Guidebooks help reveal new ways to explore Oregon – April 25, 2004

Guidebooks help reveal new ways to explore Oregon

Herald and News

Klamath Falls, Oregon
April 25, 2004

There’s a reason my rucksack and backpack get heavier.
Normally, when I’m planning an outing, the routine includes making copies of pages from hiking guides about specific trails or climbs. Those few pages weigh much less than the whole book.
Sometimes that’s not possible. One book that can’t be condensed into a few carefully chosen pages is “Field Guide to the Cascades & Olympics,” the second edition by Stephen R. Whitney and Rob Sandelin, $19.95, The Mountaineers Books.

There are many good outdoor guides but “Field Guide” is special. Handy color tabs provide easy access to a variety of topics, including geology, ferns, mushrooms, flowering plants, shrubs, trees, insects, butterflies, birds, mammals and even amphibians, reptiles and trout and salmon.

Photocopying passages from guidebooks about specific trails or climbs can help lighten your load when hiking.

Those tabs also lead to more than 700 color illustrations with excellently drawn images of everything from yellow spotted millipedes to Aleutian maidenhair ferns to Shasta fir cones.

The comprehensive field guide is amazingly specific. The color illustrations and brief written explanations help explain the difference between squirrels and chipmunks, and identify variations between Townsend’s and yellow-pine chipmunks.

It’s easier to be more selective with other recent publications, including “Best Hikes with Dogs: Oregon,” and the second edition of “Hiking Oregon’s Geology,” both by Ellen Morris Bishop, both $16.95, The Mountaineers Books.

“Dogs” lists 75 dog friendly/fun/safe trails. Along with the usual driving-to directions, the listings include information on specifics, such as whether dogs can run free or be leashes, plus “best canine season.” A chart also breaks hikes in categories, including “easy on paws.” “good for senior dogs” and “best for well-conditioned dogs.”
Unfortunately, few of the trails are in the Klamath Basin, but the list includes hikes on the Upper Rogue River, North Umpqua and Union Creek trails.
There’s also good general advice on 10 canine essentials, what to pack in a doggie first-aid kit and ways of reducing dog impacts on the environment.

“Hiking Oregon’s Geology” expands the original edition, but even with 90 trails the only three in the Klamath Basin are Mount Scott, The Watchman and the Pinnacles at Crater Lake National Park.

For people heading out of the area, the book provides information on places like Steens Mountain and the Pueblo Mountains of far Eastern Oregon, and Upper Table Rock, Mount Ashland and Pilot Rock in the Rogue Valley.
It’s further afield, but “Washington’s Highest Mountains: Basic Alpine & Glacier Routes,” by Peggy Goldman, $17.95, Wilderness Press, is an impressive compendium of that state’s climbing routes.

Based on personal experience, Goldman’s writing is accurate and helpful. And, with my summer plans including more travels in the Lake Chelan region of the North Cascades National Park, copies of selected pages will be in my backpack.

Staying at home will be “High Rocks And Ice: The Classic Mountain Photographs of Bob and Ira Spring,” $18.95, The Globe Pequot Press.

“High Rocks” features a dazzling array of black and white photographs that reveal the allure of glaciers and mountain peaks.
The brief narratives provide helpful insights. My favorite is about a photo assignment in the Canadian Rockies, where one of the brothers settled in a crevasse and photographed a climber leaping across the yawning opening. From another story I learned that the Paradise Ice Cave on Mount Rainier I visited in the early 1970s was actually another, now vanished ice cave on the Stevens Glacier.

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