The Panther of Panther Creek
The Panther of Panther Creek:
Amazing Adventures #2
It was a Friday morning as my (then girlfriend, now wife) awoke. We got up out of bed, looked at our Chacos sitting by the door, and both simultaneously said, “Bump work today, let’s go hiking!” So we called in and used our sick days, then hit the internet. We came across a place called Panther Creek; little did we know that we had stumbled across one of the best hikes in Georgia! We packed our day packs, the dog, and hit the road. We briefly wondered if there were actually panthers in Georgia, but quickly dismissed the thought.
We hadn’t really driven up through this part of the state before, and oh gosh is it pretty. The drive up there alone was enough to hook us. We found the trailhead and hit the trail at about 12 pm. We didn’t know too much about the terrain or anything like that. We always try and skip that part of the description, we like the surprise. About a mile in we realized how out of shape we were because the trail is pretty up and down the first mile. The second mile is really flat, so it was a good breather. Our dog, Belle, really loves the water, so she kept going in the river and splashing around.
By the time we started the third mile, we were pooped. We hadn’t done hikes like this is a really long time. We thought about turning around at that point. But I am so glad that we didn’t, because at the end there is a huge area with a great big waterfall! Belle loved being able to run around in the natural pool. I got crazy and started climbing the waterfall.
After about and hour there, we had eaten our lunch and we were ready to turn back. As we started back, we looked up at the sky and saw a hiker’s worst enemy, rain clouds. So we started booking it. About half way back it started, torrential downpour. It was like in Forest Gump, with the rain coming in sideways. We got soaked. And to make matters worse, we got stuck behind a family that had a baby in the baby backpacks! It was the thin part of the trail so we couldn’t pass them either.
They were going super slow, trying to avoid slipping down the muddy trail down to the river. I have never felt so bad for a baby in my life. At least he wasn’t crying or anything. We had finally made it back to the car in one piece, and finally the sky said that it would quit raining. That’s our luck, of course.
I’ve never been that wet in my life. Not even swimming. While we never saw the real Panther of Panther Creek, we realised that our “panther” wasn’t an animal at all, but the challenge and fear brought by the rain that defined our experience. It showed us how to transform an initially frightening situation into a beautiful memory, creating an experience just as adventurous as any real panther would have been.
Despite the rain, and the remorse on our bodies the next day, that was the best hiking trip I have ever been on. We go back to Panther Creek about once every couple months, we always take our dogs, we always have a great time, and we haven’t seen the panther of Panther Creek since!
Post Note: Have a Panther Creek adventure of your own and join James on a guided Panther Creek hike! Click here for details.