It’s almost the end of April and I haven’t done one over-nighter yet. Since many of the guys I go outdoors with laugh at me for always planning in Linville Gorge, I’m taking their advice when they tell me, “You know, there ARE other places than Linville…”
But I love Linville.
I came across a brief mention of Panthertown Valley in Nantahala Forest a year or so ago in Backpacker Magazine. It has been dubbed “The Yosemite of the East.” I also said, “yeah right” when I saw that until I read that it earned that name from being formed in the same way as the great western stomping grounds of Ansel Adams and John Muir. Largely, it has been off my radar due to an infatuation with Linville Gorge (rightly so), and the reputation Panthertown has of confusing and unnamed trails. I heard there was a map, but it was only available locally, and it was hand drawn.
Well, I was in Mast General Store downtown Greenville last month and spotted out of the corner of my eye a waterproof map of Panthertown Valley by Burt Kornegay, the same author of the map locally available. The topo map is 1:24,000 and has great detail, even differentiating between official trails and unofficial trails, along with point to point mileage. It will be a great asset.
Backpacker Magazine has a 5.6 mile loop, which I won’t be taking in its entirety, but a large portion of it. I hope to ascend Big and Little Green Mountains. The Great Wall of Panthertown is seen in the foreground, the great granite wall on Big Green Mountain.
Looking at Google Earth, the terrain is definitely more mild than Linville Gorge. I guess I can try something else. Who knows, I may be amazed.
Hopefully, in a couple weeks, this trip will come together.