Highpointing: Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina

Sassafras Mountain is an episode that may have to be re-filmed in a few years. The South Carolina highpoint is going through a transition. If work goes as planned this peak will once again look drastically different than it looks now.

The pleasant surprise of this episode was discovering Hagood Mill only a few miles away from Sassafras Mountain. Once spotted, I realized it was too good of a location not to add into the episode. Since the intro hadn’t been filmed yet it was a perfect fit for that. If you are down in area make sure to stop in and check it out. There is a fascinating Native American exhibit of petroglyphs found in the area in addition to the Mill as well. In hindsight I would actually film at least two scenes, one for the petroglyphs, and one regarding the mill and its relationship with the highpoint.

Overall it was a beautiful day on Sassafras Mountain, the weather was very cooperative for December shoot. It has become a whole lot windier since all the trees have been cleared off, but blue skies and 30-40 degree weather were welcome. The following day I would not be as lucky when trying to film its northern highpoint neighbor.

The missed opportunities for this episode were not finding the images for the old roadbed over the peak and the headwaters tripoint. The Foothills trail to Caesar Head was closed and I didn’t know how far of a hike down that trail it was to the headwaters tripoint. It is still something I wish I could have found. An image of that would have helped tie the episode just a bit tighter. I also would have liked to come across the old roadbed, but that was another wild goose chase I wasn’t in the mood to go after.

This could have easily become a two-day production. For me the most fascinating thing about the peak is how far its reach is. Day two would have focused on the drainage, and driving all over the state to capture footage of some of the rivers in this episode.

Technically this was a fairly straightforward shoot. It was not framed as well as it could have been. That falls on my self-directing abilities or lack of. Brian had signed up to direct this episode but ran into difficulties the morning of filming so he was delayed for several hours. That was not going to slow me down so I started shooting the episode myself. The scene on the overlook is most noticeable with the self-directing, with half my face shaded in. I look like I’m auditioning for some weird low-budget wilderness film noir role.

The music in this piece is called “Darxieland” by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com. It adds a subtle humorous touch to the episode. If you have enjoyed this episode please consider contributing to the GoFundMe campaign. All proceeds are used to bring you more episodes of Rooftops of America.


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