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Hiking companion

Winter snow has covered the 165-mile-long Tahoe Rim Trail, a miracle of volunteerism that sweeps along the ridges and mountaintops around the Tahoe Basin. Ranging in elevation from 6,200 feet to 10,333 feet, it takes hikers through meadows and forests, and around lakes and granite cliffs.

While we're waiting for the spring melt, there's "Tahoe Rim Trail: Exploring the Jewel" by Mark Vollmer and Scott Sady (Carmel Publishing Co., $35). This is an amazing book of color photographs of the trail's eight segments, with informational text offering some guidance to hikers: It's good to know what you're seeing and what lies ahead.

Once the TRT is again accessible, don't hike it without a good companion -- in this case, "The Tahoe Rim Trail: A Complete Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers and Equestrians" by Tim Hauserman (Wilderness Press, $15.95). It has directions to the trailheads, advice on what to bring, hiking highlights, tips and maps.

Both books are at bookstores and sporting-goods stores, and at