Will Highpointing Become Less Popular?

Will Highpointing Become Less Popular?

Joined: January 21st, 2004, 3:15 pm

May 21st, 2009, 1:31 pm #1

A hot topic these past few years, Global Warming, has evolved into a Green fad in 2009. Catch words such as Sustainability and Carbon Footprint are popular. As a result, people, companies, and governments are changing (or talking about changing) their habits.

I wonder if state highpointing will suffer.

Two things may make it more difficult to pursue our far-flung highpoints: expense and technology. Increased taxes are being considered for those who over-drive, and smaller vehicles with less range are being promoted.

Yesterday's announcement of changes in CAFE fuel efficiency standards may signal the move to hybrids & electric cars, which may complicate the ability of people to travel long distances and to remote places. Much is being written about a massive increase in fuel taxes (to fund carbon reduction?) which would financially eliminate highpointing for some. Also being considered is a mileage tax that is computed from mandatory on-board GPS units that record your monthly mileage.

There are many ways to get around government standards (which is why we never seem to make progress with energy independence, nor does there ever seem to be a sustained shortage of oil), but the change may come about with "attitude."

The more long-term consideration is the anti attitude towards travel and fuel consumption, which may create a generation of kids that see activities like highpointing to be negative.

Driving is not diminishing. In fact it is increasing. Since 1973, the population increased 47% but miles driven increased 70%.

But still, I wonder.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

May 21st, 2009, 5:36 pm #2

A couple of points to consider:

1. Fuel/electric hybrids (gas, ethanol, diesel, whatever) do not suffer from limited range any more than conventionally-fueled vehicles. Indeed, they may have better one-tank range as efficiencies in the fuel-mode performance increases. Take a look at what, for instance, Aptera Motors is working on. (Don't know if they'll get into production and be successful but consider the concept, although as a 2-seater, their initial model isn't a family car.)

2. As CAFE numbers go up, people may tend to drive more, not less. There is an analogous theorem about lighting and electricity use. As technology provides a more-efficient gizmo, people tend to use it more, keeping overall consumption at least constant. (Makes for some depressing thoughts if you're deeply into the "reduce consumption" mantra.)

I have a hard time believing that we'll be driven back into a 19th-Century mindset of never leaving the community/region where we were born. Travel is too much in our blood and we will continue to depend on long-distance transport of goods and services, so I doubt the population will ever revert to a stay-at-home mentality.

Besides, so many of the highpoints are concentrated in what is, area-wise or distance-wise, 1/3 of the country, people will continue to "bag" the highpoints in the process of seeing other regional sights. (Or vice-versa...plan regional attractions as part of highpointing trips, much as we did over the years while our son was growing up.)
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

May 21st, 2009, 9:07 pm #3

A hot topic these past few years, Global Warming, has evolved into a Green fad in 2009. Catch words such as Sustainability and Carbon Footprint are popular. As a result, people, companies, and governments are changing (or talking about changing) their habits.

I wonder if state highpointing will suffer.

Two things may make it more difficult to pursue our far-flung highpoints: expense and technology. Increased taxes are being considered for those who over-drive, and smaller vehicles with less range are being promoted.

Yesterday's announcement of changes in CAFE fuel efficiency standards may signal the move to hybrids & electric cars, which may complicate the ability of people to travel long distances and to remote places. Much is being written about a massive increase in fuel taxes (to fund carbon reduction?) which would financially eliminate highpointing for some. Also being considered is a mileage tax that is computed from mandatory on-board GPS units that record your monthly mileage.

There are many ways to get around government standards (which is why we never seem to make progress with energy independence, nor does there ever seem to be a sustained shortage of oil), but the change may come about with "attitude."

The more long-term consideration is the anti attitude towards travel and fuel consumption, which may create a generation of kids that see activities like highpointing to be negative.

Driving is not diminishing. In fact it is increasing. Since 1973, the population increased 47% but miles driven increased 70%.

But still, I wonder.
I'm not qualified to be one side of this debate, but i wouldn't mind if someone else who is more well-versed scientifically would. I'll watch. In the meantime, i'm going to try to exercise patience when i read things like "Green fad", and "(never) a sustained shortage of oil".

One thing i can add with certainty is that the reason why driving is up since 1973 is that the average commute is much longer. It's not that people are vacationing via car more now. And the highpoints are the same distance apart as they were in 1973, with possible exceptions for Mts. Curwood and Arvon.

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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

May 22nd, 2009, 12:42 am #4

A hot topic these past few years, Global Warming, has evolved into a Green fad in 2009. Catch words such as Sustainability and Carbon Footprint are popular. As a result, people, companies, and governments are changing (or talking about changing) their habits.

I wonder if state highpointing will suffer.

Two things may make it more difficult to pursue our far-flung highpoints: expense and technology. Increased taxes are being considered for those who over-drive, and smaller vehicles with less range are being promoted.

Yesterday's announcement of changes in CAFE fuel efficiency standards may signal the move to hybrids & electric cars, which may complicate the ability of people to travel long distances and to remote places. Much is being written about a massive increase in fuel taxes (to fund carbon reduction?) which would financially eliminate highpointing for some. Also being considered is a mileage tax that is computed from mandatory on-board GPS units that record your monthly mileage.

There are many ways to get around government standards (which is why we never seem to make progress with energy independence, nor does there ever seem to be a sustained shortage of oil), but the change may come about with "attitude."

The more long-term consideration is the anti attitude towards travel and fuel consumption, which may create a generation of kids that see activities like highpointing to be negative.

Driving is not diminishing. In fact it is increasing. Since 1973, the population increased 47% but miles driven increased 70%.

But still, I wonder.
Interesting post but I think state highpointing has become a fairly entrenched activity in the outdoors world. If the internet is any indicator (and we all know how consistently reliable and accurate the internet is ) then the trend seems to be that highpointing is actually more popular than ever.

As much travel as there is involved in highpointing, I actually look at it as being somewhat restrained compared to some globe-trotting activities that many seem to engage in. 7 summits, trekking in the Himalayas, climbing in the Andes etc etc. Of course, these things are a little out of my tax bracket ... but the point is that the world is a smaller place than it was 100 years ago and as long as adventure is readily accessible (whether in the form of highpointing or something else), folks will pursue it.


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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

May 22nd, 2009, 2:51 am #5

A hot topic these past few years, Global Warming, has evolved into a Green fad in 2009. Catch words such as Sustainability and Carbon Footprint are popular. As a result, people, companies, and governments are changing (or talking about changing) their habits.

I wonder if state highpointing will suffer.

Two things may make it more difficult to pursue our far-flung highpoints: expense and technology. Increased taxes are being considered for those who over-drive, and smaller vehicles with less range are being promoted.

Yesterday's announcement of changes in CAFE fuel efficiency standards may signal the move to hybrids & electric cars, which may complicate the ability of people to travel long distances and to remote places. Much is being written about a massive increase in fuel taxes (to fund carbon reduction?) which would financially eliminate highpointing for some. Also being considered is a mileage tax that is computed from mandatory on-board GPS units that record your monthly mileage.

There are many ways to get around government standards (which is why we never seem to make progress with energy independence, nor does there ever seem to be a sustained shortage of oil), but the change may come about with "attitude."

The more long-term consideration is the anti attitude towards travel and fuel consumption, which may create a generation of kids that see activities like highpointing to be negative.

Driving is not diminishing. In fact it is increasing. Since 1973, the population increased 47% but miles driven increased 70%.

But still, I wonder.
Hey, Mark S., it could be worse. My wife's stated goal in life is to visit every country in the world. "Country," that is, as defined by the Travelers Century Club, which considers geographically-distinct entities like Alaska and Hawaii as separate destinations from CONUS. Their list has 318 entries at the moment. For the record, Marcia has hit 123 so far; I'm at 108 and Nathan has 81 under his belt.

Some of them are waaaaaaaaay down on our list at the moment and others are just interesting to get to...some of the South Pacific islands where you have to hitch a ride on a tramp steamer that goes there a couple of times per year, if you're lucky.

Nathan's and my goal of the 50 state highpoints will involve a whole lot less time and travel than Marcia's, but it's going to be interesting to see how far she/we can get.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

May 22nd, 2009, 12:02 pm #6

I've been to Canada.

Seriously, cool hobby ... although I'm not sure I'd care to join you for a cruise off the coast of Somalia.
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:11 pm

May 24th, 2009, 6:41 am #7

A hot topic these past few years, Global Warming, has evolved into a Green fad in 2009. Catch words such as Sustainability and Carbon Footprint are popular. As a result, people, companies, and governments are changing (or talking about changing) their habits.

I wonder if state highpointing will suffer.

Two things may make it more difficult to pursue our far-flung highpoints: expense and technology. Increased taxes are being considered for those who over-drive, and smaller vehicles with less range are being promoted.

Yesterday's announcement of changes in CAFE fuel efficiency standards may signal the move to hybrids & electric cars, which may complicate the ability of people to travel long distances and to remote places. Much is being written about a massive increase in fuel taxes (to fund carbon reduction?) which would financially eliminate highpointing for some. Also being considered is a mileage tax that is computed from mandatory on-board GPS units that record your monthly mileage.

There are many ways to get around government standards (which is why we never seem to make progress with energy independence, nor does there ever seem to be a sustained shortage of oil), but the change may come about with "attitude."

The more long-term consideration is the anti attitude towards travel and fuel consumption, which may create a generation of kids that see activities like highpointing to be negative.

Driving is not diminishing. In fact it is increasing. Since 1973, the population increased 47% but miles driven increased 70%.

But still, I wonder.
If the numbers of people attempting highpoints decreases in the future, it will NOT be, IMHO, due to high fuel prices or higher CAFE standards. We just bought a new Prius that gets 43+ mpg, which means we can go a LOT longer on the same amount of fuel we got from our old car.

I think that if we do see a decrease in the future, it will be because at least part of the younger generation (can't believe I'm saying this) is far more inclined to experience the world vicariously through video games and such, rather than getting out there in real life, which I would consider being due primarily to the present generation not educating and exposing their children to that real world. However, my own experience with my own daughters and their friends is that they tend to be far more open to travel, outdoor adventures and such than I was ever able to do at their age. I didn't have the time, money, or, in a broader sociological sense, the permission to take the time to experience the world. I never traveled more than 200 miles from home all the time I was in college. My younger daughter has already been on four continents!

Yes. Virginia, there will always be highpointers! And with the advances in transportation, equipment and communications, plus the eternal desire of so many people to see "what's over (or on) the next hill", I feel sure the Highpointers Club will continue to recruit members for a VERY long time. Sure hope so, anyway!
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 11:43 am

May 29th, 2009, 2:13 pm #8

A couple of points to consider:

1. Fuel/electric hybrids (gas, ethanol, diesel, whatever) do not suffer from limited range any more than conventionally-fueled vehicles. Indeed, they may have better one-tank range as efficiencies in the fuel-mode performance increases. Take a look at what, for instance, Aptera Motors is working on. (Don't know if they'll get into production and be successful but consider the concept, although as a 2-seater, their initial model isn't a family car.)

2. As CAFE numbers go up, people may tend to drive more, not less. There is an analogous theorem about lighting and electricity use. As technology provides a more-efficient gizmo, people tend to use it more, keeping overall consumption at least constant. (Makes for some depressing thoughts if you're deeply into the "reduce consumption" mantra.)

I have a hard time believing that we'll be driven back into a 19th-Century mindset of never leaving the community/region where we were born. Travel is too much in our blood and we will continue to depend on long-distance transport of goods and services, so I doubt the population will ever revert to a stay-at-home mentality.

Besides, so many of the highpoints are concentrated in what is, area-wise or distance-wise, 1/3 of the country, people will continue to "bag" the highpoints in the process of seeing other regional sights. (Or vice-versa...plan regional attractions as part of highpointing trips, much as we did over the years while our son was growing up.)
I agree that highpointing can be combined with business trips or seeing and doing other things while vacationing. I have hiked with an airline pilot who bagged most of his highpoints while on layover. How convenient.

I was one of 4 Highpointers from the Badger State that just completed a 6-day, 4,142 mile, 8 state Highpoints trip. We reached the state highpoints of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. We also visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, a 4000-cow dairy farm near Roswell, NM, and spent an evening in Taos, NM watching live music and visiting art galleries.

Highlights:
Visiting Mina Sauk Falls in Missouri.
We found that old cars go to die in the countryside of Arkansas.
Watching the bats leave the cave at Carlsbad Caverns in the evening.
Glissading down Wheeler Peak.
Listening to the band "Monkey Feeders" in Taos, NM.
Eating burgers and fries at the Kenton Mercantile in Oklahoma.
Reading the register entry by a lady on Black Mesa...."I exposed my breasts on Black Mesa. Let them babies breathe!"
Reaching the summit of Mount Sunflower at 10:30 PM in the dark.
Reaching the summit of Nebraska at 4:30 AM the same night (in the dark).
Seeing the changes at Hawkeye Point in Iowa.

Carbon Footprint Statistics:
We used 217 gallons of gasoline at an average price of 2.374/gallon.
Highest price for gas: 2.599 in Gibbon, NE
Lowest price for gas: 2.189 in Taos, NM
Vehicle: Toyota Sequoia

Nights that we didn't sleep in the car: 3
Carlsbad, NM
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Taos, NM

Most highpoints in 24 hours: 4
Black Mesa, OK
Mount Sunflower, KS
Panorama Point, NE
Hawkeye Point, IA

Mount Sunflower, Kansas was my 41st state highpoint. I am over the hill!

Seeing the United States.....PRICELESS
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