I went back to Panther Creek State Park the very next day after my first visit, when I found out the weather was supposed to be good, including sunshine. I’d been intending to stick to the lowland trails after the previous day’s experience, and parked my car in one of the lower lots so I would not have to worry about having to ascend a hill to return to my car a second time.
My intentions were overthrown by the fact that I parked facing an interesting hill covered in rocks. There seemed to be something up higher on the slope, and I decided I’d start climbing for a better look. What I’d observed from a distance turned out to be a large cleft in some of the rocks, which someone had taken the time to awkwardly roof with a whole bunch of dead branches.
Naturally, I climbed inside the make-shift structure and took pictures.
Afterward I continued to ascend the rest of the hill, where I found a walking trail. The day was as beautiful as promised, though marred by the fact that two buses full of schoolchildren had arrived at the park before I did, and though we weren’t in the same section, they seemed to be communicating in a language comprised of piercing shrieks that could be heard from quite a ways away. I opted to take the trail in a direction that seemed like it might lead away from the shrieking.
Eventually I had the option of climbing ever higher into the hills, or beginning to descend into a valley. The hill’s trail didn’t seem like it would be as difficult as the road the previous day, but I still opted for the gentle ascent into the valley – which turned out to go back up into the hills, anyway.
Because I did have signal near the tops of the hills while in the park, I messaged A and H to say I hoped the name of the park did not mean there might be actual panthers to contend with, because I was pretty sure I couldn’t take one in a fight. H responded that if I saw a panther I should dance, and maybe that would scare it away – which was a reference to the fact that I’d been dancing to music at my dad’s house and utterly terrified one of my dad’s three cats, who spent the next day or two hiding from me and peering around corners to see if my terrifying movements had put in another appearance. I said I’d try that, and carried on, amused. (I did not see any panthers, just deer, squirrels and at least one chipmunk.)
I found a roofed seat to rest on, and the seat had graffiti that must have required more than the average effort and time, so I took pictures of that, too. The trails split again, heading up further into the hills or along the slope I was on, in a direction that should lead towards another valley that I’d been in briefly the day before and that led toward the water I could now see through the trees. I opted for the route that seemed like it might give me a chance to find my way to the water. (I’ll have another post with pictures from the lake.)