Sunday July 9
Today was grocery shopping day. The closest town is Brevard at 17 miles away although it takes 30 minutes to get there on the best mountain roads in the area.
I had a late lunch at Rocky’s Grille and Soda Shop. The food is fine but the atmosphere is fun. And they make a GREAT chocolate Malt.
There is an old fashioned counter with the red chairs lining it and when I came in, every seat was taken. There are booths along the opposite side. Also red of course. To match the great tile floor.
After seeing the movie Elvis I felt a bit sad seeing the posters on the wall.
Folks lined up at the ice cream counter overlooked by JFK and Marilyn among others.
It was noisier inside than out and it’s a lovely day so I took up a spot on the metal table and chairs. No AC necessary inside which is why I’m in the mountains of North Carolina.
Monday July 11
I was the only one in the parking lot this morning at 8am at Panthertown, a place relatively nearby, but not known for well marked trails.
Panthertown Valley is a 6700 acre piece of the Nantahala National Forest. Riverbend is located in Transylvania County NC which seems to be mostly National Forests of one name or another. Panthertown, they say, is home to granite domes, waterfalls, valley floors, and rare high altitude bogs. The headwaters for Greenland and Panthertown Creeks and the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River are in Panthertown Valley. The area is a maze of trails going off in every direction. I, of course, have come to find the waterfalls.
The valley was heavily logged in the 30's and suffered majors fires and erosion in the 60's, so there are almost no old growth trees left. Despite this and Duke Power running a major power lane through the area in the late 80's, Panthertown Valley has made a comeback and is now home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
At the beginning of my hike to Mac’s Falls, the trail went directly under this evidence of Duke Power.
In 1989, the land was purchased from Duke Power by the NC Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and added as part of the Nantahala National Forest. Bless TNC for saving this and many other wonderful natural areas. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could have done it before the logging of all the old growth.
The trails are rustic and minimally marked. The creek crossings were difficult as the hiking was wet and muddy from yesterday’s rains.
How to get across is the question.
I won’t go into the details but I was able to find Mac’s Falls which after water crossing difficulties required serious scrambling.
Here’s the video for those like me who love hearing the falls.
As I continued on to Greenland Creek Falls, it continued to be wet and muddy from yesterday’s rain. The fungi were abundant.
Sketchy trails and more creek crossings.
Label it muddy with obstacles.
Now which way??? No sign.
Is there a trail beyond here?
In spite of the uncertainty, mud, and general difficulty, I made it to Greenland Creek Falls.
Love the Rhododendron. Wish I’d been here even earlier in the summer when it was covering everywhere.
I’m posting two videos. This first one unfortunately doesn’t show enough of the top of the falls. But is great for the rest of it. The second is a nearly 360 view of the area in front of the falls including, if you can see it, the trail I came in on at the end. Look very carefully or you won’t see it at all, it’s that hidden.
The trip out was about the same in sketchiness. Does this look like a trail to you?
No way to hike around this mud. The only way is through. DO NOT come to Panthertown without good hiking boots and poles. They say the forest service is going to upgrade the signage but given their funding, I would not hold my breath.
I’m glad I wasn’t going to a viewpoint as I climbed up and into the fog.
I made it back to Ruby to find that many other folks were also willing to brave the mud and questionable trail signage. Red Ruby is surrounded. Thank goodness I’d bought a map, such as it was, put out by the Friends of Panthertown. Otherwise, who knows where I’d be.
And by the way, there are no Panthers in Panthertown any more unfortunately.