Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill (812 feet)

Date of hike: August 11, 2014
Distance: about 400 yards RT
Time on trail: maybe 30 minutes? This can be done in 5-10 minutes, but it was fun to linger and let my almost 5 year old explore the trail.

 

After the nearly 5 hour drive from Mt. Washington, as we were loitering by the Jerimoth Hill sign shown below, a pickup truck turned around so the driver could shout at us that the highpoint in RI is not Jerimoth Hill, but Johnston’s landfill. He yelled this at least twice, maybe three times, maybe more. It was clearly important to him to either bestow this wisdom upon us or heckle us. Unclear. Once satisfied that we’d heard him, the man turned his truck around again to continue on his original path. That heckling/information sharing takes special dedication to a cause. While Johnston’s landfill could be higher now (I’m not convinced it is), Jerimoth Hill remains the highest natural point, which is our goal, so we continued on our way.

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Rhode Island’s highpoint used to be privately owned by a man who apparently did not appreciate Highpointers. Legend has it that he became so enraged, he would chase Highpointers away with his shotgun. It seems he even fired it on occasion, presumably as warning shots, rather than aim that needs improving. As a result, the Highpointers club began recognizing the sign on Route 101 as an achieved highpoint. This interesting trivia added an element of excitement to the experience even though we knew the threat of certain violence did not await us. We thought about the crazed previous owner defending his land as we walked through it. If you’re interested in more details about this man who evidently slashed tires, attempted to steal hikers’ cameras, and scouted trespassers with hidden security cameras, check it out here.

Luckily, the land is now owned by the state and open every day from 8am until 6pm. We could rest assured that we would have safe passage on the approximately 200 yard walk from the road.

A nice sign flags the trailhead, the shoulder on Route 101 is wide enough to park, and miniature signs posted by the Highpointers club direct you on the path. We found three USGS markers along the way. At the first one, we thought that might be the summit, but we kept following the mini signs until we got to the true party area at the end, complete with prayer flags, a register, and a fun rocky area to pose for pictures.

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I especially loved that my daughter was able to join us. After three days of highpointing without her, my in-laws and daughter met us so we could do this one as a group. For over 40 years, my in-laws have spent their summers in Rhode Island, so the history and state itself mean a lot to them. They remarked that “this is the kind of highpoint I like to climb!” and “It was nice to share it as a family.” Prior to this, the last highpoint my father-in-law pursued (at age 69!) was an attempt on Rainier with me. Jerimoth Hill, understandably, is more in line with his desired level of exertion.

Not only did my daughter achieve her second highpoint, but this was the first time she was able to sign her own name to a register. She and I were both proud of that accomplishment.

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As a side note, because I always feel compelled to comment on this very important issue, this highpoint does not have bathrooms anywhere on the trail. The good news is that there is plenty of civilization nearby to meet those needs.

Jerimoth Hill was the perfect way to wrap up this trip. This is a nice, shaded trail with interesting history that’s achievable in flip flops. And, it’s even more special when visited with both family and friends.

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