from now, with many great blessings, it just might be an option. Then again, it'd undoubtedly be much more enjoyable, really, to spend a month and more roaming British Columbia, or New Mexico, or Banff, or the Adirondacks, or...

6:12 p.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Then again, it'd undoubtedly be much more enjoyable, really, to spend a month and more roaming British Columbia, or New Mexico, or Banff, or the Adirondacks, or...

Or a month fly-fishing the Elk river and hiking the Kootenays ;)

6:55 p.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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...A further consideration would be how much hiking could be done. In some carefully considered spots, such as along WV/VA/MD/PA, or NY/MA/VT, or maybe even the Four Corners region of CO/UT/NM/AZ, it might be possible to camp in three or four states in the same number of days and not even use the vehicle.

While you can't camp in all 4 states simultaneously at Four Corners (there is a monument at the exact spot), I believe you can straddle 3 states with your tent in a couple of the places. In particular, the intersection of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska is in a farmer's field, close to the Nebraska High Point. I hear tell it is possible to get permission to overnight there, but I won't admit to how I know this. Umm, the farmer has a herd of buffalo, which might make a difference in your decision. Also, to camp near Four Corners, you will have to get permission from the Navajo Nation officials (they take kindly to your referring to their Nation by their own name, Dine' Bi)

10:09 p.m. on April 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill--

Since I suspect you know the answer: How does one go about properly contacting Dine' Bi officials about getting permission to camp/hike, etc. on their lands?

I'm big into respecting others' rights of ownership and such, esp. when their proper rights are not always as well respected as they should be.

1:00 a.m. on April 16, 2009 (EDT)
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The parks department of the Navajo Nation (Diné Bikéyah) is located in Window Rock, AZ. Navajo User Permits for Hiking, Camping and Backcountry Use:

Navajo Parks & Recreation Department
P.O. Box 1250 Window Rock, AZ 86515
Phone: 928-871-6647
Fax: 928-871-6637
www.navajonationparks.org

Here is a map of their land (note the Hopi lands in the middle)

 

11:50 a.m. on April 22, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry -

There was an announcement a day or two ago - the monument "at" Four Corners is not at the 4-way intersection of the 4 states. It actually about 2 miles away from the correct location. Another one of these cases of incompetent or drunk surveyors, apparently (like Mason and Dixon, and their right-angle turn after a night of partying, which may be a case of folklore that isn't). Anyway, apparently you can actually camp right on the correct (but unmarked) intersection and sleep in all 4 states at once.

A google image

added comment - the error was about 1800 feet. However all 4 states have apparently accepted the monument as the official corner.

10:40 p.m. on April 22, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill--

I wish I could say I was surprised by that. Unfortunately, it seems pretty much in keeping with too much of what government is, does, and wants to do. Which is why I'm all in favor of trashing the government every once in a while and starting over.

But nice to know that I could actually ignore the marker a tad and actually pitch my tent right on the spot. ('Course, I'd probably get it wrong, too, but wth.)

Thanks for the update.

April 24, 2014
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