is a greatest hits of previous Mountaineers guidebooks for Washington, collecting in a single volume 100 hikes from the guides to the Alpine Lakes
, North Cascades
, Glacier Peak
, Mount Rainier
, and South Cascades and Olympics
regions. The intelligence behind the selection comes from Ira Spring and Harvey Manning, who between them have more than 100 years of hiking experience in Washington. Owners of other Mountaineers guides will notice that the production values of this volume are even higher than usual; color maps and photos adorn high-quality (recycled) paper. At-a-glance information for easy browsing includes the following: mileage, suggested duration in hours or days, high point, elevation gain, seasonality, topo map codes, and additional contact information. The text synopses are colorful and politically opinionated (woe to the dirt biker who crosses paths with these two!). Their sense of tradition is also readily apparent: "To start with the ice cream and work through the meatballs and potatoes to the soup is not esthetic. Coming to the Enchantments by way of Aasgard is in very bad taste."
While avid hikers will have plenty to argue about concerning the sins of omission, it's hard to argue with the inclusion of Mount Rainier's Wonderland Trail, Whatcom Pass in the North Cascades, Image Lake in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and the Olympics' High Divide. These represent some of the most spectacular hikes in North America. The downside is that you're not likely to find solitude in such places, no matter how remote. But there are 95 more trails to choose from, many of similar scenic beauty and slightly less fame.
Worth purchasing for the photos alone. -- The News Tribune [Tacoma, WA]