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Bookmonger: Everyone should walk on the wild side

“A Woman’s Guide to the Wild” by Ruby McConnell

“The Creaky Knees Guide” by Seabury Blair Jr.

It looks like Seattle’s Sasquatch Books just about cornered the market on outdoor guidebooks this spring by issuing both “A Woman’s Guide to the Wild” and “The Creaky Knees Guide.”

In “A Woman’s Guide to the Wild,” geologist and outdoorswoman Ruby McConnell of Eugene, Oregon, anticipates just about any objection that an able-bodied woman might come up with to avoid getting out into the wilderness, and once and for all dispels with the need to make excuses.

To whet your appetite, she presents her own recommendations for easily accessible green spaces in urban areas, from Seattle to Tampa.

She also assembles a short list of refuges nationwide that provide the best place to view wildlife.

Inexplicably, her list contains no sites in the Pacific Northwest — but maybe keeping a low profile is better

for the local wildlife, or for preventing more Malheur-style armed takeovers.

McConnell doles out advice on tents, sleeping pads and outdoor clothing essentials. She develops packing lists for different types of expeditions. She tells you how to assemble first aid kits, read maps, and build a fire pit. She provides recipes and tips for outdoor cooking.

Don’t feel quite ready yet? She tells you how to minimize the risk of sunburn, dehydration, hypothermia, lightning strikes and dangerous encounters with wildlife. She talks about how to avoid getting lost — and, if you do get lost, the best way to get found again. She presents a common-sense list of outdoor etiquette.

And because this is gender-specific, McConnell discusses “feminine functions” in frank detail — including eight informative pages on “how to pee in the woods.”

“A Woman’s Guide to the Wild” is unabashedly matter-of-fact and cheerfully can-do, a great kick-in-the-pants for outdoorswomen wannabes.

Retired outdoor columnist Seabury Blair Jr. has built a second career as a guidebook author with his “Creaky Knees” guides. Like McConnell, he is an advocate for getting way outside, and he clearly believes that just because folks are getting a little long in the tooth or stiff in the joints doesn’t mean they should be sentenced to spending their remaining years sitting in front of the television set.

His latest Creaky Knees iteration boasts that it provides “the 75 best easy hikes” in national parks and monuments in Washington and Oregon.

Blair reminds readers about the “10 Essentials” for hiking, and also provides some cautionary words about weather, water and wildlife.

But unlike McConnell’s book, this guide assumes that you know the hiking basics.

Blair features hikes in the three national parks in our state and Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, as well as the following national monuments: San Juan Islands, Mount St. Helens, John Day Fossil Beds, Newberry Volcanic, Cascade-Siskiyou and Oregon Caves.

A chart rates hikes along a spectrum that runs from “Stroll in the Park” to “Prepare to Perspire.” It also indicates whether the hikes are child- and dog-friendly.

The sun’s shining and there are no excuses left: It’s time to get out and explore!

The Bookmonger review appears each week in Take Five. Contact her at bkmonger@nwlink.com.

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