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Outbound library: Trips abound in the Sierra's southern end

The Wilderness Press opened its doors in Berkeley in 1967 and wowed 'em with its first title, "Sierra North," written by founder Thomas Winnett.

WP has been informing enthusiasts ever since with its comprehensive guides to all things outdoors in California, Alaska, Hawaii, the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, New England, Canada and Baja. The target audience includes hikers, backpackers, kayakers, rock climbers, bicyclists, trail runners, surfers, snow skiers, snowshoers -- like that.

WP offers more than 200 books and maps. Each year, it adds 15 new titles and updated editions of older books.

We perused the new eighth edition of "Sierra South: Backcountry Trips in California's Sierra Nevada" by Kathy Morey and Mike White ($18.95, 317 pages, with black-and-white photographs) and liked what's there.

The 84 trips begin south of Yosemite National Park. Handily, readers are first directed to major highways and roads to begin their treks to the trailheads; more detailed directions follow.

Information for each trip includes a map, directions, elevation profile, degree of difficulty, time required (many are over-nighters), mileage, side trips, sidebars (for instance, where to fish at Franklin Lake; how glaciers helped form the Sierra), the type of trip (out and back, loop, semi-loop, etc.), highlights of the hike and a description of what you'll see along the trail.

In a nod to technology, also included are "Global Positioning System data as Universal Transverse Mercator (grid map) coordinates." In other words, GPS users can turn on their expensive toys and maybe play some geocaching games along the way.

For more information: www.wildernesspress.com.

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