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Book Review: Backpacking Washington

A few weeks ago I had the chance to finally meet author Craig Romano in person – I was lucky enough to attend one of his presentations and as it turned out it was his first one for his latest book:

Backpacking Washington: Overnight and Multi-Day Routes

To put it lightly it has been far too long since a modern – and easy to use – guidebook for backpacking Washington State has been published. The past decade has been a long run of dayhiking guides, which in reading a recent survey of WTA the numbers said 64% of those responding just dayhike. It is though nice to have a new up-to-date book now. One that wasn’t written in the 1980’s and updated in the late 1990’s! Craig has a passion for the trail and for writing about it.

Even with as many trails as I have traveled, at his presentation I still found many I had never heard of – it was almost embarrassing! Until I realized…why be shamed? Lets go hiking! 😀 But one question to myself, how have I never finished the High Divide in the Olympic National Park? I simply don’t know.

With the average being 18-25 mile trips this is a modern book – for those who can get 2-3 days off. I don’t know about others but for us that is the perfect amount of time. That is about the time an average person can get off from work. And while I sometimes dream of doing “treks” for the most part they have never held my attention – I get ancy after 4-5 days, ready to sit in a car and be lazy in front of my computer – and dream of the next adventure.

Attending Craig’s presentation I was able to experience his book without even reading it – it was a wonderful slide show of many of the hikes in the book, each with personal tales. As he showed Hike 22 on page 113 – Ipsut Creek and Seattle Park it made me smile. That hike (also known as The Mother Mountain Loop) is at Mount Rainier NP. The first time I did it was June 25th, 2005 with my friends Drew and Marty. We did it as a dayhike on a very cold and socked in day (well hey, at least you don’t overheat…..). That was a low snow year (not like this year!)

The hike starts at Mowich Lake and follows the Wonderland Trail down to the Carbon River and then runs up to Seattle and Spray Parks on the Wonderland Trail alternative. It is a loop trail that I would tell everyone that they must experience it once in their lives!

Heading up Cataract Valley:

In the rock and snow “wasteland” of upper Seattle Park:

Me and Drew behind me, one of those moments where if you quit moving you realize just how cold it is up there:

Heading down out of Spray Park:

Those are the kind of wonderful trails written about in this guidebook. Not too wordy, portable size book, true elevation gains (Oh Harvey Manning, how you loved to fib on that!), easy “cheat sheet” for what is at certain mileage on each trail (including potential camping areas). If you live here in Washington State or are thinking of visiting do check out Backpacking Washington: Overnight and Multi-Day Routes.

PS: Look on page 290 – Craig was awesome he even mentions my cookbook in the Recommended Reading section.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of this book for potential review.

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