Rock and Roll Cataloochee-Koo

Rock and roll hoochie koo
Lordy mama light my fuse
Rock and roll hoochie koo
Truck on out and spread the news
Done got tired of paying dues
Said goodbye to all my blues
Lordy mama, light my fuse.
© 1970 by Derringer Music, Inc.

I couldn’t get that stupid song by Rick Derringer out of my head Saturday while my younger son and I hiked to Big Cataloochee Mountain in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There’s a line in the song that starts out, “Getting higher all the time.” To be sure, the lyrics don’t have anything to do with hiking, but on Saturday, our hike was getting plenty higher all the time.

Big Cataloochee is one of the peaks of the South Beyond 6000. Finally, after not hiking a mountain on this list for more than 6 months, I was finally bagging another. But in the end, I think it bagged me.

We started at Mt. Sterling Gap, which is on the eastern edge of the park near the tiny community of Mt. Sterling, N.C. The gap is at an elevation of 3,888 feet. Big Cataloochee stands at 6,155 feet. Though that’s a difference of just 2,267 feet, the total elevation gain of the hike was 5,206 feet, with most of that coming in the first 2.3 miles.

Profile - Big Cataloochee Mountain

This was a hike that kicked my butt.

The last half mile to the peak was off trail and about 600 feet up. Deadfall, sticker bushes, and the steep terrain made getting to the top a challenge. But fortunately there was a trail of surveyors tape markers that helped lead us to the top.

By the time we finished the 16.3 mile hike we were both pretty beat, though I’m quite certain my 50-year-old body was feeling more beat than Landon’s 16-year-old body.


If you’re too young to remember Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo, or are old enough to remember and want to relive your youth, here’s a classic 1973 performance. But be careful. This is one of those songs that sticks in your brain in autorepeat mode.


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