Saturday, February 19, 2011

Explorer's Guides: 50 Hikes in Orange County (Review)


Recently, Ashley and I were sent a copy of Explorer's Guides: 50 Hikes in Orange County. The book is written by Karin Klein, who is an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times and a volunteer naturalist and hike leader at Caspers Wilderness Park, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This is a great book and one that I would recommend, as it is well written and has a lot of useful information.

Upon receiving the book, I read though all the hikes and had very favorable impressions as to the descriptions and layout of the book. The book is broken down into three main categories: Coastal Hikes, Foothill Hikes, and Santa Ana Mountain Hikes. One of the unique things about this book, that I liked, is the history and detail that is put into each hike description. When reading about the different trails in the book, there were plenty of things from a historical perspective that I did not know before reading this book. Karen has used her skill as a editorial writer and her knowledge as a naturalist to write a great hiking guide book that details many of the best hikes in Orange County, some of which were new to me.

The book starts off with a general introduction into the ecology of Orange County as well other safety information on Poison Oak, Ticks, Rattlesnakes, Mountain Lions, and other general Trail Safety and Trail Etiquette. The book also has 4 appendixes at the end of it with further information. Appendix 1 provides a directory of groups in Orange County that offers guided hikes and other nature activities. Appendix 2 lists other books and resources on local wildlife and plants. Appendix 3 lists information about parking and passes. Appendix 4 has a list of resources for children.

Each of the hike descriptions contains information on the mileage of the hike, the type of hike, elevation gain, a description with pictures, maps and some have traihead coordinates. The descriptions are well written and most of them have a historical/nature component to them. The only down side to print is the limited number of pictures that you can include, however the pictures that are provided in the trail descriptions are good and are better than most of those I have seen in other hiking guides.

Personally, I have always enjoyed having a hard copy of local hiking trails and other hikers have shared that same sentiment with me. I would highly recommend this book as it is one of the few that is mainly focused on Orange County Hikes and it is well written. There are also a number of trails in the book that neither Ashley nor I have written about on this blog. We will have a post write-up of one of the trails we did from Karen's book and will have that post up soon. Also if you are interested, Karen leads a monthly hike to the San Juan Hot Springs which are located in/near Caspers Wilderness Park. I am sure she would be more than willing to Autograph the book if you asked. For more information on that guided hike click Here. You can purchase this book through most online retailers, you can also find the book in other places like Barnes and Nobles, and I have seen copies of the book in the Candy Store off of Ortega Highway. 

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