Annual summertime SC7 expedition showcases South Carolina’s natural beauty

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 7:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 9:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Hundreds of miles lie between South Carolina’s Upstate mountains and its Lowcountry coast. But this month, a group is making its way from one side of the state to the other on kayak, raft, and their own two feet and they want South Carolinians to come join them.

“Just introducing this beautiful Palmetto State to people across the state,” South Carolina 7 expedition leader Tom Mullikin said.

This year’s expedition began July 1 in the Upstate and will wrap up July 30 on the ocean, as they build a smart reef along the Atlantic coast.

Mullikin has led the expedition, also known as SC7, for the last three years, since it started in 2020.

“It started because our great governor, Henry McMaster, asked me to go out and get people involved, talking about our Floodwater Commission report,” Mullikin explained. “He said he didn’t want it to go on a bookshelf somewhere; he wanted to bring people in.”

This year’s path is now getting to about its midpoint in the Midlands, beginning Wednesday morning with a hike at the Sumter National Forest along the Laurens-Newberry county line.

Different adventures are lined up every day for 30 days straight, including hiking, rafting, and kayaking, with much of the action following the Palmetto Trail.

“But picking up parts of the Liberty Trail so that we can see some of the historic sites along the way,” Mullikin said.

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette has taken part in each SC7 expedition, and she joined Wednesday’s events, hosted by Laurens County.

“COVID got us all outdoors, and I think sometimes we got to a point where we forgot the beauty of the outdoors,” she said.

Evette said the month-long trek shows off some of South Carolina’s best-kept secrets.

“It allows people who live right here to just go, ‘Wow, I didn’t really realize, or maybe I forgot that was there,’ but it has brought so much attention to South Carolina,” she said.

While the event draws out different groups every day, with Mullikin leading the way, the real star is the nature, a reminder of just how much the state has to offer and the importance of conserving it for future generations.

“If a crippled, 62-year-old guy can do it from one end of the state to the other,” Mullikin said, describing himself, “just about anybody can.”

The public is welcomed to join along for any of the expeditions, but some stops are especially geared for public participation. Events at the tail end of the month, from July 27 to July 30, require advance registration.

People can learn more by visiting the SC7 website and checking out its 2022 field guide, which includes details about each day’s activities.

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