Driskill Mountain Trip Report
South Ridge, 12/30/05
The state of Louisiana is not known for its mountains, but rather for the food, the atmosphere, and more recently, Hurricane Katrina. However, something in the state deserves the distinction of being the highest point, and that honor falls to the majestic Driskill Mountain, standing at a whopping 535 feet above sea level. It is the third lowest of all the state highpoints, behind Britton Hill of Florida and Ebright Azimuth of Delaware. Driskill is located only a few miles off I-20, but not on the way to any place, and as such, my difficulties in going there were more logistical than anything else.
After a wonderful Christmas break with our family in the Dallas, Texas area, having finished the entire second season of Hogan's Heroes, I was getting restless. Surveying the map, I learned that the nearest highpoint to the house was Driskill Mountain of Louisiana. I toyed with the idea of making a one-day jaunt out to go climb it, and finally did so on a sunny late-December day, leaving my wife and mother to enjoy a day of quilting.
I left the house around 8:30, and enjoyed smooth driving all the way to the peak. As I moved east, I entered the Piney Woods region of Texas, which meant that instead of being flat and barren, the landscape gradually gave way to small hills and dense vegitation. The weather was also changing, from a crisp sunny morning to a muggy overcast afternoon. I finally exited the interstate at the small town and Arcadia and drove several miles on back roads to arrive at the Mount Zion Presbyterian Church and Driskill Memorial Cemetery, where I parked. There is a marker in front of the church giving some information about the area around Driskill Mountain. I took a couple of pictures, grabbed my gear and was on my way.
It was a warm and sticky day, and I was soon drenched in perspiration. I followed the main route which begins heads into the woods on an old logging road. Much of the area is private property, but the owners are reputed to be friendly to highpointers, so I ignored the "No Trespassing" signs and made my way up the trail. The area has been heavily logged, but the trail was surrounded by recently planted conifers, whose green sharply contrasted with the red clay soil. There were several opportunities for wrong turns, but the route is generally well-signed. Eventually the trail moved into deciduous trees, which had dropped their leaves all over the trail. I simply enjoyed the peaceful feeling of a solo stroll through the Louisiana woods.
After a very modest rise in the terrain, I strode to the summit marker of Driskill Mountain, the top of Louisiana! The hike had only taken about twenty minutes, but I stopped to rest for a minute and to take in the scenery. As I did so, a lone dog came wandering past, and we shared the summit for a few minutes. I signed the register and noted that I had not been the first visitor that day. I took a few pictures, including my now-customary panorama, and then strolled down the hill and back through the woods to my car. I made a brief stop in town to get some gas, and then it was on my way back to Dallas.
Even though it meant a lot of driving, I am glad that I had the chance to visit Driskill Mountain. The weather was great and the brief hike to the highpoint was refreshing. It was a far cry from my other highpoint of 2005, Mount Whitney, but I had a great time visiting Driskill Mountain, enjoying the scenery, and chalking up my third state highpoint.