Highpointing: Cheaha Mountain, Alabama

Cheaha Mountain was almost a bust. You can tell by the fog in the footage. When I arrived it was still fogged in. This was even after I had decided to go to Horseshoe Bend National Military Park first. Having drove four hours from Nashville I kept in good humor and embraced the absurdity of it (the top of the tower scene is ad-libbed) because sometimes when you go highpointing you get clouded in. (This would prove to be prescient the following month in the Dakotas)

Fortunately by the time I was heading out on the Doug Ghee boardwalk for a scenic view, things had started to clear out and I was able to get some decent footage of the Talladegas. I almost went back and filmed everything at Bunker Tower again but time was short so I took a chance with the footage I already had. Cheaha Mountain could have been a longer shoot. If I had more time than a day I definitely would have hiked and filmed the waterfalls. I also would have considered doing something with the Talladega Scenic Drive.

I shot this episode on my own; at that point it was the longest episode I filmed by myself. The fact that it turned out pretty decent was a big confidence booster and provided the impetus to go film Indiana by myself a few months later, which would turn out to be even longer.

Since this was self-filmed, to add a bit of production value there is a mounted camera sequence from the gate to Bunker Tower and, while I said I really wasn’t going to do them any more, I decided to do a walk and talk segment at the battlefield. It may be the best one I have ever done. It looks natural and adds just enough to keep it interesting.

Overall the Cheaha Mountain episode is a personal favorite. Despite a few bumps it turned out better than expected. The writing is strong though I know I reached a bit to include Horseshoe Bend, the story was just too good not to include it and the editing is solid as well. There is still a lot of room for improvement but it is safe to say that I’ve come a long way from Magazine Mountain two years ago. While it has been a great experience working with my friends over the past two years it is very reassuring to know that I can make this series happen on my own if needed.

This episode was scored with three pieces of music. The upbeat and lively piece is called “Bama Country” which carries the front and end sections. This was a piece I had earmarked for Alabama way back when I first started lining up music to mountains. The piece that carries the historical section related to the Creek is called Lost Time, it had the gravitas and emotional impact I wanted. Kevin MacLeod of incompetech.com composed both of those pieces.

It was the third piece that was the most challenging to figure out. It didn’t sound right to jump back from the “Lost Time” piece to “Bama Country” and neither of them really fit the mood I wanted for the CCC section. After a lot of searching and listening I finally found the Dan Lebowitz piece, Not Forgotten.” It was a solid bridge between the two and stayed in line with the overall feeling of the episode.

Before you get to Cheaha Mountain check the weather so you don’t have to worry about a wall of white. It is a beautiful place with a lot of cool recreational opportunities. 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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