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Paddling South Carolina

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Paddling South Carolina: A Guide to Palmetto State River Trails

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Paddling South Carolina: A Guide to Palmetto State River Trails by Gene Able and Jack Horan, Orangeburg, South Carolina: Sandlapper Publishing Company, Inc., Revised Edition (November 1, 2001), 160 pages, $16.96, Reviewed by John G Hall Charlotte Canoeing Examiner

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According to Gene Able and Jack Horan, few states have the splendid diversity of rivers and streams as South Carolina.

“From the crashing, glass-clear waters of the Chattooga River to the tranquil blackwater of the Lowcountry, South Carolina contains hundreds of miles of relatively unspoiled, free-flowing rivers.”

In Paddling South Carolina: A Guide to Palmetto State River Trails, Mr. Able and Mr. Horan provide canoeists and kayakers a brief but detailed introduction to the “best of the best” that South Carolina has to offer.

“The rivers described in the book represent the best in South Carolina for canoeists and kayakers. All told, they make up a system of trails that cover more than 1,300 miles. We have paddled each trail at least once, some trails have been floated two or three times.”

Paddlers can choose between “A quiet day float on the cypress-lined Little Pee Dee or an overnight excursion through the Sumter National Forest of the swift-moving Enoree or Tyger Rivers.”

For the more experienced and adventurous paddler there is “The whitewater rapids in the rock-strewn rapids of the Saluda within sight of downtown Columbia, South Carolina.”

In general, “South Carolina, with its mountains-to-sea geography, its warm and humid climate and its largely rural landscapes, can be called a paddler’s paradise.”

Able and Horan divided Paddling South Carolina into three distinct sections. Part I contains an “Introduction,” “South Carolina Overview,” “Outdoor Hazards and Nuisances,” “Planning a Canoe Trip,” “Before Launching” and “How to Use River Information.”

Part II contains a list of the 30 rivers discussed in Paddling South Carolina. Each river is located in one of the three “physiographic regions” that make up the state of South Carolina. For example, there are three general geographic regions: the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Piedmont or Midlands, and the Coastal Plain or Lowcountry. (See Part I: “South Carolina Overview.”)

Part III contains Appendix A, B and C, with a brief section “About the Authors.”

The “Introduction” is brief but contains a message to the reader about what the writers hope to accomplish with their book:

“We hope this book will enable readers to enjoy not only the thrill and delight of paddling in South Carolina waters but also help them understand and appreciate the natural beauty and historic charm that remains preserved in them.”

Mr. Gene Able passed away on May 28, 2001

Mr. Able and Mr. Horn did an excellent job with Paddling South Carolina: A Guide to Palmetto State River Trails. They write to reach a diverse audience and they are successful in their attempt. Their descriptions of South Carolina wildlife and natural scenery are beautiful and breathtaking.

This book is highly recommended even if you are not a paddler in search of a “paddlers’ paradise.” It is recommended for any outdoor enthusiast and lovers of beauty.

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