It’s fashionable to believe that hiking guides are no longer necessary because everyone has a cell phone, an app, and the web. However, nothing can beat a book or map in your pack.
Maybe hiking guides no longer have to sell you on the hike. No need to wax poetic about the beauty of the waterfall or the view. We can leave this to the web. And it’s not a bad place to get hiking ideas.
But when it comes to the actual turn-by-turn directions and how to find the trailhead, we all need the accuracy of a guidebook. So it is with the Foothills Trail (FHT).
The FHT is a 76.2-mile national recreation trail from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park in upstate South Carolina. In between, it crosses into Western North Carolina. The trail features waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and Sassafras Mountain, the highest mountain in South Carolina. So how long would it take you to walk the distance?
For that, you need to pick up Hiking South Carolina’s Foothills Trail by Scott Lynch. The book shows you that you could do it in five days, averaging 15.3 miles, or six days (12.7 miles per day) or seven days, (10.8 miles a day). All of this is figured out for you. Lynch tells you where to start and end and where to camp in between. In addition, the author highlights the crown jewel section in the middle. Concise directions are given from either direction.
But what if you don’t want to backpack? No problem. The guide offers clear directions to major and minor trailheads, so you can plan a dayhike.
Yesterday, I led a Carolina Mountain Club hike on the FHT to Sassafras Mountain and back. Usually, I photocopy the pages I need but this pocket guide is the perfect size to put in your pack or even your pocket.
Scott Lynch is a former outdoor guide who’s written other books on the area. With a guidebook, it’s also important to look at the publisher, Milestone Press.
They’ve been publishing outdoor guides for over twenty years. Their books are well done, clear, and most important to me, they’re accurate at the time of publication.
It might seem like a lot of money on a per page basis. But you’re paying for a book that’s also an annotated map. Therefore, you get a map and book, together. Quite a good deal.
Hiking South Carolina’s Foothills Trail, Paperback by Scott Lynch
72 pages, $16.95 Publisher: Milestone Press, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1889596303