Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hiking the Shining Rock & Middle Prong Wildernesses (Book Review)

Recently the folks at Peachtree Publishers sent Ashley and I a book to review titled: Hiking the Shining Rock & Middle Prong Wildernesses by Tim Homan. Tim Homan is an experienced hiker and is widely known as an expert on hiking the trails of the Southeast. He is the author of other regional hiking guides, including Hiking Trails of North Georgia, Hiking Trails of the Cohutta and Big Frog Wilderness, and Hiking Trails of the Joyce Kilmer - Slickrock and Citico Creek Wilderness.

Hiking the Shining Rock & Middle Prong Wilderness contains write-ups on 34 different trails in sections of the Pisgah National Forest and near the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the great things about the book is the detailed history of the region that the book provides. The book provides a history the Shining Rock Region which was once part of the Cherokee Nation. The book also provides a detailed historical account of how the Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed. Additionally, the book talks about the development of North Carolina's Mountain to Sea Trail system, and other preservation efforts in North Carolina.

The hikes in the book are broken down by geographical region. Part 1 contains hikes in the Shining Rock Wilderness, Part 2 are hikes in a nonwilderness area, and Part 3 are hikes in the Middle Prong Wilderness. Each hike provides a rating on how strenuous each hike is, the location of where the trail begins, and other pertinent details of what to expect while hiking on the trail. The author has taken his time in providing you an account of what to expect when on the trail. One of the neat features of the book that Ashley and I liked was the Nature Notes category of each hike write-up which details the type of unique flora and fauna that is found on each particular hike. The only improvement that could be made in the next addition of the hiking guide would be to provide an individual trail map for each hike. As currently printed, the trail maps are present at the beginning of each section as a generic overview.  Additionally a couple of more pictures in the book would be a great addition as well. Overall, this is a detailed in-depth guide for these hiking trails in the Pisgah National Forest and Ashley and I are looking forward to visiting several of these hiking trails in the near future!

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