Panther Creek Falls
Now one point to note here is that there was no network coverage inside Gifford Pinchot National Forest and I was relying on Android auto for navigation. With the network gone, there was no easy way to find the way to Panther Creek. The Car’s offline GPS did not have Panther Creek available either. So I was a little lost at that point. However, on Google maps, I could see where Panther Creek is as a point of interest, but it could not set a navigation path to it.
So the navigating the manual way started. It was not very difficult as the route was to drive down the same way and then take a sharp turn onto NF-3062 and then drive straight ahead. Incidentally, this was also the route to take to go to Lower Lewis Falls and possibly back home (The shorter route I had mentioned earlier). So it was all working out well. The road was covered in snow and there was a sign that another car had been here before me by the tracks on the road.
Panther Creek’s trailhead was nowhere to be found and it took a bit of searching to find it as it was covered in a fresh layer of snow. After getting the backpack with my camera gear, I slowly and carefully made my way down towards the view point. Panther Creek Falls has two points of interest. One is the upper falls which is easily reachable. If you feel daring, then you can take an alternate trail to get the base of the falls. I would highly recommend hiking to the base of the falls. The hike itself can be a little tricky as you have to walk by the side of a small cliff kind of thing. I’ll let some pictures do the explaining.
Panther Creek Falls was a sight to see. The whole place felt magical and almost like a scene from the Tomb Raider series. I spent some time here taking pictures and then sat down relaxing and enjoying the chill and the sound of the falling water. There was no one else to disturb and it was just me and the serene nature at that point and it felt like nothing else mattered.
After spending about 30 minutes here, I decided to head back up and start for Lewis Falls. It was a lot more difficult climbing up as ice had formed sheets on the ground by now and it was slippery. There were lots of icicles hanging over my head, after seeing which I just got out of there as fast as possible.
A 15 minute hike later, I was back in the car and it was time to head to the route home.After letting the car warm up a little, I started going up the road and continued my way up toward Lewis Falls. After about 10 minutes of driving, I had to come to a stop because the road was completely covered in snow and there was no way my car would have been able to cross it. Disappointed, I decided to turn around. It was definitely not my day.