Hiker Information

INFORMATION FOR HIKER HOSTS A moderate, 3 hour hike is planned for Tuesday morning.  It offers convenient access and exceptional scenery...beautiful waterfalls along the Horsepasture River.  If your guest will be hiking, you are welcome to join in. Hiking includes inherent hazards and all participants are responsible for their own safety.   TUESDAY: Hike to Rainbow and Turtleback Falls via GORGES STATE PARK ASSEMBLE AFTER BREAKFAST at the Key Mart/First Choice Realtor parking lot at 7:30AM (0730),. One or two small buses will be waiting for transport to the trail head.  Additional car pools will be formed as needed.  Please contact the hike coordinator if you plan to hike and/or can offer to drive...vans preferred.  Hosts not driving or hiking should stay with their guests until boarding. The drive to the trail head will take about 50 minutes, in time for a 830AM hiking start. DRIVERS can convoy or go direct to the trail head. It’s in the first parking area on the right, past the new park headquarters/reception building...about 5 minutes into the park.  Enter the park via a right off NC281 which is the extension of SC130 in NC.  Non-hiking drivers can await return of the hikers by touring the park or visitor center, doing part of the planned hike, or just relaxing. DRESS light and comfortable per expected weather.  Though we will be hiking in woodlands at higher elevations...usually 10 degrees cooler than in Salem...assume it will be hot, or will feel so as we hike.     Hiking boots or athletic shoes with good traction are a must. There are two porta potties at the trail head, but no drinking water.  Bottled water, to be carried by the hikers, will be offered at the trail head.  Hikers should keep hydrated...drink before getting thirsty.  Containers, and any things carried in, of course, must be packed out. If there’s a greater than 30% chance of rain, or significant chance of lightning storms, we will not hike ...and may cancel at anytime before departure.  So keep alert for e-mail and/or web updates. THE HIKE begins on a well groomed, well marked, trail which descends gently and steadily for about a mile to the Horsepasture River below.  There the trail narrows, becomes rougher, and begins to ascend, becoming steep as it nears the falls a half mile upstream.  The river can be viewed along the way from several short spurs.  Follow the leader’s guidance as to which, if any, spurs to explore. We will pause and view the spectacular 150 ft Rainbow Falls from the first overlook, then descend for a closer look.  This is optional, via a narrow, steep, often wet and slippery paths.  It rejoins the easier, but also steep, by-pass to the top of Rainbow.  There we’ll enjoy a fine downstream vista and explore the powerful source of the falls along its rocky gorge.  A slip into these swift waters would sweep the viewer over the falls. Sure footing and extra caution are thus essential here.  Wet rocks and roots are slippery! Further upstream we’ll see the smaller, also beautiful Turtleback Falls from several vantage points.  Locally known as “Bust your Butt Falls”, it is so named for its risky use as a wet and wild sliding board.  Time and caution will not allow us to try that.  About a quarter mile upstream of Rainbow, we will reverse course and head back...returning via  the outbound trail.  It is thus possible to opt out, rest and wait at any outbound point.  HOWEVER, no one should do so alone, and a hike leader must be informed of any separations from the group. HIKERS are asked to stay on the trail, follow the leader, keep within sight of other hikers, and pause to regroup at any sharp turn, or fork in the trail.  The leader has a loud signal whistle, but it can be muffled in the dense forest and by the roar of rushing water.  One blast says, “I am here”.  Two says, “Come to me.” (Re-assemble.)  Three is a call for help. We should return to the trail head and depart by 1100.  Time permitting, we will stop to view Upper White Water Falls (at 400 ft, the tallest east of the Mississippi).  It’s just 10 minutes south of the Gorges, on the left, and only a quarter mile, easy walk from parking area to the overlook.  Drivers please display the Forest Service access authorization to bypass the fee station.  We plan to return to KK by 1230PM (1230), in time for lunch at the North Marina.  Hosts can reunite with their guest there. Contact/Coordinator Bill Ebeling, 864-944-5020, trekkerttoo@charter.net

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