Melbourne , Australia

Coop's Shot Tower

This historic Melbourne bullet factory is fully encased in a massive glass and steel cone
30 Jan 2015
Spanish Fork, Utah

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple

Despite sitting firmly in the global cradle of Mormonism this Hindu temple is host to the world's largest color festival
30 Jan 2015
Stovepipe Wells, California

Harmony Borax Works

This crumbling Death Valley mining complex was known for its use of giant, 20-mule wagon teams
30 Jan 2015
Willemstad, Curaçao

The Abandoned Pietermaai Mansions

The mouldering manses of wealthy colonials still pock the streets of a Curaçao neighborhood
30 Jan 2015
Masuleh, Iran

Masuleh

In this tiny Iranian town playing on the roof isn't just encouraged, it's the only place to go
30 Jan 2015
Hallstatt, China

Hallstatt, China

A Chinese mining company has created the world's first cloned village in this perfect recreation of an Austrian town
30 Jan 2015

Articles

Traveling as Collecting: The Allure of Geographic Bucket Lists

by Melissa Marshall / 29 Jan 2015

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The highest point in Delaware (photograph by Tony Garcia)

He ascended Mount Washington in New Hampshire, on foot not by car (elevation: 6,288 feet). He also climbed Ebright Ezmouth in Delaware, but with far less exertion (elevation: 447 feet). He plans get to Charles Mound in Illinois on one of the rare weekends where the owners of the rolling farmland allow access (elevation: 1,237 feet). For Tony Garcia of New Jersey, reaching these heights means more than just an individual achievement. It's one step closer to a goal that has informed his life for the past several years. Garcia is a high pointer, and he intends to reach the highest points in all 50 of the United States by his 35th birthday. After that, he's going for the highest peak on each continent, with Mt. Fuji or Kilimanjaro looming in his future.

High Pointers (previously covered for Atlas Obscura by high pointer Thomas Harper) are a specific kind of geographical collector, a person with the goal to travel long distances or up great heights, or sometimes to strangely ordinary points, to complete a goal. Some geographical collectors are part of a community, people united in their collective obsession; others fixate on highly personal goals.

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Mount Washington, the highest point in New Hampshire (photograph by Tony Garcia)

For Mark Weyer, another high pointer, collecting is about finding a challenge, bonding with others, and becoming part of a community. Weyer, who only started collecting in 2013, isn't quite at the mountaineering level, but he's learning gradually and relishes the challenge, having already has ascended 17 points. An avid hiker, he climbed to the highest point in his home state of Pennsylvania, and thought "If I can do one, I can do the other 49." 

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