My bookshelf has two rows of various hiking guides, but recently a new guide came out that will have a prominent spot in the first row. Craig Romano has rewritten and updated Harvey Manning and Ira Spring’s original 100 Classic Hikes in Washington book from 1998, including some of the initial hikes, but adding some new ones as well. All corners of the state are represented, from the Olympic Beaches to the Columbia Gorge, the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, the North, Central and South Cascades, and far eastern Blues, Kettles and Selkirks.
Browsing through 100 Classic Hikes: Washington is a pleasurable treat. Large, full-color photos draw readers in to the beauty and diversity of each hike. The paper is thick and glossy, giving a solid feel to the book. Topo maps, also printed at a readable size in color, help hikers predict what kind of adventure they’ll be tackling. The Hikes at a Glance section shows a quick overview of whether hikes are kid-friendly, how long and strenuous they are, and what seasons you can expect them to be open. And of course, Craig Romano’s familiar informative writing style entices explorers to get out there.
Hikes range from family-friendly walks to multi-day excursions. Many of the hikes are longer or harder than young children will enjoy, but Craig points out the trails and sections that are appropriate for families, as well as dogs. There are hikes that even non-hikers have completed, such as Mt. Si, and there are hikes that you’ll have to seek with more deliberation, such as Crowell Ridge-Gypsy Peak in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness. Beaches, lakes, rivers, flowers, forests and peaks – you’ll find something for whatever mood you’re in. Craig points out where there are campsites, difficult fords, and alternate routes. I’ve really been enjoying flipping through this book. It’s made me want to get in better shape so I can tackle the harder routes.
I asked Craig Romano a few questions about the book, and here’s what he had to say:
Hiker Mama: How did you decide what hikes were “classic” and should be included? What criteria did you use?
Craig Romano: I wanted to pick the best hikes that represented all of the regions and facets of the state – to really capture the full range of Washington’s wild places.
HM: How long has it taken you to work on this book?
CR: Like most of my books, about a year and a half
HM: Many of the hikes are long and strenuous; but there are some family-friendly hikes as well. Which are you favorite hikes for kids in this book?
CR: Ozette Triangle, Iceberg Point, Ebey’s Landing, Catherine Creek Rock Arch, Skyline Divide, Badger Mountain, Puffer Butte, Kamiak Butte, Mount Spokane
HM: Were there any areas that surprised you as you were researching? Any unexpected adventures that took place along the way?
CR: I am always surprised that more hikers don’t get out of their area comfort zones and go explore some other regions of the state. There are so many spectacular places out there, You just need a little planning (my book helps) and a little motivation.
HM: Is there anything else you’d like families to know?
CR: Hiking and spending time in the outdoors is one of the best things a family can do to bond with nature and each other and to live healthy lives.
I fully agree with you, Craig, and I’m grateful we have you working tirelessly to catalogue our trails, educate hikers, and advocate for wilderness.
100 Classic Hikes: Washington is published by Mountaineers Books and is available for $21.95. It’s worth the investment to have this guide on your shelf.
Photos from 100 Classic Hikes Washington, 3rd Edition by Craig Romano, © 2016, Mountaineers Books.