• John Poplett

On a road trip from California to Chicago this past summer I became obsessed with elevation, which is what you do if you’re from the midwest. We started driving upward almost immediately upon leaving the Pacific Ocean south of Monterey; and we didn’t seem to come down—all the way down—till around South Dakota, a state that indeed struck me as a bit of a downer. Approaching Illinois, I happened to notice the highest point in this state marked in the atlas. Was it a mountain? A plateau? A hill, even?

No. It was called Charles Mound.