Here’s my round-up of useful, informative, engaging, and gripping reads and resources for the outdoor adventurer on your list this season. Many represent the most influential, and well-thumbed, titles on my personal bookshelf, while others highlight new and notable offerings that have come on my radar in recent months.
Reading the Forested Landscape by Tom Wessels
This book has taught me more about the story of the New England landscape than any other resource. An invaluable, accessible, and quick read to help you identify the clues that reveal the history of the land around you. $21.95.
Secrets of Warmth: For Comfort and Survival by Hal Weiss
I would consider this slender volume to be the single-most useful resource for understanding—and preventing—heat loss in cold weather. Though some of the materials and insulation it describes are dated at this point (published 1999), the basic background information is timeless and exceptionally helpful for winter adventuring. Out of print at the moment, but still available through Amazon (from $7.95).
Scudder’s White Mountain Viewing Guide by Brent E. Scudder
A collection of meticulously sketched and labeled views from atop 54 peaks throughout New Hampshire. If you have ever wondered what all those peaks were out there, this book is the answer. $18.95. (Also check out the more recent New Hampshire Roadside Viewing Guide.)
White Mountain Guide Tyvek Map Set
Waterproof and all but indestructible, these should be an essential component of any White Mountain hiker’s gear list. A crucial upgrade to the much less durable paper versions that come with the White Mountain Guide. $29.95 for the set of four maps.
Mount Washington and the Heart of the Presidential Range by Bradford Washburn
The ultimate, most-detailed map of an iconic mountain by one of the world’s most iconic adventurers. A work of art as well as an indispensable backcountry resource. $10.95
Long Trail Guide by the Green Mountain Club
Most of the hiking opportunities in Vermont center around the 272-mile Long Trail. If there’s only one Vermont hiking book on your shelf, it should be this essential guide—now in its 27th edition. $18.95.
The Geology of New Hampshire’s White Mountains by Eusden et al.
Published last year, this book offers an in-depth, yet accessible and visually compelling, exploration of the complex geology of the White Mountains. $35.00.
No Limits but the Sky: The Best Mountaineering Stories from Appalachia Journal edited by Christine Woodside
Drawing from more than a century of published adventures, this just-published anthology gathers the most gripping, compelling, and armchair-clenching accounts from around the world. Memorable tales of accidents, perseverance, and personalities. $18.95.
AMC’s Best Backpacking in New England by Matt Heid
No list would be complete without a shameless plug for my own recently updated guidebook to New England’s wildest backcountry adventures. In my humble opinion, it is of course the best book ever written about anything ever. 😉 $19.95.