Louisiana: Driskill Mountain (535 feet)
Louisiana’s high point is deceptive in the effort required to get there. Maybe it was all of the time in the car, or the five drive up/little-effort summits that preceded it on the deep south trip, but this state makes you work for every one of those 535 feet of elevation gain. It felt good to be moving and getting a touch of cardio. But, the hubby, who normally can’t remotely keep pace with me on flat ground, picked this moment to turn on the turbo jet packs. He literally left me in the dust. I’ll admit, I’m fully perplexed and slightly embarrassed by this. I’m the one who exercises and climbs mountains for fun, while he sits on the couch. When pressed, he argued that I walk fast on flat ground for no reason. This hike, he reasoned, had a purpose. With a goal and an end in sight, it made sense in his head to complete it quickly. So, props to him I guess.
Marked signs will guide you to the summit. Don Holmes’ Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty State Summits,which I highly recommend, makes the route sound nothing short of complicated, but is still an essential resource. For example, one excerpt from his description is,
“go left downhill, staying right at a second fork about 100 yards from the first fork, and contour around the false summit to the right 0.4 miles to a saddle between the false summit and the true highpoint.“
A lot of detail to pay attention to, yes. Even with the signs, I’m glad I had this book as a companion to ensure I was going the right way. If following the signs or book description doesn’t work, just avoid the barbed wire. Sound advice, I know. That will mostly keep you on the proper trail, though you will encounter at least two forks that require a decision and I don’t recall how well marked they are. My barbed wire trick for sure won’t help in those spots. Also, one of the decision points is counter-intuitive, requiring you to head down, while the wrong path leads up.
The summit has a register in a latched metal box by the sign. If you continue on another 50 yards or so to the west, you can enjoy an overlook.
This was a St. Patrick’s Day summit (hence my Shamrock) – and we were the first ones there that day. Or, at least the first ones to sign the register. On the way down, we ran into three men in their 20s who were about to embark on the 535 feet of elevation gain. One was sporting a knife, about 2 ½ feet long, strapped across his back, which made the hubby nervous. I quickly summed them up as being friendly and decided to share the good news that they would be numbers 3-5 for the day. To the hubby’s astonishment, they did not draw the large machete on us. Instead, the news excited them and seemed to inject energy into their hike.
Back at the car, I became especially grateful to the church who allows high pointers to park in its lot. A special thank you to the Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church for parking privileges.
While I enjoyed each of our six summits in the south and can’t pick a clear favorite, Louisiana feels extra special because it was the last of this trip and it made us work the most to get there. A nice way to spend St. Patrick’s Day.
After completing this long, arduous mission, we drove on to Dallas and caught a flight home. Five day road trip of 8+ hours of driving each day complete.