He looked at the storm gathering over his head and back to his ice axe. Nearby, climbers hurried downhill as lightning sparked out of their own axes. He continued upward.

James DDSC_1191 copyespain made a goal 15 years ago of travelling to the highest point in every US state. Since then he has checked off 26 from his list and travelled to over 40 US states.

Despain says the reason he chose this as his goal was as an excuse to travel. After moving east to New York, he and his family took a trip to see a few points. After a few more he was hooked. He said, “I partially chose it as my goal because it’s notable. It’s something I can brag about.”

However, bragging rights aren’t always in order. Despain had never been off the freeway in Delaware. On his journey to the highest point in that state, however, he travelled to the middle of a subdivision. “I had to run across to the other side of the street and then just walked back to the car,” he said. Even though the trip wasn’t the hiking ideal Despain said, “I went somewhere I never would have before.”

Despain’s most memorable hike was on Mount Borah in central Idaho. As he approached the top of the mountain he saw a storm coming. Other hikers headed downhill after seeing lightning come out of their axes. He made it to the top and back safely and checked another point off his list.

Life is all about adventure. After mentioning his trip to Ohio Despain said, “It’s an excuse to go to places like that. We got off the road and saw some countryside that we otherwise wouldn’t have gone to.”