Ascent of High Point on 2012-04-13

Climber: Alan Barber

Date:Friday, April 13, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:High Point
    Location:USA-New Jersey
    Elevation:1803 ft / 549 m

Ascent Trip Report

On Friday the 13th afternoon after completing a business visit in Edison New Jersey I drove my rental car in the late afternoon traffic to the northeast corner of New Jersey. The main approach from the south was on Interstate 287. After exiting I-287 onto New Jersey Route 15 North, I turned onto New Jersey Route 23 at Sparta (did not see anyone carrying swords and shields or any Greek buildings). NJ-23 took me through Ogdensburg, Hamburg, and Sussex (which I had used as an initial destination in the GPS when High Point State park did not come up). From Sussex the route continues to Wantage and then Colesville and you actually stay on NJ-23 all the way to the state park entrance. It took just under 2 hours to reach the park and the odometer recorded about 85 miles. When driving up the mountain and before reaching the park entrance, there was a turn off to the left indicating the entrance to the Appalachian Trail.

The park sign indicated it was open from 8 am to 8 pm and there was a toll booth to take entrance fees, but since it was unmanned I drove on through. A black top road meanders through the park and loops around Lake Marcia before ascending the ridge where the high point is located. The area has lots of small mountains covered with trees (still bare at this time of year) and streams and small lakes. I was surprised when on arriving at the park and entering it there was a sign to the “beach”. There is a small lake (Lake Marcia) in the park with a nice little beach to which the sign refers. Next to it is a recreation center made from native stone. Numerous picnic areas and restrooms were also there.

A tall obelisk stands on the top of the high point ridge which honors New Jersey's wartime heroes. The road circles around Lake Marcia and then loops back counter clockwise around the ridge as it ascends the hill to the summit where the monument stands. There is a parking lot near the base of the tower which is about 1.3 miles from the main gate.

After parking near the entrance to the final stretch of road to the top and the tower (this road was restricted to handicap vehicles), I walked up the rest of the way up. This took only a minute or two at most. The stated elevation gain is about fifty feet and the distance from the lower parking lot (some distance from where I actually parked) to the top is no more than 0.2 mile. I found two USGS markers on the summit ridge. One was to the north of the tower in the rocks along with a rectangular piece of concrete set in the ground. It looked like it previously might have had a plaque on it or something embossed into it, but it was illegible. A “cross” was scratched into the rock nearby. The northern USGS marker seemed weathered but was close to the cross and the concrete rectangle but I did not notice it at first.

I walked around the tower to the south side where the sun was striking it and found the second USGS marker located in the rock immediately south of the tower near a trail. This USGS marker seemed better preserved than the one on the north side. The late afternoon sun illuminated the tower nicely, and while there was a mild breeze, the temperature was pleasant in my down vest. A great view of Lake Marcia was found at this site too.

I turned the car north toward Port Jervis, New York, which was a short, winding, 4.25 mile drive down the mountain. In Port Jarvis, SR-23 meets Interstate 84. After arriving in Port Jervis, I read the map and saw that three states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) meet there. The actual tristate junction is where I-84 crosses the upper Delaware River.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear

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