Hi Jamie and Editor,
Here's a brownie-point OR. Have fun editing it!
Ow, my lungs are burning...
Brownie Point Acceptor
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MORE THAN 1,000 HIKES
by Tom Stienstra and Ann Marie Brown
Photo from www.foghorn.com
Date: July 3, 2008
Name: Sheila Morrissey
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: geosheila(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Goleta, California, USA
I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and Los Padres National Forest with
friends and my dog. Including consumables, my pack is usually around 25 lb (11 kg). I
always carry a tent.
Publisher: Avalon Travel (Avalon Publishing Group, Inc.)
Year Published: Seventh edition published 2005 (First edition published 1994)
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 1 lb 9.5 oz
Listed Size: N/A
Measured Size: 5.25 in x 8.25 in x 1.25 in
MSRP: US$ 21.95
California Hiking is one of Foghorn Outdoors' guide books for outdoor activities in
different regions. Of course, the activity for this book is hiking and the region is California!
The book lists loads of hikes (apparently more than 1,000 in all, though I didn't count
them) throughout California, divided by region. The first page of the book, after the
publishing information and author profiles that convincingly prove they spend a lot of
time in the outdoors, has a map of California. The California map is divided into 16
chunks, and each region has its own chapter in the book. The region name, chapter
number and page number of that chapter are listed on the map. The regions (in chapter
order, generally from north to south, going from the coast to inland regions) are:
Redwood Empire, Shasta and Trinity, Lassen and Modoc, Mendocino and Wine Country,
Sacramento and Gold Country, Tahoe and the Northern Sierras, San Francisco Bay Area,
Monterey and Big Sur, San Joaquin Valley, Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia and
Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Santa Barbara and Vicinity, Los Angeles and Vicinity, San
Diego and Vicinity, and the Southern Deserts.
The table of contents lists each chapter's page number and gives a bullet point list of the
forests and parks included in that region. Following the table of contents is a detailed
guide to using the book. The introduction lists the authors' favorite California hikes to
waterfalls, hikes to wildflowers, "butt-kicker" hikes, hikes with a view, meadow hikes,
hikes to swimming holes, self-guided nature hikes, hikes among redwoods or sequoias,
short backpacking trips, one-way hikes with a shuttle, beach and coastal walks, hikes to
see wildlife, hikes for bird-watching, summit hikes, island walks, wheelchair-accessible
trails, hikes in desert terrain, hikes for kids, and hikes to see fall colors. The usual hiking-
guide information is also in the introduction, with a detailed day hiking equipment list,
information on foot care and footwear, wildlife facts, tips for avoiding crowds, making
long distance trips work, hiking with dogs and protecting the outdoors.
Each chapter begins with a two-page introduction to the region. The authors note the
main attractions, what type of terrain to expect, and otherwise try to convince me that I
need to visit this region (e.g. "On a perfect day in the redwoods here, refracted sunlight
beams through the canopy, creating a solemn, cathedral-like effect. If feels as if you are
standing in the center of the earth's pure magic.") A map of the whole region, which is up
to 200 mi (320 km) across in the case of the Southern Deserts region, comes after the
chapter introduction. The map shows the region subdivided into smaller areas, with
corresponding map and page numbers listed. The smaller region maps are shown at a
large enough scale to show any roads (including dirt roads) to the trailheads. These maps
have numbers at the trailheads corresponding with hike numbers. A number 1 shown on a
trail maps corresponds with hike number 1 in that chapter.
Most of the hikes listed are day hikes, but there are backpacking trips as well. Each hike
listing gives the name of the hike (and it says "loop", if it's a loop), the distance in miles,
and the approximate amount of time it takes to complete the hike. There is also a
difficulty rating from 1 to 5 and a quality rating from 1 to 10, which the authors say is
"based largely on scenic beauty, but it also takes into account how crowded the trail is and
whether noise of nearby civilization is audible." The general location (nearest town or
which Forest the hike is in) is listed along with the map number and its page number that
the hike can be found on. Each hike has about two or three paragraphs describing the
hike, including what to expect on the trail, possible side trips, campsite information and
when it's best to take this hike. Below the description, each hike has information on user
groups (lists who uses the trail -- hikers, dogs, horses and/or mountain bikes -- and
whether there are wheelchair facilities), permits (states whether permits are required and
any current permit, entrance and/or parking fees), maps (lists the USGS quad for the hike
and any other maps that are available), directions (gives detailed directions from major
freeways) and contact information (gives addresses, web addresses and phone numbers).
FIELD USE CONDITIONS
I most definitely don't take this book on any hiking trips. It's huge! I use it for planning
from my tent on car-camping trips, but I mostly use it at home. Since I got the book in
2005, I have probably read it, stared at it, or poked through it for an hour every week. It's
not the only resource I use for planning hiking trips, but it's usually the first place I turn
when I don't know where I want to go. I have used it to plan trips in 8 of the 16
chapters/regions: Redwood Empire, Tahoe and the Northern Sierra, Monterey and Big Sur,
Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Santa Barbara
and Vicinity, and Los Angeles and Vicinity. I'm having a hard time trying to count how
many of the California Hiking trips I've been on because of this book, but to take a guess,
I'd say it's probably around 25 day hiking and backpacking trips. From reading the Best
Hikes section, I hiked Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls, Santa Paula to Big Cone Camp,
Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls, and I'm planning on doing the Lost Coast Trail. I had
already heard of some of the other Best Hikes and other listed hikes before buying this
book and I don't always hike the exact hike the book lists, so that's part of my problem
not being able to count exactly how many trails I've hiked as as result of reading this book.
Little Lakes Valley got a quality rating of 10. I'd have to agree!
FIELD USE RESULTS
This book is so easy to use: I open it up to the map of California and pick a region to hike.
Okay, it's not so easy to pick, but that's not the book's fault. I browse through the hikes
listed in the region and, with all of the details given, make plans for a hike or make a hike
work with my plans. I sometimes take the hiking trip as listed in the book, and I
sometimes use the information given to plan my own trips. That's easy enough to do with
the contact, map and camping information given for each hike. The first thing I usually
look to see is if dogs are allowed on the trail because I like hiking with my dog. Next, I
check out the quality rating. The numbers are always pretty high, but I find them accurate.
Dusty, boring, unmaintained trails get a 5, and gorgeous, jaw-dropping High Sierra lakes
get a 10. The descriptions let me know whether I'll have a stream crossing or need to
watch out for an easy-to-miss trail. The descriptions are very helpful and I usually copy
down mileages and important notes before heading out on the trail with a topo map.
The hike we took to Big Lake McGee isn't exactly listed in the book, but we got the idea
from the book.
I only ever once found a trail description to be wrong, but I can't blame the book when a
fire stole the trail. Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls is listed as one of the Best Hikes, with a
quality rating of 9. I did like swimming in the Fishbowls and thought the bear claw
scratches on the edges of the water holes were awesome, but the hike was just okay since
it had been completely burned. The "pretty conifer forest" we were supposed to be hiking
through was burned so the hike was hotter than we were expecting. Plus, we lost the
burned trail on the way out.
The hike to Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls was burned, making it a hotter hike than we
Regional maps and hike listings by regions are very easy to use
Camping information listed even on day hikes and lists of available trail maps make it easy
to plan my own trips that stem from a listed hike
It's quick and easy to find out whether dogs are allowed on a given trail
I have found most of the distances, trail conditions, contact information and even beauty
ratings to be reasonably accurate