If you’ve ever wondered how best to enjoy Mount Rainier, Douglas Lorain’s got a trail for you.

“One Best Hike: Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail” is a comprehensive, enthusiastic guide to the 92-ish mile (incredibly, there’s no true accounting of the distance) trail that rings the lower slopes of the eight-thousand foot stratovolcano that dominates the Pacific Northwest, literally and figuratively. Rarely have I encountered a guidebook that is so comprehensive and such an unapologetic sell-job on the area it covers. The rah-rah nature of the vigorous extolling is revealed on page four where “A Contrarian’s View,” is printed in an inset text box.

Evidently, the editor of a major hiking magazine once panned the Wonderland hike. Mr. Lorain roundly dismisses him as a fool who wouldn’t know a good hike if he went on one, but to Mr. Lorain’s credit he does lay out all the possible pitfalls you might encounter on the Wonderland Trail all the while maintaining that despite these obstacles, the joy and the beauty prevail. He also says hiking hurts and bring full rain gear, but most hikers would agree with that advice even if they don’t normally voice it.

“One Best Hike: Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail” sets out to be “a complete trail guide that fully describes the main trail, several alternate routes, and dozens of the best side trips,” and “guides you through the often complex planning and logistics required.” Indeed, experienced hikers will find themselves skipping over the chapters on Hypothermia, Blisters, Bears & Bugs, What to Bring etc… to get to the heart of this book: the comprehensive trail descriptions and trail maps in the back.

This is an excellent book for a novice hiker who’s interested in hiking the Wonderland trail. Mr. Lorain is methodical and brutally honest in his assessment of hiking, its joys and its difficulties. He gives exact, detailed advice on what to pack, when to go, what to expect, how to get in shape and so on. It’s also, if you don’t mind carrying the extra pages, an excellent book for a more experienced hiker planning to spend time on the Wonderland Trail. One Best Hike is a good read as well; Mr. Lorain’s got a lifetime of opinions, observations and advice to share about hiking in general and the Wonderland Trail in particular.

Details:
Title: One Best Hike: Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail
Author: Douglas Lorain
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Pages: 190
Published: 2012 (first edition)

 

 

 

 

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