We had decided to spend the night at the A-frame shelter in Panthertown. It's a remnant from the Valley's days as a doomed place. Once upon a time it was slated to have been turned into a real estate development. Up to and including the damming of the Tuckaseegee River for a large lake, around which houses would have been built. Some of Panthertown's waterfalls would have been buried underwater, while others would have become the private property of the rich elite.
Fortunately, through an accident of failing finance for the people putting that venture together, the Valley first ended up in the hands of the rapacious Duke Power Company who rammed a transmission line down the center of the Valley and then gave all but the right of way to the Nature Conservancy who then handed the remaining 6,000 acres over to Nantahala National Forest. Duke Power got lots of favorable publicity out of the stunt, and the public got what was to have been a wilderness area but which is now two forests bisected by a hideous transmission line.
Still and all, it's better this way than being in the hands of a few private individuals. If you have the time and the will you can hike all around Panthertown and take in the views.
|The shelter as we arrived. I'm not sure how old the shelter is, but I've heard that it's been there since the 1960s when the Valley was being planted in white pines as a Christmas tree farm. It has been repaired and renovated many times since.|
|Sign and good luck charm above the threshold. The cutting of live vegetation for campfires in the Valley is a problem.|
|Our stuff in the shelter. Later, we ended up pitching our tents in the shelter when blowing snow began to cover the floor (and our stuff).|
|The shelter as it looked as we were preparing to leave, after four inches of fresh snow had fallen after our arrival.|