Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tired, thinking of Panthertown

Man, I am tired. Work has been tough. I come home exhausted, but I've done well the past week and surpassed the pace I need to set to finish THE CLAN by my deadline. My sleep patterns are all messed up, and that hasn't been a great deal of help. Also, I really need to lose some weight before we head out to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons. I want to tackle some higher (for me) peaks, and I'm not in the best of shape to do that. So in addition to the eight-hour job and the new novel, I need to think about buckling down and sticking to a real diet. Ugh.

Here are a few photos from a 2004 trip to another of my favorite places, Panthertown Valley in western North Carolina. This place consists of several thousand undeveloped acres, which in itself in unique. It sits beside some of the most overdeveloped mountain land on the East coast. How it sat there for decades without having subdivisions carved all over it is a mystery to me. It is a mass of waterfall terrain, also. And the place itself is a unique ecosystem: a high elevation, U-shaped valley surrounded by 4,000-foot peaks. I like visiting there.

One thing I love about hiking the southern Appalachians are the trails that go through azalea and rhododendron tunnels.

This trip was really nice. I hiked all around the wilderness and had the place to myself. This was right after the remnants of one of the hurricanes that swept through NC. It didn't do any wind damage in the valley, but it dropped a tremendous amount of rain, keeping people away.

I had tried to summit a peak called Cold Mountain (no, not the one off the Blue Ridge Parkway). I failed and on the way back to camp stopped to go swimming at this spot. I believe it's called The Devil's Elbow.

I stopped in the middle of fording this stream to take this shot.

I camped near this shelter. I set up my tent nearby, since I prefer my tent to wooden structures like this one (less mice!). Every night I was here, the coyotes would come down to the edge of camp right about dark and sing for almost exactly thirty minutes before heading back into the forest depths.

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