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Monday, October 29, 2012

New Hiking Book Review

Last week I got an email asking me to review a guidebook about hiking in the North Carolina mountains. I have never formally reviewed a book before, but the subject material was right down my alley. I said yes and got my complimentary copy in the mail a few days later. So here you thoughts and opinion on the book without any research on “how to write a book review”.

Title: Hiking the Shining Rock & Middle Prong Wildernesses
Author: Tim Homan.
Published by Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA. 
Copyright 2012


Good guidebooks are the ones where the author covers the subject material in such as way that gives the reader interesting, relevant details from a personal perspective. Many books I've read over the years are more of a listing of topics with little personal experiences. This tends to makes book dull. I'd rather read from someone who makes the experience memorable.

Tim Homan writes an informative, well organized guidebook about hiking trails in western North Carolina. The scope of the book covers the Shining Rock Wilderness, Middle Prong Wilderness, the northern Blue Ridge Parkway corridor from Richland Balsam in the west to US 276 in the east, and the pocket FS property boarding the Shining Rock Wilderness.

The introductory section includes a brief and interesting history of the region, followed by “Things to Know Before You Go” where Tim writes about blooming dates for wildflowers, camping areas, and weather conditions. Next is the “How to Use Guide” listing trail descriptions, driving directions and maps.

The core of the book is arranged by region with a list of trails in each part. I like how the author lists trail specifics like length, difficulty(both for day hiker and backpackers), if the trail is blazed and if so what color, usage(foot traffic only, multiple use, etc.) and features. Tim explains in delightful detail about what makes the hike interesting like views from different points along the way, what wildflowers you are likely the see on the trails at various seasons, and the forest types you will encounter from beginning to end. With theses detailed notes, species profiles, and botanical drawings in the “Nature Notes” section, you the reader can see the beauty right on the page.

Below is a sample chapter:

Whether you are a occasional day hiker or diehard backpacker, I recommend this guidebook for anyone who loves to hit the trail of the North Carolina mountains.

Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for my review only a complimentary copy of the book.

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