There were quite a few books relating to national parks that arrived in 2010, and while we didn't get to read them all, the ones we did we liked. Here's a look back at our Fireside Reads from the year.
Long after his death we continue to celebrate the brilliance of Ansel Adams, who arguably defined landscape photography, often while working in national parks to capture the magnificence of nature.
Part travelogue, part warning shot across the bow, Jonathan Waterman in his latest book takes us on a year-long journey down the Colorado River from source to the Sea of Cortez that should scare the wits out of those in the Southwest convince them to read the dusty writing on the wall.
Can something as seemingly inconsequential as a stone trigger a national park memory in your mind? If you pick up a rock on your next hike in a park, will you wonder about its origin?
From Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail rambles for 2,175 miles, a journey alluring to some for the back-to-nature demands it places on those who set out to hike end-to-end. But this simple footpath, with its day-after-day-after-day of walking through the woods, up and down mountains, and sleeping out in the open, also gives you more than a little time to peer into your own soul, as well as those of others, as Jennifer Pharr Davis discovered during a solo thru-hike.
Although the book is titled One Best Hike: Grand Canyon, what Elizabeth Wenk really provides is a wonderful primer on the geology, wildlife, natural history, and dangers of hiking in Grand Canyon National Park. And she also leads readers down from the South Rim to the Colorado River and back via the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.
If you prefer the steady dip of a paddle over a footstep down a path, a new book about canoeing from Greg Breining is a book of dreams.
It's more than appropriate that this year, the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, that when you visit the parkway you get out and take a hike. And Randy Johnson is ready to tell you where to go.
There's a new book just hitting bookstores that will practically take you by the hand and lead you along some long-distance hikes in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks.
Add Stars Above, Earth Below, a Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks to your library and you'll not only gain a better appreciation of the dark skies over national parks, but you'll also be better informed on the stars twinkling at you.
Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.
Television shows love to portray park rangers as fit and polite, beaming dazzling smiles, displaying knowledge that knows no bounds, nerves of steel, and with dashing personalities. And then there are the realities, as Andrea Lankford describes in her latest book, Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks.
A gorgeous new book of photography that captures the seasons of the High Sierra has arrived, but it comes with a pausing message that this beautiful landscape is changing before our eyes.
Part of FDR's "New Deal," the Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as an economic development tool that would pump both life and dollars into the Appalachian Mountain Range between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. But the long and winding road with the fantastic vistas also took a good deal of life out of the landscape as farms that stood in the path were razed and the families moved off.
U.S. 89 is a relatively narrow thread of pavement that wends its way 1,600 miles from Glacier National Park in northern Montana to Tumacacori National Historical Park in southern Arizona. Along the way, it passes through five states, past seven units of the National Park System, and through thousands of years of human experience. Ann Torrence captures this sliver of history in words and photographs in a story that is decided off the racetrack known as the interstate highway system.
A solitary journey into the vast Gates of the Arctic wilderness provided just the right surroundings for Bill Sherwonit to reflect on his life journey and his particular way of thinking about wilderness, wildness, and himself.
"Repairing Paradise." That's a somewhat inauspicious title for a book that examines how to restore natural settings in the national parks. But in light of many scenarios that are playing out across the National Park System -- from parks being overrun by elk, deer, and even people to ecosystem subterfuge -- repairs are exactly what need to be made.