Highpointing: Black Elk Peak, South Dakota

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Hiking in the Black Hills has been one of my favorite highpointing experiences so far. It is such a cool place. On a side note if you have played the game Firewatch, the hike to Black Elk Peak will remind you of sections of that. One day in the area was not nearly enough. I could have easily spent a month rambling around. This was an area that I really am looking forward to getting back to.

This was the second highpoint in the epic Dakota road trip, and after the beating Dave, Laurie and I took at North Dakota the day prior we were feeling a bit worked before we stepped off to head up to Black Elk Peak. Once we got going though it was an enjoyable adventure through the woods…until I took us down the wrong trail and added on an extra two miles. Thanks to my trusty compass and a quick look at the map we were back on track in relatively short order.

At this point Laurie opted to return to Sylvan Lake and film and take photos of that area. Dave and I continued on through the pines and rock formations and once we broke through the low hanging clouds we were rewarded with one of the coolest views I have ever witnessed. The clouds hung close the ground and stretched as far as you could see, only broken by the pine covered hills or jagged rock structures of the Needles. It was amazing. (Check out the images in the gallery below!)

Those low hanging clouds were a double-edged sword, while they did make for awesome footage and views while ascending the mountain, they made it a bit more challenging when we got back down and turned to the work of filming all the remaining footage. Case in point our National Lampoon’s Vacation moment when we got to Mt. Rushmore. When we arrived the entire mountain was fogged in. Visibility was next to nothing. I found it absolutely hilarious, at least for us, since Rushmore footage wasn’t critical. Other folks were not nearly as amused.

On the way out though Dave needed to use the facilities so Laurie and I sat down and chatted. I was facing away from the monument. When Dave caught up with us I took one last look back and lo and behold, the fog had lifted and there were the presidents. It elicited a genuine “holy cow!” from me.

While we caught a break at Rushmore the clouds slowly kept piling on. In the end we just tried to use them to our advantage. It gave the whole area an otherworldly feel so by the end of the day it became a “stand in the woods and say your lines” kind of deal.

When I think about director’s cuts for episodes this one is near the top of the list. I could have easily added on Wind Cave, a drive down Spearfish Canyon, the Crazy Horse Monument, etc. As stated before, this place is a treasure trove of wonders. With hindsight this episode should have had at least two full days dedicated to it.

Surprisingly there was footage that was cut out. This episode had a section in it for the “Geographical center of the United States” at Belle Fourche, South Dakota. It didn’t quite fit in with the episode and when we arrived there the weather was cold and wet. All of us were pretty worked from the earlier filming at White Butte so while we did get footage it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Overall this episode turned out pretty well. One of the big wins was getting James “Defender Eagle” Starkey to do the voice over for Black Elk. It adds a layer of authenticity to the episode. It was important to me to have a solid narrative of events since the Black Hills are still a contentious area.

Music for this episode is from Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com,) Dan Lebowitz (lebomusic.com,) and Freedom Trail Studio. The Majestic Hills theme used during the ascent was one that I actually had earmarked for this episode way back when I was still planning out the series. The remaining pieces were all chose to help carry the weight of some pretty heavy subjects.

The Black Hills are an amazing place and the hike up Black Elk Peak is really cool. If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Click the bell icon while you are there for all the latest updates.  Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!

Highpointing: White Butte, North Dakota

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White Butte, North Dakota is one of the few places where it feels like you could really disappear off the face of the earth. This rural, sparsely populated landscape can be harsh, unforgiving, wild and wonderful, oftentimes all on the same day! When I first started checking the weather about ten days prior the weather was forecasted to be sunny but cool. As the days got closer the weather started to go downhill. By the morning of our visit it had become overcast and windy, with rain threatening to dump on us at any moment.

Joining me on this adventure were Dave Dechant and Laurie Gibson. Dave had helped film Timms Hill way back in the beginning of this series and Laurie was an friend and colleague of mine from my contractor days. The fact that I managed to convince both of them to go with me to the Dakotas is still a mystery. At the start of the day we were able to get fairly decent footage at Painted Canyon but by the time we got half way finished at Theodore Roosevelt National Park the weather was working against us. You can hear the rain in a few scenes as we worked our way through the park.

Conditions had deteriorated even further by the time we arrived at the White Butte trailhead. At this point we were getting cold, wet, and miserable which led to rushing and just trying to get anything that was half usable. The hike across the field was wet and the wind seemed to cut through our layers of clothes. There was a bit of respite when we reached the base of the butte with it providing shelter from the wind.

It is at this point we had reached what would be the hardest part of the hike. Slopping through the mud at bottom of the butte was a quite an experience. When that dirt gets wet it becomes incredibly slick. Unfortunately the first 25 yards of the trail heading up the butte proper was exposed dirt and impossible to get traction on. With no purchase to be found on the trail Laurie opted to remain at the bottom and take photos and footage of the surrounding area. Dave and I managed to find away up the side passed the mud and then rejoined the trail and continued onward.

The remaining part of the hike was uneventful, the trail was easy to follow and nary a rattlesnake to be seen.(Come to think about it I don’t remember seeing any wildlife including birds on this hike. They all had much more sense than us to hunker down.) The weather seemed to back off a bit as we ascended until we neared the summit. Then everything changed again. Once at the top it was windy, perhaps the windiest highpoint we have yet filmed at. The summit shot you see involved a bit of camera “trickery.” Instead of the normal set up, Dave had to duck behind a small lean, set the tripod up low, and angle the camera up. The end result was a bit darker than we would have liked, and doesn’t show the surrounding area of the summit but at least we got a working shot. Expect to see the other version in the Season 5 recap.

Despite the adverse conditions I really enjoyed this highpoint. The badlands of North Dakota are austere but strikingly beautiful. The highpoint provided more than enough challenges making for some excellent memories. This was an episode that when I first started sketching it out I had concerns about having enough material though once I hooked in Theodore Roosevelt that became a non-issue.

Equipment-wise I really should have had a lav mic for this episode. That would have solved some of the sound issues we had due to the elements. We did the best we could with the shotgun mic, but even with a dead cat the wind was blowing it out.  The ever-reliable Nikon D7200 continued to be ever-reliable handling the elements with aplomb. At some point I will figure out how to shoot in the rain but until then you will just have to bear with me.

Music for this episode came from the YouTube Audio Library by Chris Haugen. There were two objectives that needed to be met. One was to find music that supported the Old West vibe of the story and the other was for something I kept thinking of while on the hike, particularly when heading up the butte itself, on how much it reminded me of Scotland. The three pieces chosen support those two elements nicely.

If you are ever in that part of North Dakota do yourselves a favor and check out both the state highpoint at White Butte and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The North Dakota badlands are one of the hidden treasures of this country and are worth your time.  If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Click the bell icon while you are there for all the latest updates.  Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!

 

Highpointing: Mount Elbert, Colorado

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Mount Elbert was not the first choice. Originally we were going to film Wheeler Peak in New Mexico, but in the weeks prior to our departure for that highpoint, Carson National Forest was closed due to fire. Ten days before flying out I made the decision to change venues and go for Mt. Elbert instead.

Despite this change it was not very difficult to pull together a script for this mountain. This part of Colorado was home to several mining rushes and it has the scars to prove it. It also has a rugged, Wild West vibe that we managed to capture on film. It is a beautiful area with Mount Elbert and its fellow peaks dominating the skyline; I could have easily spent a few more days there just filming b-roll.

I planned to hike up the south trail, overall it seemed like it would be the way to maximize our chances for a successful summit, provided and provided good scenic views. To gain these benefits we would need to get up a rugged forest service road to the upper south trailhead. Fortunately Jess had her Jeep. We all piled in like sardines and endured a dark, bumpy ride to the trailhead. Elbert did have a surprise for us though, the old trail was closed and we had to take the new improved trail. The good news was the trail was in excellent condition, the bad news was it added another couple of miles to our hike. The other advantage of the south trail was it was less trafficked making filming a lot easier.

We stepped off at 3:45 AM and trudged upwards. The group for this was a few veterans of previous Rooftops episodes, Brett, Eric, and Jess, and a newcomer, my cousin Susan. One of the big physical challenges for me was trying to do this with little acclimatization. I had only arrived in Colorado the day before. Jess paced me and required regular stops to monitor heart rate and breathing. It took a bit longer but the entire party had reached the top around 10:00 AM in good cheer with no effects of altitude sickness.

It was a party at the summit. You can see a bit of this in some of the sections on the final part of the ascent and hear it in the background with the closing summit shot. There had to be close to over a hundred people up there when we arrived with more arriving all the time.When you looked over at the north trail from the south it looked like a line of ants marching to the top.

In production for this episode the filming duties for this were twofold. Jess brought her photographer’s eye and filmed the scenes at Mt. Massive and Turquoise Lake. Brett Evenstad filmed the remaining parts. (Jess also was the “stunt driver” with the driving section on the forest road.) The weather cooperated with us pretty much the whole time with just a few drops of rain on the third day.

Music for this episode came from several sources with each chosen to give that western feel. Kevin MacLeod, (incompetech.com), Nat Keefe & The Bow Ties, and Brian Boyko all created tracks  that support the various scenes.

I will confess that when editing this episode I padded a bit of footage on the climb itself. If it seems like it drags on a bit during that section keep in mind that was intentional. The climb itself is a grind that feels like it just keeps going on and on. Surprisingly this feeling is even worse on the North Trail with its many false summits.

Mount Elbert was a big boost of confidence both in producing Rooftops of America and getting in the mindset to start tackling bigger peaks. I was able to apply the lessons learned from Humphreys Peak and Guadalupe Peak and turn out a better and bigger episode that manages to capture a bit of the grandeur and history of a cool part of Colorado.

If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Click the bell icon while you are there for all the latest updates.  Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!

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Two Summits: An essay

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Below is the Two Summits essay as it was written. Enjoy!

On a warm, sunny July morning I trudged up to the top of my first “14-er.” Mount Elbert rises above Leadville to touch the sky at 14,440 feet. It calls to you to climb it, standing tall and bold against the skyline, filling your spirit with the urge to take your shot and test your limits. It is magnificent.

Around that same time, but two weeks prior, I strolled into a grove next to a cornfield to stand on top of Indiana. My breathing was significantly less labored in the thick air of 1,257 feet. Hoosier Hill hides in the woods, innocuous, easily passed by the unaware. It too is magnificent.

On a spectrum these two state highpoints would be at the extreme ends from each other, frankly, they could not be more different if they tried. A photo of Mt. Elbert could be stuck in the dictionary under the definition of mountain and it would never be questioned. It lies in the San Isabel National forest bracketed on three sides by other peaks. It is the third highest state highpoint in the United States.

On the day I summited there was a never-ending line of people heading up and down on the trails to the summit, with a raucous party ready to greet you when you arrived at the top, easily over fifty people milling about area, all in a festive mood, snapping photographs, celebrating their accomplishment of reaching the rooftop of Colorado. The views from the top revealed the glory of the Rocky Mountains.

On the other end is Hoosier Hill. It stretches the definition of what a hill is, being a very gradual incline on a rolling plain. The summit can be found in a verdant, mosquito-infested grove, adjacent to a cornfield. It is in the heart of rural America. There are really no scenic views to be had here; the summit area is enclosed in a comforting green bubble of trees and undergrowth. It is sixth lowest highpoint in the country.

It is serene, the quiet broken by the occasional birdsong or the sounds of nearby farmers working their fields. On the day I visited I was a bit taken aback when somebody actually pulled in before me. They stayed for a few minutes and we had an enjoyable conversation, but once they departed I was alone for the remainder of my time.

While these two highpoints are drastically different they do share some similarities. They are both found in areas rich in history and as state highpoints they count the same for those seeking to reach all 50. Both require you to get off the beaten path, whether in the national forest or country back roads, and they both offer their own rewards; you just have to be open to receiving them. One provided me a chance to challenge myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. The other afforded a rare opportunity to pause, to enjoy the stillness and solitude, and reflect on the journey.

I would not trade either experience, both had the same sense of adventure, the thrill of exploring something new, going to someplace that not everyone does. This is the true joy of highpointing, a chance to explore the full gamut of your country, to get a chance to revel in nature’s diversity because it is not just the highpoints themselves but also the journey to reach them.

There is an argument to be made that highpointing makes you a better person by providing you opportunities to uncover new and exciting areas, to take you places that you may never have gone to just to reach the top of a hill or mountain. It breaks you out of your comfort zone, and allows you the chance to realize the smallest adventures are just as rewarding as the big ones.

As people, we need the Mount Elberts and Hoosier Hills in our lives. The Mount Elberts of the world let us test our limits, challenge us to strive for something bigger, to discover new things about ourselves through a bit of adversity and struggle. When we finally get to the top we are rewarded with a stunning view and a chance to see the big picture.

But the Hoosier Hills of the world are just as important; the starting points or rest areas that allow us to take a pause from the hustle and bustle of life. Without the little adventures we may not fully appreciate the big ones. They provide a lens to put the journey into focus and perspective. The contrasts of one can help you appreciate the other.

So get out there and have an adventure whether big or small. Both will reward you if you are willing to go and experience something new. You will thank yourself for it. I hope to see you out there.

If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Click the bell icon while you are there for all the latest updates.  Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!

Photo Gallery

Below, in alphabetical order, are a collection of slide shows with images from the highpoints that have been visited so far. You can find the individual photos on various episode posts. Just follow the link on the name. Enjoy!

Black Elk Peak, South Dakota

Black Mesa, Oklahoma

Black Mountain, Kentucky

Campbell Hill, Ohio

Charles Mound, Illinois

Cheaha Mountain, Alabama

Driskill Mountain, Louisiana

Eagle Mountain, Minnesota

Ebright Azimuth, Delaware

Guadalupe Peak, Texas

Hawkeye Point, Iowa

Hoosier Hill, Indiana

Hoye-Crest, Maryland

Humphreys Peak, Arizona

Magazine Mountain, Arkansas

Mount Arvon, Michigan

Mount Davis, Pennsylvania

Mount Mitchell, North Carolina

Mount Sunflower, Kansas

Panorama Point, Nebraska

Point Reno, District of Columbia

Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina

Taum Sauk Mountain, Missouri

Timms Hill, Wisconsin

Woodall Mountain, Mississippi

Highpointing: Hoosier Hill, Indiana

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The highest point in Indiana, Hoosier Hill, can be a bit anti-climatic if you aren’t in the right mindset. It’s in a rural part of the state, there doesn’t appear to be much else around, it’s tucked away in a dense grove with no real views, and you can park and be on the “summit” in less than a minute. So how do you get over eleven minutes for the Indiana episode? You temper your expectations and realize Hoosier Hill and its area are more interesting than it first appears.

Writing this episode was something that kept being put off and I had convinced myself this would be one of the more difficult episodes to write for the series. Part of this assumption stems from my initial impressions of the highpoint itself. As stated in the episode, this was my first “official” highpoint, having stopped here in August 2013. Not much had changed when I returned almost five years later. My impression of it then is still the same as today; Hoosier Hill really pushes the definition of the word hill.

With that thought firmly lodged in my mind it created a bit of writer’s block. The writing for this episode began back in the first months of 2017, but there was a struggle with what to say. The “eureka” moment happened when I started looking at the benefits of the terrain itself and discovered the transportation hook. As it turns out there is some cool history in the area, enough that I couldn’t include it all. Perhaps they’ll make it in if I ever get around to doing a director’s cut.

I shot this episode by myself and am pleased how it turned out. Having been to the location before I had a good idea on what to expect. It was a long day-trip from Nashville, but the weather cooperated and I was able to film in four different locations. Since it was self-filmed to add a bit of production-value there is footage with the camera mount both inside and outside the car. There are also two voice overs, one by Brian Smith and the other by Zach Campbell.

Music for the episode is from two sources. The “Earth Prelude” piece is by Kevin MacLeod, incompetech.com. It anchors the background material. For the Hoosier Hill section I used a piece entitled “Gimme Back My Ya Ya” by Dan Lebowitz. It adds a bit of humor to it since Indiana is one of those highpoints that is best visited with a sense of fun.

I’m happy how this episode turned out. Indiana started as a challenge and ended up a solid episode. In some ways Hoosier Hill is opposite of Hawkeye Point in Iowa. Two rural, agrarian highpoints with different community views on them. Hawkeye Point is beloved, whereas at Hoosier Hill the community is ambivalent at best.  Hopefully that attitude will change over time and Hoosier Hill will be embraced by its neighbors. If you find yourself in eastern Indiana on Interstate 70 take a half hour to head up to Hoosier Hill. It’s a nice, quiet stop that also highlights a bit of the absurd, fun nature of highpointing. Also pro-tip, bring bug repellent, the mosquitoes can be relentless.

If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Make sure to click the bell icon while you are there as well for all the latest updates.  Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!

Highpointing: Black Mountain, Kentucky

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Of all the highpoints I have visited so far, Black Mountain, Kentucky is the one with the biggest missed potential and lost opportunity. There is an interesting history behind the mountain and for the region. It could be a showcase in a very cool, and beautiful part of the country.

Instead when you reach the summit of Black Mountain you are greeted with antennas and low profile concrete block buildings. Frankly, it is ugly and that is unfortunate because it is in a beautiful part of the state. Harlan County has been trying to re-cast itself as an adventure destination; Black Mountain could be one of its crown jewels. The community needs to rally around it to make it something special.

Even the old observatory tower sits there silently mocking you on what used to be. The one scenic view you do get from the Virginia side looks out over a strip mine. Hopefully someday there will be an effort to improve the site and make it more welcoming to all people.

This was a pretty straightforward episode to film. Brian Smith returned to the director’s chair for this one. Outside of the summit the majority of the episode was shot in the towns of Benham and Lynch. There were enough coal-related artifacts and locations to support the story. The biggest technical faux pas of this episode is the driving footage. The camera is slightly out of focus for a majority of it. Since the footage is sped up significantly in the final product it is not quite as noticeable. You will also notice is the interference in the audio from the all the electronics on the summit and at the radar site. It is that insect-like buzzing sound you hear periodically.

Both pieces of episode music are by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com. The upbeat piece is entitled “Guts and Bourbon” and I’ve been holding that one in reserve for Kentucky almost since day 1 of the series. The bouncy/ twangy nature of that piece doesn’t work as well when discussing Bloody Harlan though, so that part is supported by a piece called “Dark Times.”

If you enjoyed the episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel.

Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes. Thanks for watching!

Highpointing: Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina

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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.

 

Highpointing: Mount Davis, Pennsylvania

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The big secret behind the Mount Davis episode is it was not the one originally scheduled for filming. The original plan was to visit New Jersey, but after taking a realistic look at the time involved to go from DC to High Point State Park and make it back in time for my flight home it made more sense to change it. So I dashed off a script over the course of a few nights in the hotel. Fortunately I had visited Mount Davis before so I had a general idea what to expect. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate as hoped.

This episode had several things that didn’t quite work out. One was finding a good long distance shot of the mountain; the second was the overcast skies and next to zero visibility on the observation tower meaning no panorama shot. That said, improvisation became key, and we cobbled together a scene at the Baughman Rocks and I tried to make something out of nothing at the top of the tower. There was another story about the “Wild Child” that could also have been worked in, but I felt we had enough footage and the wet, cold, and windiness was eating away at our patience and we had still to get to the other location.

That’s right, this was a multi-location shoot, but you can’t tell because all that footage ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Just a few miles from Mt. Davis is Casselman Bridge, an amazing National Landmark. I had been there previously and it was too cool to not to film. That said while editing the footage occurred to me it didn’t actually fit with the tone of the episode.  In the end it will most likely get reshot and worked into the Hoye-Crest episode at a later date. UPDATE: It didn’t, instead it ended up in the cut scenes in the Season 2 recap.

Music in this episode is three different pieces, an eerie one for the Baughman Rocks section, a dramatic piece for the battle section, and a nice folk western type piece for the rest of it. They are all by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com.

Remember, if you enjoy these episodes check out the Rooftops of America GoFundMe campaign and consider contributing. Thanks for watching!

Note in the Mount Davis photo gallery, I have included photos from a previous visit as well.

 

Highpointing: Ebright Azimuth, Delaware

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Welcome to our noisiest episode. Ebright Azimuth, as you have probably noticed, is right next to a fairly busy road. Of course we exacerbated this situation by shooting right around rush hour. I had convinced Alex and Brian to meet up with me at Washington National Airport right as my flight arrived. We would then go film at Ebright Azimuth that afternoon. By the time we arrived traffic was pretty constant. The shotgun mike helped focus the audio, but overall the sound for this episode is all over the place and my amateur editing skills really start showing.

While on the topic of editing, this episode took longer than any previous one to put together. I didn’t finish editing it until the middle of April; it was filmed in September 2016. It got put on the backburner while I produced several local commercials in Nashville and completed a few photography assignments. When I did get back to it I realized there would have to be some digging to fill some of the gaps missing from the shooting day. I was particularly proud of finding the front and back of that Trivial Pursuit card. (On a side note that question is badly written. Delaware does have the lowest mean elevation of any state in the US at 60 feet.)

Other things to note are my poor choice of costume. I’m not actually wearing my typical get up for this particular episode. I’m in the same clothes I wore flying to Washington D.C. earlier. Green is never a good color to wear on camera but that didn’t dawn on me until after I was looking at the footage a few weeks later. You can also see in the scene on the sidewalk the lens cap in my pocket.

Technically we tried to do something different with a two-camera set up. It didn’t come out quite as well as I had imagined and overall it was not worth the effort the team put in to make it work. Light was also a challenge since the setting sun played a bit of havoc as we tried to find various angles to make things at least aesthetically appealing.

This episode also has the first voice over in the series by someone other than me. In this instance it was my friend Zach Campbell who voiced the role of William Schenck.

The music is Comfortable Mystery by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com. Originally I had a different piece in mind, George Street Shuffle I felt would fit the urban environment. Once I started researching the highpoint it occurred to me it would be more interesting to make the hook the “mystery” behind the highpoint’s true location. So the jazz number was out and the more contemporary mystery theme took its place.

In an interesting twist this is one of the longest episodes of Rooftops to date. I am still rather amazed this episode turned out to be almost six minutes long. Originally it could have been longer as I had drafted out questions for Doreen Kupchick, the Queen of Ebright Azimuth. I hoped if we were lucky we could get a live interview with her. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to meet her. Hopefully when you visit you will!

As always if you have enjoyed this episode please consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe page. We start shooting our third season next month and any support is greatly appreciated.

(Good gravy, this is one of the longest commentaries written for an episode as well. Apparently I have a lot to say about Delaware.)