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Ascent of Driskill Mountain on 2010-10-04

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Monday, October 4, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Driskill Mountain
    Location:USA-Louisiana
    Elevation:535 ft / 163 m

Ascent Trip Report

StHP – BIENVILLE PARISH, LOUISIANA
535 ft.
Driskill Mountain

Monday, 10/4/2010

I’m quickly redefining the Wal-Mart/McDonald’s combo as my 5-star accommodation of choice. Nowhere was the functionality of this duo more apparent than in Sheridan, AR as I awoke and readied myself for the journey to Driskill Mountain.

The lodging aspects of Wal-Mart are pretty much self-evident and previously widely-known. But the web connectivity of McDonalds’ today made my journey a lot easier. I was cleaning up and heading off for breakfast before beginning the last leg of the trip to the top of Louisiana. I had long ago discovered that I had forgotten my state HP books. The Zumwalt, Winger, and Holmes books rested safely in the headboard of my bed at home, right where they always were. But when I noticed that I did not have ANY notes to Driskill Mountain, I began to get anxious.

I had the GPS coordinates, which might be enough. But I wanted more. So I decided to dine in at McDonalds this morning and make use of the ever-present WiFi network the food chain has recently added to their locations. I fired up my laptop, went to Cohp.org, and made some notes on a notebook piece of paper. I wrote down the driving directions, made some notes about what I should find when I got there, and drew a very simplistic map of the hiking route from trailhead to the summit. And then, as a bonus, I found that nearby Lincoln Parish had easy directions and navigation. So I added it to my itinerary to make the Louisiana trip a two-fer. This was a satisfying, spontaneous add to the trip plans that did not include Lincoln Parish previously. I took another sheet of notebook paper and made the same kind of notations for Lincoln Parish.

Finishing breakfast, I was on my way. The drive to Louisiana was uneventful, and I arrived at Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church. My first assessment was how small the church was. This was the first of two state HPs that surprised me with their smallness (the Cheaha Mountain observation tower being the second). I guess I was expecting to find a larger, still-functioning church. I would not have been surprised to be greeted by a pastor or church worker as I pulled into the church lot. But this church was old and apparently no longer serving an active congregation. The sign beside the front door said the church was established in 1883, so it had become a historic destination.

Looking around, I saw the cemetery behind the church, and the two famous outhouses graced the left (west) side of the parking lot. Signs in front of the church proclaimed Driskill Mountain, and signs to the northwest marked the gate and the trailhead to the summit.

In retrospect, I had no reason to be anxious about the hike. The route is well-marked by a combination of signs in trees, both low and high, and by historic plaques found along the way. The distinction between a hike over the false summit and a hike around that hill was well documented, and the trail itself made the alternate route that bypassed the false summit the preferred course to travel. I arrived at the summit area with no trouble at all. The summit was adorned with an information kiosk, complete with an ammo box acting as the summit register. I signed in to forever document this first journey to the top of Louisiana, my 2nd state HP of this trip. I snapped a few pictures and was then on my way back to the parking lot. My trip statistics: Time = about 40min for the round-trip to the summit and back; Distance = 1.80mi for the whole trip; Elevation gain = 240ft total gain, consisting of 115ft basic climb plus about 125ft of extra elevation, mostly due (I believe) to wandering about the church and cemetery area.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:240 ft / 72 m
    Extra Gain:62 ft / 18 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:Marked trail to summit, bypassing false summit
    Trailhead:Trailhead near outhouses  419 ft / 127 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:20 Minutes



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