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Book Recommendations

Camping and Backpacking How to:


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Camping with Kids
Parents' Guide to Hiking & Camping : A Trailside Guide (Trailside Guide Series) by Alice Cary. Why do I like this book? Simple: Alice makes liberal use of quotes from you know who. So, If you are starved for some of my advice (to say nothing of an excellent guide for parents' who want to take their kids camping, buy this book.
Camping and Backpacking With Children by Steven Boga. I purchased a copy of this book at a store in Silverton, Colorado. At the time we were tent camping with our 1.5 and 4 yr olds. While sipping my coffee, in the quiet of the morning, I'd read this book waiting for the others to awaken. Full of excellent advice, consider this book if your family camping interests tend more toward backpacking than car camping.
Backpacking With Babies and Small Children : A Guide to Taking the Kids Along on Day Hikes, Overnighters and Long Trail Trips, 3rd ed. by Goldie Silverman. I have the first edition of this book, first published in 1975 and reprinted in 1986. I've not seen the latest edition (to which the link above refers). This slim volume is packed full of great ideas from a woman who backpacked with her kids, and now backpacks with her grandkids. The edition I have is solidly grounded in the early low-tech, use what gear you have at hand, backpacking ethos. Accordingly, the book talks about the joys of tarps as shelter and provides tips on how to make one's own gear (e.g., a poncho with two hoods for use when carrying a child in a carrier).
Backpacking and Camping How-to
Beyond Backpacking : Ray Jardines Guide to Lightweight Hiking by Ray Jardine. Tired of ordinary backpacking? Looking for innovative (extreme) ways to lighten your load? I'm not sure I'd ever want to practice Jardine's fast-paced, high-milage, push-the-envelope approach to experiencing the backcountry. Jardine's his approach will either inspire you or leave you shaking your head muttering "nut, he's a nut!"
Long-Distance Hiking : Lessons from the Appalachian Trail by Roland Mueser. Don't let this book's sub title lead you astray. Yes, although learned from through-hiking the AT, this book has something for every backpacker. What sets this book apart is the author's fastidious record keeping. Yes, Colin Fletcher is meticulous. Maseur is even more so. Maseur approaches backpacking as one would expect an engineer to approach the takes: data rule. Eager to discover the most effective fly-dope, Mauser conducted multiple trials of various concoctions. How? By applying the stuff, then running through woods during mosquito/black fly season. At the end of the run, he counted the number of bites received. His approach to gear, food, shelter, etc. all benefit from the same methodological approach. Oh, curious about the most effective fly dope? Read the book to find out.

NEW! The Complete Walker IV : The Joys and Techniques of Hiking and Backpacking by Colin Fletcher. The Classic, now thoroughly revised and updated for 2002. Order today from in Hardback or Paperback.

In grade school I read Colin Fletcher's Thousand Mile Summer and The Man Who Walked Through Time. I received the first edition of the Complete Walker as a gift in 1972 or 1973. Over time I accumulated The New Complete Walker and, The Complete Walker III in 1984. It is a thrill that Fletcher has updated this authoritative classic. Despite all the hype by marketers of outdoor gear, not much has really changed. This book is a classic. What adventures has Colin experienced recently? Your answer is in River : One Man's Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea.

Mountaineering : The Freedom of the Hills by Don Graydon (Editor), Kurt Hanson (Editor), Mountaineers(Society), 6th Ed. Ever wondered how to read a cornice? Rappelle? Build a snow cave in less than 6 inches of snow? Clean a pitch? Carry gear in winter? Well, good! Because this authoritative book, now in its 6th edition, is without peer.

First Aid in the Backcountry

Medicine for Mountaineering & Other Wilderness Activities, 4th ed. by James Wilkerson (Editor). This authoritative volume, now in its 4th edition, is the one I turn to the most for answers when I have questions about backcountry medical issues. Curious how to set a compound fracture? Interested in the best way to treat a heel blister? Want to know the most effective way to treat your drinking water, or whether you should even bother? This book provides answers to this and myriad other issues.

On a historical note, I acquired the 2nd edition of Medicine For Mountaineering shortly after it was published in 1975. Comparing the 2nd and 4th editions provides an interesting window into how backcountry medicine has advanced. For example, understanding of hypo- and hyperthermia have expanded greatly, with corresponding advances in treatment protocols. Water treatment is another area that has expanded considerably.

This book is too bulky to carry in your backpack, but I consider it a must have element of my home library.

Canoe Trekking
Roughing It Elegantly : A Practical Guide to Canoe Camping by Patricia J. Bell, Linda Oliver Isakson (Illustrator).
How to Manage Bear Encounters

Bear Encounter Survival Guide by Gary Shelton, James Gary Shelton and Bear Attacks : The Deadly Truth by James Gary Shelton

About these Gary Shelton books, Bob Bollinger says, "I [would not] permit anyone to go with me into grizzly country w/o reading at least one of them."

Bear Attacks : Their Causes and Avoidance by Stephen Herrero. A classic treatment of the scientific evidence illuminating the factors that precipitate or covary with bear attacks on humans.
Travel Adventure: By Foot

Colin Fletcher

  • The Thousand Mile Summer
  • The Man Who Walked Through Time
  • The Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher
  • River
Lost on Everest : The Search for Mallory and Irvine by Peter Firstbrook. The discovery of George Mallory's long-missing body on Mt. Everest generated a plethora of grotesque magazine covers and a flurry of books. Firstbrook, a BBC employee who was part of the multi-national team that located Mallory's body, enters the fray with this book. If you are looking for a chronicle of the events surrounding the dissapearance and subsequent relocation of Mallory, this book does a competent job. What surprised me most about this book is that, despite Firstbrook's best efforts, I found Mallory a relatively uninteresting, boring character hard to get excited about. Irvine, in contrast, emerged from the pages as as much more interesting. Exactly why I had this reaction continues to perplex me. If you read this book, perhaps you can help me understand this reaction. An ok read, but adds nothing not covered as well or better in articles that appeared in Outside or National Geographic Explorer Magazines.
Travel Adventure: By Boat
River : One Man's Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea, by Colin Fletcher
Travel Adventure: By Bicycle
Against the Wind: A Maine to Alaska Bicycling Adventure, by Marty Basch.
Natural History
Bernd Heinrich

A Year in the Maine Woods was my first introduction to Bernd Heinrich. Indeed, I picked this title because of the title. The romantic in me longs to spend a year -- or more -- deep in the Maine woods. I knew nothing of the author. That changed quickly. Heinrich has the observant eye one would expect of a wildlife biologist. Yet, Heinrich is also attuned to the human element. This book has something for the naturalist (well, yes, Heinrich routinely scours Maine's back roads for road kill ... for consumption by self and his ravens) and for the romantic longing to experience a year in the Maine woods. This book enthralled me so that I next explored the improbably named ...

The Trees in My Forest. Have you ever wondered why desiduous trees loose their leaves each fall? No? Well, neither had I. This delightful narrative explores countless aspects of trees about which you have likely never pondered, but will find enthralling none-the-less.

Living on the Wind : Across the Wind With Migratory Birds by Scott Weidensaul. Have you ever wondered where your backyard birds go when they disappear in the Fall? In the spring, while watching renewed birdlife, do you wonder what they experienced over the intervening months? You may be shocked to learn that the unassuming bird at your backyard feeder may have recently traveled 7000 miles. Weidensaul's passion for birds drives this enthralling account of the bird migratory patterns. His narrative takes us to the numbrous corners of the globe he has visited in pursuit of understanding where birds go when they migrate and the route they take to get there. Some birds choose a route that requires multiple days of non-stop flight over water. Some birds' migratory routes take them from one elevation to another, depending on the season. Perils facing migratory birds also attract Weidensaul's pen. Rainforest destruction is familiar to us thanks to the popular press. Less familiar are the perils posed by the fractering of intact wood- and wetlands in North America. Fracturing that not only decreases available breeding habitat, but also increases nest predation by racoons and other nest parasites. The cowbird, which is rapidly expanding its range, is a songbird nest parasite putting increasing pressue on songbird populations.

A fascinating read. Highly Recommended.

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