If you hike, backpack, bicycle or kayak in California or Nevada, a series of guidebooks published by the Wilderness Press in Berkeley should be your outdoor companions.
The latest entry in the "Afoot & Afield" series is "Reno-Tahoe: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide" by Mike White ($19.95, 362 pages with maps and black-and-white photos).
It is a thorough, professionally polished guide that highlights 175 treks in the Lake Tahoe Basin and around Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Gardnerville, Nev. The hikes range from easy to extreme.
Veteran outdoorsman-writer White includes valuable details with each trip: a map, hiking distance and time, elevation gain, level of difficulty, trail use ("Good for kids," "Dogs and mountain biking OK," "Backpacking options," etc.), best months to go, recommended topographical maps and phone numbers for more information.
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White details the sights that hikers will encounter along the way -- cliffs, meadows, streams, forests of white pine and red fir -- and touches on area histories, much of it from Gold Rush days.
The destinations of many of the hikes are alpine lakes, where swimming and fishing are possibilities.
We especially appreciate White's technique of acting as a personal guide, informing hikers of vistas, landmarks and points of interest, and telling us when and where to turn and in which direction to head.
Getting confused or lost are not options, which is reassuring given the sloppy way many trails are marked and the way too many trailheads are practically hidden.
For more information: www.wildernesspress.com.