Winter’s Bone: An old Appalachian expression . . . “like a dog digging after a winter’s bone” – indicating someone who is on a search or quest for something and will not give it up.
I’m on a quest for snow . . . but I also realize that it’s been dry, with a chance of warm, lately. Don’t get FOMO yet, because many of the other skiing locales (throughout the nation) have been in a similar conundrum . . . cue the wah-wah horns.
That being said, I thought I would take this time to dwell on SOME of the GOOD RUNS in the last month, as well as highlight some nearby off-resort adventures . . . but first lets take a couple of runs at Cataloochee Ski Area.
A good warm-up run (or two) is in short-order. A welcoming choice (when open) is Upper Easy Way -> Over Easy. This especially nice when Easy Way -> Rabbit Hill is crowded. Today this run had a low rail about 2/3 of the way down (after the picnic tables). Always a fun cruise . . .
The “side-hits” are really fun on the bottom of (intermediate) Lower Omigosh. This happens when the snow piles up against the earthen wall on riders left. This is even more so as a goofy-foot rider . . . basically jumping off your toes is a bit easier than jumping off your heels. Take a look with the GoPro Max 360:
The snow was good this day . . . crisp, but not hard underneath . . . just right.
Purchase Knob Hike ~ 11min away from Cataloochee Ski Area (4-wheel drive recommended)
Let’s get off the resort for a bit, and check out a gem of a nearby hike. See if you can spot Cataloochee from this bald:
To get to Purchase Knob, depart Cataloochee down Yellow Patch Road (rough) and continue until the paved Hemphill Rd. intersection . . . take a left and start climbing back uphill. Drive past the Swag entrance and Hemphill Rd. turns into Purchase Knob Rd. There is parking for about 6-8 cars at the main gate into Smoky Mountain NP.
From here get on foot and hike up the gravel road for about a 1.5 miles. At this point your hike will lead onto the obvious mowed trail, or stay on the gravel road . . . your choice. Staying on the trail, you will see a split that leads toward Ferguson Cabin . . . the original 100 year farm-stead of the property. Continue on the main trail toward the summit. Here you will find the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center (a network of what will be 32 research learning centers throughout the national parks).
Rollerskiing – ’nuff said
Lastly, there’s always rollerskiing . . . just imagine rollerblades on steroids (without brakes). Heintooga Road (also in Great Smokey NP) is closed to motor vehicles from December 1st – until the end of Winter. This entrance to the park is about 22 minutes (11miles from Cat) . . . Enjoy endless miles without cars. *Pro-tip* When it snows, this is my favorite place to Cross-Country ski. A closer option is Soco Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Winter will arrive . . . I don’t know when, or for how long, but Cheers in the meantime!!!