Let me start out by saying that I do not have a great relationship with the outdoors. Mother Nature and I? You can call us acquaintances at best. She is like that one friend you text every so often and declare, “OMG, we have to hang out soon!”, but then you almost never do.
Admittedly, I would like to keep it that way.
There are lot of trails in Jacksonville. We have visited a good number of them, but they do not propose much of a challenge. The land here, much like a 9 year old girl still begging Mom for a training bra, is flat…flat…flat. However, our neighboring state of good ol’ Georgia had much more to offer us. So my boyfriend and our two friends headed out to conquer the Georgian trails.
Panther Creek is about an hour away from Athens, Georgia (home of the acclaimed Georgia Bulldogs, if you like college football). When it comes to parking, it is easy and cheap to get a spot. You leave your money envelope in a payment box by the entrance. The lot is only across the street from the trail, so you simply have to cross to begin your hike.
I had never been on a real hike before. You might be able to tell that by my lack of hiking boots (I wore my brand new Nike Frees, which I totally clayed up by the end of the trip) and my flimsy blue backpack from college containing only two bottles of water. Can I get a #n00B??? I would definitely make different choices if I could go back in time. Like, maybe not wear all black in the middle of a humid Southern summer…
I stayed at the back of the group the whole time, as I did not want to get in anyone’s way. “I’m slow,” I would say, as I ushered them in front of me. While everyone was marching forward, I was lagging behind, filming things and taking in all the sights. There was a lot to see! Along the way, we came across various plant life, moving creeks, small-scaled waterfalls, and people’s campsites (ugh, people actually sleep in the wild?). Even the occasional scary looking bug and evil looking snake. Typical nature stuff…but definitely not something you see everyday. Unless you live in the woods…which my boyfriend was planning to do…
It was a 3.5 mile trek to our destination, which was this beautiful waterfall. I was getting really tired of going uphill then downhill, around the corner, under this log, all while holding on for my dear life and avoiding getting bit by mosquitoes. So seeing this natural oasis was a huge relief for me (and my poor feet). A lot of people were lounging around, swimming, enjoying snacks – and I was more than happy to join them.
Playing around in the waterfall was definitely the highlight of the trip.
The moral of the story is that, even though I successfully completed my first hike, I am completely out of shape. The walk back (another freaking 3.5 miles) was BRUTAL! I clearly remember screaming expletives when we took a wrong turn and had to backtrack by literally climbing up a freaking 10 foot dirt mound. I am getting angry thinking about it again! LOL. I honestly do not even remember how I got back to the car. Miracle. Alien abduction. Who knows?! I was just relieved to be sitting down again.
CLICK THE PICTURE ABOVE TO SEE A VIDEO ABOUT OUR HIKING ADVENTURE!
I was happy we got to experience this with our friends. Would I do this again? Yes. No. Maybe so. I’ll let you know when the time comes 😛