On a cool February morning in 2013 William Walker and L.L. Gaddy pushed off in their kayaks from a landing below Red Bluff Lake in Eastern South Carolina on the first leg of an adventure that would take them the 109-mile length of the Little Pee Dee, one of the South’s most beautiful blackwater rivers. The two men eventually spent 18 days on the water, paddling more than 160 hours along the river over a period of nearly two years. On each day trip they moved a few miles further downriver, making countless detours into flooded swamps, oxbows and old courses of a river made famous as the refuge and launching base for Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, a hero of the American Revolution and the most celebrated patriot in South Carolina history. They stopped often to talk with people on the river—anglers, pleasure boaters, tourists and local residents—and a number of the conversations yielded individual stories recorded in the book.
Walker and Gaddy photographed every mile of the Little Pee Dee, eventually taking more than 10,000 digital images and the best of the photos are displayed in the book. When the water journey was complete Walker flew the river on multiple occasions in his small Cessna aircraft, photographing the winding course through four South Carolina counties—Marlboro, Dillon, Marion and Horry. His aerial images are also a part of the book.
Join the two paddlers on a unique journey of discovery that begins with the initial launch at the Little Pee Dee headwaters into a stream only a few feet across and ends on a 600-foot-wide channel of the river where it enters the Great Pee Dee River near South Carolina’s Atlantic Coast.