Monday 2 September 2019


We live in a listicle age where some people see the need to tick ALL the boxes in some list of achievements. Think twitchers mitching off from work to hitch-hike to Achill because a rare migrant bird has been identified, sheltering from a storm in the only available bush. The rest of us rest easy with the thought "Seen one gull, seen 'em all - they all look alike", There are 50 stars [count 'em R] on Old Glory representing the 50 states: a number which has not increased since 21st August 1959 when Hawaii was inducted into the club. For 230 days, there were 49 states after Alaska joined the Union on 3rd Jan 1959 [list in order, with dates].  Now N = 50 is a respectable length for a list of Things To Do.  You could, like Dau.II in her Sporcle days, undertake to learn all the state capitals or the names of their US Senators. Going to visit every state in the Union would take a long time even with an optimised route [just shy of 11,000km from Maine to Montana for the 48 continguous states] and a fast car and/or a relay of co-drivers; add extra time for Hawaii and Alaska. XKCD mused on the problem. The 48 has been done in 94 hours, 42 minutes and 35 secs or about a lunch under four days. You could imagine doing that.

But it is a very granular achievement when you consider that there are 3,143 counties in the USA and you could undertake to visit them - if you were independently wealthy and like driving . . . and are at the bonkers end of the obsessive spectrum. Then there are the Hard Chaws who imagine getting to the highest point HP of each of those counties, at least some of which will require leaving the comfort of their automobile and getting their feet wet. There's a bunch of pointers to The County High Pointers Association on MeFi. [COHP] All that data collated from the US Geological Survey in all its obsessive detail.
And there is an equivalent confraternity called High Point Ireland. There are only 32 counties, and Mt Leinster [L Up Rathanna's Cwm, MtL viewed from the SW] is highest point for both Counties Carlow and Wexford, so I've bagged a twofer already. No hurry to knock off the rest.

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