Sunday, June 30, 2013

No More Solitude

One of my old favorite hiking destinations used to be Panthertown Valley. It wasn't a terribly long drive for me, and the rewards of scenery and solitude were high. However, since I first discovered the place it has become a hiking/camping Mecca. Many thousands of people flock there to enjoy the scenery. It has much to offer, of course. Cliffs and mountains. Streams and waterfalls. The forests aren't impressive because the place was logged down to the mineral earth and left to burn, but in general it's a gorgeous place.

However, it is now so popular that I can't find any solitude there. No matter the season and no matter the weather I run into crowds. In addition, very wealthy people bought up lots on some of the ridges surrounding the Valley so that there are now mansions looming over the place--and no likelihood that they'll be righteously burned to the ground. Thus, I probably won't return there much. Fortunately, I've seen most of it so there's not a lot there to draw me back for an initial experience.

Still...I miss the quiet that I once found there in Panthertown Valley.

The first few times I went hiking in Panthertown I saw no one at all. It was if I had the entire Valley to myself. On at least one occasion, I'm pretty sure that I did have the whole valley to myself (the National Forest had posted it as closed after a hurricane had gone through, dumping vast amounts of rain. But a forest ranger had told me that the Valley was actually opened but they hadn't gotten around to taking the "Closed" signs down. For three days I saw no one else there.

One of many views on Little Green Mountain. The mountain through the trees there now has houses all over it. So you can forget about any illusions of feeling like you're in a wilderness.

School House Falls. One of the nicer waterfalls in the Valley. I like to go swimming in that plunge pool. The water there is VERY cold!

I'm sure that stump has been used as firewood by now.

Another great view from Little Green Mountain.

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