I’m bad at floor hockey, gymnastics, softball, flag football and ice skating, but thanks to a corporate wellness program I found out I’m above average at walking. That’s how I started doing crazy things like crossing streams in a skirt, walking 20 miles in one day, and spending holiday weekends visiting high points with my friend, Raina. I’m a working mom with two young kids. When I’m not working, walking or wiping noses I’m usually baking cookies or bread, watching the Red Sox, reading or gardening.
I live for adventure! The quintessential Sagittarius who starts every day by checking my horoscope, I thrive on trying new things and get bored with too much repetition. I’ll try just about anything, whether it’s skydiving, zip lining upside down, Parkour, or aerial silks. In my quest to reach the highest point in each state, I get energized by adding random roadside attractions to the itinerary such as the world’s largest ball of twine and the world’s largest basket.
WHY WE CLIMB
If you stumbled upon this website without knowing us, you might wonder where our obsession with walking came from. (If you know us already, we would guess nothing about this surprises you.)
Pedometers seem to be a fashionable accessory lately, but we’re proud to say we’ve been wearing them for years. It all started in 2009 with a corporate wellness program. We got big, clunky pedometers and were told to track our step counts daily. Raina was pregnant and Jill was a new mother, but we found we weren’t half bad at the whole walking thing. We should have seen our semi-obsession with our step counts coming – give two people who work in market research data sets like that and they’ll keep adding to it. We, in effect, became our own tracking study.
By year 2 of our corporate wellness walking initiative, we were exploring local hiking trails on our lunch breaks – trails we’d always seen signs for, but never followed. By year 3, we began hiking those same trails in skirts, including some rather complicated stream crossings. Year 4 was our first attempt to find DC’s highpoint, though we did not actually find the USGS marker until year 5.
Pedometer technology has improved and our company’s wellness program has evolved over the years. We now use fitbits to record our steps, which is nice because the computer tracks everything for you. The fitbit also tracks sleep efficiency, calories burned, and flights of stairs climbed. Not to mention, it’s tiny and light.
You wouldn’t think that simply walking would lead to fitness, but we are proof that it can. Sure, Raina did extra training for her big hikes, but simply walking on a daily basis is what makes it possible for us to do things like run up escalators and take part in 30 mile super hikes.
As for climbing highpoints, we both started doing this independently long before we even realized what we were doing. Jill had been to NC’s, TN’s, and NH’s highpoints several times on family vacations. She had also gotten close enough to take pictures of several others like Whitney, Mansfield, and Sunflower. Meanwhile, Raina’s fixation on mountains out west all happened to be the highest point in its state. Her first attempt was on Rainier, followed by Elbert, an attempt on Hood, and Whitney.
By the time Raina’s birthday rolled around in 2013, both families embarked on a day long journey for the highpoints in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Two days later, this hobby we’d already adopted crystallized for us and Summit Chicks was born. We are excited to have you follow on our journey with us as we attempt to reach the highest point in each of 49 states (Alaska excluded for now). Climb on!
Highpoints mapped out, directing our adventures.