View Full Version : Books to enhance the hike.

No Name Hiker
12-14-2009, 15:34
Hey. I'm hoping to make a go of it on the PCT this coming year and was just wondering if there were any books you guys could recommend. Books about hiking the PCT are fine and if there are any standouts in that category feel free to list them but what I mainly had in mind were just books on the region in general. I'm from the east and have only briefly visted the west and will have no idea of the geography, geology, plant life, animal life, etc that I will be running into.

I saw on one thread where someone had suggested reading the book "The Wild Trees" by Richard Preston. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Something well written (that won't put me to sleep like a text book) that gives good and entertaining information on a subject I will be encountering on the PCT - big trees.

I feel that having knowledge of what you're seeing as a hiker/wanderer, even if you are seeing it in person for the first time, adds a lot to the experience. Thanks a lot for any suggestions.

12-14-2009, 16:23
I've read, "The Cactus Eaters," which falls into the about hiking category, it was an entertaining read. Outside of the entertainment, what I learned from it mostly was what not to do, and how not to behave.

12-14-2009, 16:51
Well, the wilderness press guides that most people use to hike the trail does cover alot of that though perhaps not in the depth you want. In fact, that is one of the biggest complaints of the guidebooks is that it covers a lot of things unnecessary for "hiking" the trail and most people aren't interested in the other stuff.

12-14-2009, 17:41
If you're into geology, Assembling California by John McPhee is excellent--maybe a classic.

And John Muir should be required reading before you go into the Sierras. I liked My First Summer in the Sierras a lot, but he wrote a bunch of books.

12-15-2009, 01:53
You will get a good dose of geology(most extensive of all the categories you listed), some general(common) plant names, some history, and a little geography and animal life(not a lot though) from the Widerness Press PCT Guidebooks. You will find trifoldout WP pamplets w/ color pictures on things like - trees, plants, leaves, wildflowers, birds, larger animals, reptiles, cloud formations, and rocks, etc. of the westcoast, CA, OR, and WA at some libraries and the NPs/SPs along the way on the PCT to supplement the Guidebook info. In addition to toting a small regional pocketsized plant book w/ color plates and plant descriptions, that's what I mostly supplemented my hike with.

12-15-2009, 10:35
I thought the "The Catus Eaters" was a good, funny book. It kind of falls in line with other books that have been written by tru hikers of the AT. Some info about trail towns and the enviroment, but mostly a good read that is humerous at times as well, but may not give you a ton of info which it sounds like you are looking for.

12-15-2009, 11:22
For something a little different, you might find some tips on what not to do in the Sierra in "Off The Wall: Death In Yosemite (gripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in America's first protected land of scenic wonders)".

No Name Hiker
12-15-2009, 14:23
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions guys. Assembling California sounds like a book I might be into. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of The Cactus Eaters as well. I got a little way into The Wild Trees last night after picking it up from the library and definitely recommend it if you have any interest in trees, particularly the big western trees (sequoia/redwood). It's well written and excitingly paced while still giving a lot of good solid information on the subject.

Thanks again, and keep the recommendations coming. :D