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New Backpacking Guidebook Out

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Jun 17, 2011 09:30 PM |
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Backpackers rejoice! A new guidebook, Backpacking Washington by Craig Romano, is hot off the presses from Mountaineers Books. It features 70 overnight and multi-day backpack trips in Washington, with suggestions ranging from the Olympic Coast to the Blue Mountains of Southeast Washington and a whole lot in between.

Backpackers rejoice! A new guidebook, Backpacking Washington by Craig Romano, is hot off the presses from Mountaineers Books. It features 70 overnight and multi-day backpack trips in Washington, with suggestions ranging from the Olympic Coast to the Blue Mountains of Southeast Washington and a whole lot in between.

It's been a long time since hikers in Washington have had a comprehensive and up-to-date backpacking book. The most recent backpacking guidebook was published in 2007, and if you're like me, you've been using your old Harvey Manning and Ira Spring guidebooks to help plan your multi-day treks. Problem is, roads have washed out, trails have been neglected and many of the hikes covered by these old guidebooks are inaccessible.

Simply having up-to-date information is going to be extremely helpful. Craig Romano, who has also authored four of Mountaineers Books' Day Hiking guidebooks, has spent the past two years hiking all 1500 miles of trails covered by this guidebook. That's no small undertaking, as most of these hikes are only accessible for three months each year.

Like Romano's Day Hiking books for the Olympics, North Cascades, Central Cascades and Columbia River Gorge, the entries are impeccably researched and descriptions are both vivid and accurate. I've been reading the book on the bus every day, and I've been quite busy adding to my hiking "bucket list."

A couple of weeks ago I caught a part of Romano's backpacking talk at the Lynnwood REI, and Romano excitedly rattled off 22 of his favorite trails from Backpacking Washington. He covers the popular (and enchanted) backpacking destinations, like the Enchantment Lakes and the Enchanted Valley in the Olympics, but also showcases little-known gems such as Kaleeten Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Huckleberry Creek at Mount Rainier.

The backpack trips covered in the guidebook range from 14 to 45 miles, with most from 18 to 25 miles. This isn't the book for a lazy overnighter or for an epic thru-hike. Easy overnighters can be found in the Day Hiking books, and this book contains an appendix that covers all of the hikes in that series that could be turned into a short backpack.

But it is going to be great for weekend backpackers, and those who want to go out for part or even all of a week. Many of the trips can be extended with longer loops and side trips from a base camp. The descriptions in Backpacking Washington are longer than the Day Hiking descriptions and include a handy trip planner that notes good camp locations.

Okay. Enough said. Your long backpacking guidebook wait is over - and just in time for summer. Backpacking Washington is arriving in stores. Or buy it online. If you use WTA's Amazon link to buy the book, we will earn a percentage of your total purchase that we'll put to great use in our trail programs, from maintaining wilderness trails to saving state lands from closing.

If you want to test it out a bit first, head over to the Mountaineers Books website where they have two hikes that you can download for free, as well as the e-book and a pdf of the book. No matter where you buy Backpacking Washington, WTA will receive one percent of the proceeds from the authors and Mountaineers Books. All the way around, it is a good investment.

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