Another goal of mine this summer was to hike in North Georgia as much as possible. I still hope to get in another day hike with Mom, but I've already had the opportunity to hike a couple of times with Erin. This is a great opportunity for some photo-journaling. The following pictures are from Panther Creek Falls, a 5-mi. hike a little more than an hour from my house:
The fearless hikers!
The mountain laurel was still in bloom, one of the delights of hiking in the Southern Appalachians during late spring/early summer. The flowers were waning, showering our path and the forest floor with their lovely pink petals.
Our path took us alongside a tranquil mountain stream - the kind of environs that evoke transcendence, poetry, and "going green." We enjoyed another summer-time treat here: bing cherries! Yum!
Toward the end of the hike the waters became more tumultuous. We marveled at the way the river had sculpted the riverbed over the centuries.The memory of the hike lived on in more than pictures - Erin and I both walked stiffly for the next couple of days. (We like to think of ourselves as active, outdoorsy girls, but our muscles seem to think that they were meant to belong to prissy princesses.) But achy muscles are part of the appeal of hikes like this. It sounds like a paradox, but it's not: I find nothing more spiritual than this kind of deeply physical, tangible experience. It's the loving-kindness of God made known in rushing waters, blooming flowers, delicate bugs, and singing birds. It's the presence of Christ, whose incarnation affirms the dignity and goodness of physical bodies, disclosed in human companionship and sore muscles. It's the Spirit of God moving in a perceptible but hard-to-put-your-finger-on way, not unlike the uncontrollable, unpredictable rustling of the wind through lush, green leaves.