As summer creeps inexorably toward us and the weather in the northeast heats up, hikers and would-be hikers will take to trails near and far to experience the simple joy and occasional serendipity of walking in nature. As one of those hikers, I thought it might be nice to highlight a few library resources that can help folks get the most out of their outdoor adventures. While hiking remains one of the most broadly accessible physical endeavors–almost anyone can do it–certain techniques and approaches can benefit experienced and novice trekkers alike. The following items provide excellent information on all aspects of hiking, and represent just a smattering of what CLP has to offer in its catalog.
Long Distance Hiking by Dan Feldman. This book will provide critical information on excelling at long-distance hikes. It covers aspects of nutrition, injury prevention, and camp site planning, and Mr. Feldman’s easy writing style makes it a highly accessible primer. The subject matter works best for more experience trekkers, but it will prove invaluable for rookies prepping for their first-time long haul hikes!
Remote Exposure : A Guide To Hiking And Climbing Photography by Alexandre Buisse. Expert photographer, explorer, and adventurer Alexandre Buisse offers a primer on getting the best pictures out of your outdoor adventure experiences. A veteran of numerous excursions, Mr. Buisse discusses advice on getting the most out of your digital photography, including choosing the best gear, managing your time and photographic methods, and working without a tripod.
Hiking And Backpacking by the Wilderness Education Association. A host of experts offer articles on the basics of preparation and techniques for getting the most out of your hiking adventures. This primer provides ideal advice for beginning hikers, including handy quizzes at the end of each chapter that will test your knowledge of the material as you read it.
Basic Essentials. Solo Hiking by Adrienne Hall. If you’re anything like me you might enjoy the idea of hiking alone. This combines awesome exercise with the opportunity to think and move without the concern of companionship. Sometimes you need that, but solo hiking offers its own challenges, and Adrienne Hall’s book addresses these issues. Safe solo treks require planning, preparation, and care.
The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher & Chip Rawlins. When Field & Stream magazine dubs your book the “hiker’s bible,” you know you’re doing something right! While perhaps a trifle dated for 2014 (this was published in 2002), this handy little book has sold nearly a half-a-million copies throughout its publishing history, and much of the advice it dispenses includes timeless wisdom on making a successful camp, wildlife, and many other aspects of the hiking hobby.
I cannot write a post about hiking without also suggesting perhaps the most valuable hiking book ever published for Western Pennsylvania trekkers:
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, Pittsburgh : Including Allegheny And Surrounding Counties by Donna L. Ruff. Ms. Ruff’s book provides the most critical component of any hiker’s plan: a destination. As the title suggests, this book offers sixty destinations to be more precise! For folks who live in the Pittsburgh area, every entry represents an accessible escape not more than an hour’s drive from your front door! You cannot ask for much more than that!
Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from the great John Muir, America’s greatest naturalist and wilderness preservation advocate:
Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail. John Muir, Our National Parks