Holiday Gifts for Your Hiking Buddies – Part 1: Camp Reads

Support your local bookstore this holiday season and pick up one of these motivational gems for your trail loving family and friends. Or you can click on the links below to buy them from my favorite Seattle Bookstore, Elliott Bay Book Company.

Check back next week for Holiday Gifts for Your Hiking Buddies: Part 2!



The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby by William Dietrich *LOCAL PICK*

This love letter to the truly awe-inspiring region of the North Cascades is broken up into three sections. First you are taken on a journey from the babbling creek valley floor through towering evergreens, up the arduous and famously steep switchbacks, then finally up onto the most rugged and desolate peaks in the country. Along the journey you learn about the history of the region and about the ongoing struggles between the loggers, activists, energy providers and recreationists.

The second section of the book profiles a range of people who’s everyday life is affected by this region such as conservationists, mountain climbers, and volunteers that inspire a younger generation to enjoy the outdoors.

Famed trail guide writer Craig Romano completes the book with a practical guide to visiting the area complete with trail maps, hike descriptions and lodging info.

Car Camp, Day Hike or Backpack?  Car Camp

Take this stunning all-color large format paperback with you on your next road trip to the North Cascades to guide you through the journey.




The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

This is the perfect gift for the hiker who is fascinated by plant life along the trail and enjoys a cold beverage after a long hike. This boozy botanical encyclopedia teaches you the history of the plants that make your favorite spirits and brews. Northwest hikers will recognize these entries: juniper, gentian, maidenhair fern, elderberry, violet, douglas fir, pine and spruce.

Bonus stocking stuffer!  Clear Creek Distillery Douglas Fir Eau-de-Vie: Portland’s Steve McCarthy spent 10 years perfecting this spirit infused with spring-time douglas fir buds. It’s featured in the book along with a recipe for the ‘Douglas Expedition’ cocktail.

Car Camp, Day Hike or Backpack?  Car Camp
I say this not only because the book is hefty but also because the ‘Douglas Expedition’, concocted of dry gin, douglas fir infused eau-de-vie and elder flower cordial, can only truly be appreciated when consumed from a tin cup while sitting in one of those canvas chairs that folds up like an umbrella.




The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

What this book is not: Eat, Pray, Love. What this book is: a sprawling novel about a  botanist in Victorian times who is trying to find her place in the world. She travels, falls in love with a man who paints orchids, and acquires a particular fondness for moss. This is a great pick for a fiction loving naturalist.

Car Camp, Day Hike or Backpack?  Day Hike

This book begs to be read while laying in a wondrous field of wildflowers or while leaned up against a mossy tree. It’s a bit on the hefty side (512 pages) so save it for the shorter trips.




Hiking Washington’s History by Judy Bentley *LOCAL PICK*

Bonus stocking stuffer!  WTA membership with a NW Forest Pass or Discovery Pass

In this fascinating historical trail guide, Judy reminds us that even though it may sometimes feel like we are discovering a wild place for the first time, there were many many footsteps there before us. Some of the trails we hike in the Cascades have been frequented for thousands of years like the trail from Cascade Pass to Stehekin. Other trails are haunted by tragedy like the Iron Goat Trail at Stevens Pass where in 1910 more than 96 people died after a train was swept away by an avalanche.

The book explores trails all over the state from Cape Flattery at the very northwest tip to Palouse Canyon in the southeast part of the state. Some of my favorite historical trails include the Monte Cristo Townsite, Old Robe Canyon, Ebey’s Landing, Elwha River (Press Expedition), Cape Disappointment and so many more.

Car Camp, Day Hike or Backpack?  All of the above

As I am a total trail history nerd, it should come as no surprise that this book practically lives in my backpack. As soon as I got it I read it straight through in one sitting. Before going on a hike featured in the book, I re-read that trail’s entry, I then read it again while on said trail and then one final time upon returning home. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love this book.



Wild  by Cheryl Strayed

We’ve all heard about it, and for good reason. Cheryl’s story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after the loss of her mother is beautiful and truly inspiring. I consider this an essential for anyone who has felt lost in their life and looked to the outdoors for inspiration.

Bonus stocking stuffer!  red hiking boot laces

Car Camp, Day Hike or Backpack?  Backpack

This paperback is light and compact making it necessary cargo for the true wanderer on a long journey to self discovery.


Leave a Reply