Magic In The Air

Message From The Director

By now we’ve all experienced that first cool evening and begun thinking about the magic of fall. On Sept. 23 the Autumnal Equinox occurred officially signaling the arrival of my favorite season of the year! Did you know that the word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night"? It’s true. The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the hours of day and night are equal. And with the coming of fall, the temperatures begin to ease downward, the days get shorter and the warm glow of a campfire becomes even more appealing.

When fall is mentioned, the first things that cross most people’s minds are the turning of the leaves and the beautiful fall colors that come with it. And you won’t get any argument from me: the changing of the leaves is one of nature’s most spectacular displays. But we’ll talk more about the fall colors in a minute. First I want to talk about magic.

Fall is full of magic. There is something about the shift in temperature that entices folks to come out and explore their parks. The cool autumn breezes provide welcomed relief from the heat of summer, and blow away excuses like “it’s just too hot” to go camping hiking or picnicking. But the real magic of fall is that it gives all of us the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. Now is the perfect time to try your hand at camping. And if you have never hiked in the fall, you will be amazed at the fun and discoveries that are out there waiting for you.

Now back to that leaf change phenomenon, and the way South Carolina shines. Oh, sure, there are places that are more famous for their fall colors. But none of them provide better fall fireworks than the Palmetto State. The magic of fall can be found all over the state, but if you really want to see the colors explode just take a ride along Scenic SC Highway 11 as it winds along the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Take in all reds, yellows and crimsons. Stop by one of the many state parks along the way, breath in the cool mountain air and let autumn fill your senses and your soul.

That’s magic, alright. But there is some science behind the magical color change. Most of us can recall from elementary school that leaves appear green because of chlorophyll – the chemical pigment that allows sunlight to be absorbed for the production of sugars and starches. As the days get shorter and the leaves are exposed to less sunlight, other chemical pigments that have been masked by chlorophyll all summer are finally revealed. The result is a range of beautiful hues draped across our forests. Another important fall fact is that here in South Carolina the autumn colors often appear more brilliantly and last longer than in other parts of the country! If you start in the mountains in late October and work your way down through the state, you’ll see fall colors like you never have before.

Be sure to look for signs of fall on our webpage. We’ll be providing fall color updates to help you plan your seasonal trip to see the turning of the leaves. Also be sure to check out LIVE views of fall color from the Table Rock webcam.

Fall is finally here, and there is magic in the air. Come out and experience it all for yourself!

See you in the parks!