▪ “Peterson Field Guide to Finding Mammals in North America,” by Vladimir Dinets
$19.95; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 348 pages
How many times, while hiking, have you wondered what creature in the world belongs to that animal footprint? How many times do you search in vain for hidden wildlife? This book, written by a zoologist specializing in animal behavior, offers tips such as wearing clothing that blends in to the surroundings, how to walk “softly,” and the hours best for spotting mammals (sunset and before sunrise; but watch out for mountain lions in these parts). Dinets says California is “one of the world’s top 10 destinations for naturalists.” There also are informational nuggets to bore people with at dinner parties. To wit: Yosemite National Park “has the world’s highest chipmunk diversity” (six species).
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▪ Alton 2.0 Black hiking boots by Wicked Hemp
Vegan-friendly hiking boots? Yes, that’s a thing. There are many choices of boots, but the manufacturer Wicked Hemp leads the way with a durable, affordable pair of non-animal-product boots that do the job, keeping you warm and dry on the trail without creating any bad karma, dude, among the quadrupeds who inhabit the wilderness. As sturdy boots go, they aren’t really heavy (2.5 pounds), either.
▪ “Eleven Key Tips for Female Thru-Hikers”
Willow Beldon in “Backpacker” offers these suggestions to those Reese Witherspoon wannabes out there:
1. Cut your hair really short.
2. Bring a pee rag (a bandana to use in lieu of toilet paper; “Tie it to the outside of your pack, it’ll be dry by the next time nature calls”).
3. Use a menstrual cup. (Dig a cat hole to empty.)
4. Hike commando. (“You won’t get wedgies, and you won’t have to wash out your underwear.”)
5. Bring twice as much chocolate as you think you’ll need.
6. Embrace your feminine side. (“Wear earrings, or hike in a skirt.”)
7. When hitchhiking into towns to resupply, do it safely. (“Get a ride with day hikers who are heading home from the same trailhead.”)
8. Cry. (“You’re not expected to enjoy every moment.”)
9. Don’t let people talk you out of backpacking alone.
10. Even if you choose to hike solo, make friends.
11. Hike your own hike, and relax.
Nicky Yates (@nickyyates): “For the record, Toms shoes make a very poor snow to sand transition shoe... #travelfail”
Compiled by Sam McManis, firstname.lastname@example.org