PAC kicks off hiking series Friday with ‘Raptor Rapture’

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The public is invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancys (PAC) Land Protection Specialist, Pam Torlina, for a four-mile hike at Caesars Head State Park/Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area for the start of PACs Fall Hiking Series.

Torlina, a biologist, will lead a hike to the Raven Cliff Falls observation platform this Friday, Sept. 17. The hike kicks off PACs Fall Hiking Series, which will take place every other Friday through Nov. 12.

The four-mile hike is a moderately strenuous out-and-back hike. Hikers will travel two miles to the observation platform across the gorge from the falls. Here, Matthews Creek plunges more than 400 feet off of Raven Cliff Mountain. Raven Cliff Falls is one of the most scenic waterfalls in the Upstate: a must see, Torlina said.

After the approximately three-hour hike, join Torlina at the Caesars Head overlook to search the skies for migrating raptors. Caesar’s Head is virtually the only place in the South Carolina mountains with the natural characteristics needed to attract thousands of migrating raptors. The birds are attracted by the thermals and updrafts generated by wind currents on the south facing slope of the Blue Ridge escarpment. Each year, between the months of September and November, hundreds, even thousands, of raptors hawks, kites, falcons, eagles, and more migrate south over Caesars Head on their way to their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

If you are interested in attending PAC’s hike at Caesars Head State Park, please contact the PAC office by 2 p.m. Thursday. You may call 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. If you intend to stay for hawk watch, binoculars are a must!

Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require in the event of an emergency. All hikers will be asked to sign a release form.

Torlina will meet hikers in Landrum, in the parking area in front of the Habitat Resale Store by 8:30 a.m. sharp and/or at the Gowensville Spinx (at the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 11) at 8:45 a.m. sharp to motor to Caesars Head State Park.

A birding expert in addition to being a field biologist and PACs land protection specialist, Torlina says, I hope well have a good turnout for this highly anticipated hike.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to consider future excursions, please visit PACs website (www.pacolet.org) for information about upcoming hikes. The next hike will take place Oct. 1 at the Blue Wall Trail near Landrum.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike. There will either be a weather-related recorded message or someone will be able to advise you about whether the hike will take place.