I was there with my boyfriend in the fall, late in the migration season and, unfortunately, didn't see many raptors. However, at the time I knew I would be back for the exceptional hiking and boulder-climbing that the mountain has to offer. Well, I can tell you that I certainly wasn't disappointed this weekend!
"B" and I took a hike totalling approximately 6 miles. I'm not talking a nice easy path to walk along...no siree! This was all out HIKING! Steep hills, crossing large boulder fields, climbing boulders, and a few gentle paths...but not many.
We started out on the "River of Rocks" loop, which was our intent all along. This is 4 miles in total and descends 700 feet going down one side, around the end of the river of rocks you see in the picture, and up the other side (yes, UP 700 feet!) After the "River of Rocks", we went on to the end of the "Escarpment Trail" to the "North Lookout". The "Escarpment Trail" was pretty much boulder climbing at it's finest. While on the "Escarpment Trail" and on "North Lookout", we saw loads of raptors, mostly black vultures, with a few hawks and what we think was one osprey. At one point we saw 12 raptors soaring above!
We finished off with a short jaunt to the "Sunset Overlook" and hiked the relatively easy path on out, some 6 hours after we had set off on our day's journey. All in all, a great day with no real injuries, lots of good times with a great friend, and great exercise. Oh, and I'm still experiencing the sore muscles!