Someone suggested I purchase this book when I started hiking Shenandoah National Park (SNP) over 20 years ago. I've since purchased and been given other hiking guides to the region but none come close to the practicality and readability of this consummate guide. Most importantly, the balance of detail is perfect -- everything of interest from botanical to historical observations are here without getting lost in the woods. The author loves what he is writing about and it comes through. If summitting "Old Rag" is the best hike in the SNP (and I think it is, although the author opts for the trail up Hogcamp Branch), consider this the "Old Rag" of hiking books. You'll need to buy it used but it will be a long time before it goes out of date.
Best hiking/touring guide ever written
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 15 years ago
One of my (many) peculiarities is that I love to read hiking guides, even for places I've never visited and probably never will. They may appear to be dry tabulations of mileages and directions and features, but in all cases the authors' love of the landscape comes out in some small way or another, and it's fun to catch the authors being personal when they're trying to be dry. But Henry Heatwole's book is different. Whereas other authors try to hide their personalities, and you have to work hard to catch it as it sneaks out, Heatwole allows his personality to flow out easily yet unobtrusively. His love for the landscape of Shenandoah National Park is tangible and contagious. His love for a thoughtful, considered life is a bit harder to find, but it's there as well. Again it is unobtrusive, but this is in some sense a philosophical guide to living a good life as well as a touring guide to the Skyline Drive and a hiking guide to Shenandoah's many trails. I recommend this book even to those who will never visit Shenandoah.
"THE" Book On Shenandoah National Park!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
This book is out of print because the author has passed away and there are (unfortunately)disagreements on updates. Today, one would have to buy at least three hiking books, a general park overview book, a park history book and a few maps just to remotely compare to the information included in *this* book!Mr. Heatwole provides an enjoyable mile-by-mile overview on the park. Containing incredibly detailed information on trails (hikes by milepost, length, estimated hiking time, elevation changes, etc.), park animals, plants, weather, camping, waterfall heights, geology, mountain range names and more, this is THE book on Shenandoah National Park!!
Perfect of its type
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
The late author not only knew and loved the trails of S.N. Park intimately; he had the rare gift of organizing his material for maximum usefulness to the reader. A vast amount of information is in the book, yet none of it superfluous, and it never overwhelms. The author wrote with an understated charm reminiscent of Frost's New England characters. Some of the book's facts are obsolete, but only a very few. The guide is not merely descriptive, but charitably evaluative, thus doubling its unsefulness. Any who love the Park and its trails will surely treasure this book; it has no equal or replacement.
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