Summer is fast approaching and, with all the beckoning sunshine and blooming wildflowers, many of us are hitting the trails.
Ashland library assistant Bill Wisdom has created a great display at the front of the library that will delight seasoned hikers and lure potential hikers to the spectacular trails both in and around our region. In addition to showcasing some excellent books on hiking and backpacking, Wisdom points us to related titles that can be found on the library shelves, and offers a take-home trail map and a handy list of trail tips.
The list alone is worth a trip to the library. For example, it recommends the Gin Lin Mining Trail in the Applegate as a favorite trail for people who don't hike. For folks who love flowers, Hobart Bluff is an ideal place to spend the day.
The display highlights the rich variety in this state, from Ashland trails to hikes near Eugene, Portland and the coast. There's a little something for everyone, armchair athletes to hard-core hikers to wine lovers. After rummaging through both the featured books and the stacks, here are my favorites:
"100 Hikes in Southern Oregon," by William L. Sullivan — This is a book we should all have. It lists trails by region, and includes lodging options and details about nearby towns. Turn to the section on the Eastern Siskiyous for trails in and around Ashland. The trails range from easy to strenuous, with options for backpackers, families, mountain bikers, equestrians and people with disabilities. The directions to trailheads are easy to follow and Sullivan's lively descriptions and enthusiasm for the beauty of the area make this a fun guide. While the title only claims 100 hikes, there are another 100 bonus hikes listed at the end of the book.
"Backpacker Magazine's Hiking and Backpacking with Kids: Proven Strategies for Fun Family Adventures," by Molly Absolom — If you hike with kids of any age, this pocket-sized book is great. It offers tips on essentials such as what to pack, choosing a destination, safety, keeping kids entertained and what to eat. Crisp, color photos complement the author's concise writing.
"Wine Trails of Oregon: A Guide for Uncorking Your Memorable Wine Tour," by Steve Roberts — I picked this one up thinking it was a guide for hiking and drinking simultaneously. Fortunately, it is instead a responsible guide to various wineries in Oregon. While this book is hardly comprehensive, it's a good start for hikers who love wine.
"A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail," by Angela and Duffy Ballard — This isn't exactly a hiking guide, but the Ballards' memoir of their hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail is fun and inspiring. This chronicle of their five-month journey introduces us to odd characters they meet along the way, and shares the things they learn about each other and themselves. The writing is clumsy at times, but their story is rich and honest, offering lessons in compromise, managed expectations and love.
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Backpacking & Hiking," by Jason Stevenson — When it comes to hiking, I am the complete idiot this author is writing for. I didn't even know what poison oak looked like before I came to Ashland. This book contains just about everything a beginning hiker needs to know, and even a seasoned hiker may find some new tips. Like other books in the "Complete Idiot" series, it has loads of good advice, funny anecdotes and a light tone.
With the library serving up inspiring and informative resources like these on a silver platter, who could possibly stay home?
Angela Decker is a freelance writer in Ashland and can be reached at email@example.com.