For a self-directed episode and a 1000-mile day trip to Driskill Mountain and back to Nashville this one turned out pretty good. If you want a point of comparison check out the Magazine Mountain episode I filmed in May 2016, that one makes me cringe. The weather was hot, but not too onerous, the bugs weren’t a problem, and surprisingly for a holiday weekend (Independence Day,) I had the peak almost all to myself. While I was out there I only saw one other family and they were coming down from the summit. Overall it made for a nice day of filming.
Driskill Mountain itself is located on private property. Park at the Mount Zion church and you will see the trailhead behind a gate. You’ll pass several gates on the way up, just keep left and after a bit over a mile of a hike you will reach the wooded summit of the Louisiana state highpoint. There is a scenic view to the left with a highpointers bench. If you want to add a bit of challenge to the hike you can take also take a more rugged trail to the summit that is blazed with blue and red marks and make a small loop.
From a filming perspective this one is very straightforward, because I was by myself static shots were the order of the day. The writing on this one is solid, and other than some noise and wind issues overall sound is good as well. There was a sequence I shot coming back on the more rugged of the two trails that ended up on the cutting room floor that really didn’t add much to the overall episode.
I’ll readily admit that I had to reach a bit to tie Bonnie and Clyde to the peak, but the ambush site is only about 11 miles away via the twisty turning roads of rural Louisiana. Plus when I came across that in my research it was too good of a hook to pass up. If I hadn’t written about them this peak would have been a bit more of a challenge to write about though I could have mined more material regarding “You Are My Sunshine.”
Two pieces of music were used in this episode both written by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com. The “Cattails” piece was one I had in my mind when I wrote up my original list of highpoints and associated music back when I was planning this series. It had the right feel for Louisiana. For the Bonnie and Clyde sequence the tone of the Cattails piece didn’t work so I went with a darker piece entitled “Anguish” that changes the mood to fit the subject.
If you get out to this area of Louisiana to explore Driskill Mountain consider also checking out the Bonne and Clyde Ambush Museum in nearby Gibsland. Also check out Gentry Hill, the second highest point in the state.
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