Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sights ~ Jerimoth Hill ~ Foster

Jerimoth Hill
Geographic high point of Rhode Island
Foster, Rhode Island

Last summer, in a fit of lazy adventurousness, I gathered Bear, D and G, and the four of us made the trek to the top of Jerimoth Hill. At 812 feet above sea level, it's the highest geographic point in Rhode Island.

Finding the access is no easy trick. It's right off the highway, but it's just a path through a wooded area with a small sign, so if you blink you'll miss it.

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The path itself is an easy 15-20 minute walk up a mild slope. Even so, Jerimoth Hill was once regarded as the most inaccessible high point in the United States by the Highpointers Club. This was due to its being situated amid private property, and those property owners being notoriously inhospitable to trespassers. There's lore involving shotguns and death threats to attempted "climbers."

Today the State owns the summit, and the current surrounding property owners have created an easement path.

None of us had ever gone high pointing before, but we were lucky enough to happen upon a gentleman with some experience while we were there. He and his dog accompanied us up the hill, and pointed out some interesting features along the way, including a few survey markers.

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Evidently, these were sunk during the surveying process in 1968, and it's important to locate and identify at least two or three of them during a highpoint adventure.

At the summit of the hill is a clearing that's been used by Brown University since at least 1911 as an observatory location. The hill's distance from Providence's "light pollution" and its relative elevation made this a good location for astronomic observation. You can see the posts and storage sheds for the big telescopes in the photo below.

storage shed

The actual high point is an outcrop of weathered stone, marked by a cairn and a steel box with a journal to record your visit.

The Summit

Going up to the summit was fun, though there's not much to do once you get there, unless you bring your own telescope. Since the access closes at 6pm, that would only be helpful in winter. It's a nice walk, and a fun thing to say you did. Plus you get to leave your name and comments for posterity, and read through the logbook to see who has been there before you. And it only takes about an hour and a half, from walking in to walking out of the front door, if you live in Providence. We'll have to go back in different seasons to get pictures.

2 comments:

  1. That looks like a cool thing to do Erica, I've been by it but have not stopped. I will add that to my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa! It's definitely an easy item to cross off the bucket list.

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