One of the things I love most about living in Pittsburgh is the abundance of nearby choices we have for hiking, camping, and backpacking (not to mention biking, horseback riding, or rafting!). There are books on every aspect of hiking, camping, backpacking (and more!), for both the novice hiker and the seasoned backpacker. Below are a few that I turn to for inspiration or advice.
- Anything by John Muir. If you weren’t already itching to go hiking or spend a night in the woods, you will be after reading his books. The Yosemite is a classic, and Muir’s descriptions are so vivid that reading this is the next best thing to actually getting there. For a selection of Muir’s writing, try Nature Writings.
- Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Trails, by Jeff Mitchell: Divided by region, this book summarizes several trails throughout the state. The trails listed are of varying difficulty and mileage, and the descriptions, though brief, give you just enough information to get a feel for each route. Some other books to look at for information on hiking in the area are 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, by Donna L. Ruff or 50 HIkes in Western Pennsylvania, by Tom Thwaites.
- Backpacking, by Adrienne Hall: Before you stumble out into the woods with your pack on, it’s probably a good idea to learn a little bit about some basic issues the backpacker might encounter. There are hundreds of books that will give you the basics; I like Hall’s books because she writes specifically for the woman backpacker.
- A Field Guide to Eastern Trees: Eastern United States and Canada, by George Petrides: I love field guides, and this title could just as easily be subsituted with a title about mushrooms, or wildflowers, or birds, or butterflies…you get the idea. Field guides are small and don’t take up too much space (or weight) in a pack, and they’re nice to have along on a hike so that when you see that plant with the beautiful flowers, you can figure out what it is.
For more reading suggestions, check out one of our reading lists on the subject, or browse the library’s display (on the second floor hallway).