Hemphill Bald


Mike and I

We started at the Purchase Knob trailhead. It is actually a road to the Appalachian Highlands Science center. It is not open at all during covid so the gate is closed. It’s about a 2 mile uphill road walk. Mike didn’t want to take the side trail to Purchase Knob so I went ahead and he was going to Ferguson Cabin and we would meet on the trail intersection below the Science center.

Just below the science center I took a right on a trail that went up and over about a mile. I thought I was going to Purchase Knob and would have a great view but nope. It went to purchase knob but no views! But on the other hand I hiked alone in the woods which I never do.

I came back up to the road and walked up to the science center. Beautiful 360 degree views!

Science center

I went behind it and took a side trail through a camp ground to the trail where I was supposed to meet mike. When the trail intersected I couldn’t decide left or right. I went left towards Ferguson cabin. Then stopped called him and found out he was about a hundred yards to the right! 🤦‍♀️ I’m so bad with directions.

We turned down the Cataloochi Divide Trail. It’s a mostly uphill trail. In about a mile there is a beautiful little cabin on the left with awesome views. This is where the Swag property starts. They own all the property to the left side of the trail for at least a mile or so. It’s a high end resort with a lodge. It’s all inclusive. They built some beautiful areas on the overlooks. Weird thing is there is a fence all along the trail that divides their property. It looks over ski Cataloochi.

At the lodge there is a huge garden, a treehouse and other structures. They was a group horse tour went by. Just after that there is a nature trail. There was a sign that said Native American Trail marker tree.

It said Indians tied the tree down with animal skins to mark the trail and the tree grew up out of it. There is another one not on their property a few yards up the trail. At Skinnydip falls everyone refers to it as the dragon tree.

Where their property ends Cataloochi Ranch owns the rest up to Hemphill Bald. Their fence is a metal spiked fence. Kinda rude I’d say.

At the top they have a nice table made out of stone and a map showing all the mountains you can see.

We stayed here for about an hour then headed back down. At this point I had done about 6 miles. Down hill was not as easy as I thought. I guess I was getting tired.

On the way back we took the horse trail back to the road. I went down to Ferguson Cabin to check it out.

We took the road back down to the car and finished the day with 12 miles.

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