The sacred animal that walks like a man

Editor’s note: This column first appeared in an April 2003 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.

Bears have always held a special attraction for human beings. In a chapter titled “Killing the Sacred Bear” in his monumental study The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1922), Sir James George Frazer traced the reverence for bears among the Ainu people of Japan and the Gilyats in Siberia. 

‘Enjoy yourself’: WNC duo runs with outdoors-inspired sunglasses brand

For Nick Provost and Peter Moyle, co-owners of the startup outdoors brand Gnarcissist Gear, it all started with granola bars in high school history class. Moyle was new at Smoky Mountain High School, and he and Provost became friends over the shared snacks, strengthening their bond as they both took jobs at Cataloochee Ski Area. 

“We worked together all the time, carpooled all the time,” said Moyle, 27. “That’s how this whole ideation came about was talking in the car about what we wanted to do someday.”

Reroute planned for Blackrock Trail

The infamously steep trail leading up to Blackrock from Pinnacle Park will soon find itself with a gentler incline following the planned reroute of 0.37 miles of the most severely angled piece of the pathway.

Eye of the beholder: Outdoor photographer shares love of the craft

Catch him if you can.

For the last few years, Steve Yocom has made quite a name for himself as one of the premier outdoor photographers in Western North Carolina and greater Southern Appalachia. If it wasn’t for his wild and wondrous images of the great outdoors, of iconic spots or off-the-beaten gems, you’d truly have no idea where he was at any given time.

Deep freeze: Frozen waterfalls offer rare winter spectacle

It was cold, but I was prepared. Leggings and Underarmour, sweatpants and sweatshirt, parka and hiking pants, an array of hats, gloves and scarves — it was safe to say I’d dressed for the forecasted high of 27 degrees.

I’d spent much of the past week indoors, wrapped in blankets against the single-digit chill that assaulted my apartment and dreaming of warmer days. But as the weekend drew near, a realization dawned — all this cold had surely created some beauty out of Western North Carolina’s abundant waterways. I made a decision: I would brave the cold, and I would go find a frozen waterfall.

Adventure through 2018: WNC offers excursions for every month of the year

When people praise the Smokies, it’s often the area’s status as a four-season bonanza of beauty that spurs the discussion. From snow-blanketed winters to vibrant-leafed autumns, these mountains dress to impress year-round.

Catalyst for adventure: Field school instructors reflect on three decades in the Smokies

The Smoky Mountain Field School was only a couple years old when Joel Zachary came on as an instructor in 1980. Kathy Zachary — then his girlfriend, now his wife — joined him in 1983, and the field school has been part of their lives ever since.

“We like to say that the success of the program is due to the instructors we have that are so enthusiastic about their topics,” Kathy said. “They have a passion for teaching and sharing, so the person who signs up to take a course really gets that contagious enthusiasm that the instructor shares.”

To free your mind, just get outside and walk

In the June 14, 2004, issue of The New Yorker magazine, there was an essay titled “Blocked! Why Do Writers Stop Writing?” Therein one of the Romantic poets, Coleridge, was cited as a prime example of a writer who suffered from that peculiar malady known as writer’s block:

Team Ruebel hits the trail: Hiking is a bonding force for father-daughter duo

Once Jay Ruebel started seeing the billboard, which advertised the 28.3-mile Trailblaze Challenge hike, it seemed like he couldn’t stop seeing it.

Jay likes challenges, and he knew who he wanted to conquer this one with — his 16-year-old daughter, Gracie. Jay’s wife and other daughter both enjoy short hikes, but Gracie’s the one who’s into long excursions and multi-day treks. It’s how they hang out.

To try a tri: Race day is a whirlwind for a first-time triathlete

As I stood freezing on the dock above 67.3-degree Lake Logan, the main thought running through my head was a question: Why did I put myself up to this?

Wearing only a swimsuit, I was surrounded by a bunch of wetsuit-wearing athletes who were more intense than I would ever be, and here I was, set to swim, bike and run alongside them in the Lake Logan Sprint Triathlon. My stomach growled, either from hunger or nervousness — it was hard to tell — but either way it seemed an affirmation that I should have slept rather than waking up at 4:30 a.m. to come out here and embarrass myself.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.