Mountains to coast: Experience the 7 Wonders of South Carolina
UofSC professor leads 350-mile expedition across the state
By Alexis Watts, email@example.com, (803) 777-7548
Who needs to travel to Egypt to see the Great Pyramids when we have our own Seven Wonders right here in South Carolina? University of South Carolina professor Tom Mullikin is leading a trek from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Lowcountry to spotlight these natural marvels that need our protection.
The South Carolina 7 Expedition will journey from 3,533 feet above sea level all the way to the Atlantic Ocean as travelers hike, raft, kayak and dive for 30 days. The itinerary follows the Palmetto Trail, which connects each of the state’s Seven Wonders: Sassafras Mountain, Jocassee Gorges, Chattooga River, Congaree National Park, Edisto River, ACE Basin and Bulls Island. The public can join part of the 350-mile adventure across the state in July.
I think I'm the only person in history that has climbed the seven summits and has dived in every ocean, but I come home to South Carolina because it's the most beautiful place, and I want to share that with the rest of the world.
Tom Mullikin, HRSM Professor
Mullikin, a professor in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, is an ecotourism and sustainable tourism expert who has visited every continent. Mullikin is also a senior environmental attorney, author and advocate. As a native of Camden, South Carolina, he still sings the praises of the beauty of his home state.
“I think I'm the only person in history that has climbed the seven summits and has dived in every ocean, but I come home to South Carolina because it's the most beautiful place, and I want to share that with the rest of the world,” says Mulliken.
Join the adventure
This will be the third year for the SC7 Expedition, but the first time there will be “family expedition” opportunities where everyone is invited to join in on the fun of exploring. Mullikin has teamed up with the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor to coordinate logistics and invite the public.
“We welcome anybody to come out and join us, bring their kids, bring their four-legged friends and see some of the great places in South Carolina,” says Michelle McCollum, president of the S.C. National Heritage Corridor. “I think hiking can be a little intimidating for people who have never hiked before, but once people are introduced to the beauty and benefits of being in nature, it encourages them to keep exploring.”
Mullikin hopes the journey inspires people to get outdoors and gain a deeper appreciation for the mountains, waterfalls, swamplands and coastline found in the Palmetto State.
“People say it is life-changing and that they didn't realize we had this much beauty in South Carolina,” he says. “The waterfalls we have in northern Greenville and Pickens County rival anything in the world. My favorite part is the diversity, which you feel when you walk from one end of the state to the other. We go from the Appalachia, which is some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world to the most beautiful beaches.”
Along the way, there will be fireside chats to discuss conservation, outdoor therapy and floodwater-mitigation issues. The SC7 digital field guide shows days that are open to the public. Join in and beat the midsummer heat in the Midlands by kayaking in Kershaw County, tubing the Saluda River or hiking through shady Congaree National Park.
UofSC College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management is a sponsor of the SC7 expedition, which starts July 1 in Oconee County and ends in Charleston on July 30.
Follow along throughout the journey to see the Seven Wonders of South Carolina.
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