Last Friday, Ashley and I finally took the hike to Panther Creek. I have heard it was a good hike for several years but neither of us had gone before. It is about an hour and a half drive so it requires a good portion of the day, not to mention the 7 mile hike round trip.
We got a late start leaving Atlanta, it was closing in on 2pm. We also stopped at a local farmers store and shopped for some goodies. We found a treasure! Fried pies that were vegan! There were all sorts of varieties and we tried both the apple (what was amazing) and the strawberry (which is pictured). It was a fun stop and broke up the drive a bit.
Once we headed onto the trail-head, it was already 4pm. We did not think much of it though and we pushed through, with me stopping every few feet to take pictures. About half way into the hike we encountered a huge king snake slithering up the trail. The snake did not seem to be concerned with us but would also not slide him or herself off the trail so we could go by. We ended up waiting for about 20 minutes and wondering if we should turn around and call it a night. Our concern was that if the snake was lingering in this locale, it's nest may be nearby which would mean circumventing the snake by going off the trail could put us in another dangerous situation. Eventually, the snake opted to slither just off the trail and dare us to pass. We took the dare and cautiously moved past. It was a battle of wills with the snake!
We stopped a few more times before reaching the falls but we were a little concerned about the time. When we arrived at the falls, we had been hiking for 3 hours. Now a big deal but it was now 7pm and if it took us another 3 hours to hike out we would be hiking the last half of the trail in the dark. Fortunately, there were no snakes (that we saw) and we took no pictures or stops and made it out in about an hour and a half.
I have to say, Panther Creek lived up to it's reputation as one of the best hikes in Georgia. The entire hike is along the creek and there are plenty of amazing views. Well worth the effort although next time, we will plan a little better!