Review By Amy Segreti, Carolina Living Editor
The Globe, Camp Lejeune, NC, March 15, 2007
Falcon Guide’s Hiking North Carolina: A Guide to Nearly 500 of North Carolina’s Greatest Hiking Trails
2007 edition by Randy Johnson, $19.95.
I picked up this book with high expectations. A quote from CNN.com is printed on the back. It says, “written by top experts and enthusiasts.”
It’s an official American Hiking Society book.
I expected a lot — and that’s what I got.
This book, in short, is amazing. The introduction is lengthy and goes over things you may need, safety information and more. Each trail begins with a one-sentence overview so you can quickly tell if it’s not for you, then continues to have easy-to-find points about its general location, detailed information about finding the trailhead, distance, difficulty, best maps, elevation gain or loss, water availability (!!!), and a phone number and Web site link (finally, a guidebook that has realized we entered the 21st century seven years ago and, 9 times out of 10, we want a way to get valuable information without actually speaking to someone).
Following this, each trail features GPS compatible maps and an extremely detailed 1-4 page description of the hike you can take, in addition to pointing out things you might miss along the way (Spanish moss, anyone?) For example: “If you linger over lunch [at the Linville gorge trail] and scan the rock-hewn amphitheater, the start of Linville Gorge, you can imagine the hemmed-in feeling William Linville and his son must have felt near here in 1766 when confronted by Native Americans — who then scalped them.” Wow.
Downfalls: The only con of this book is its title. While I tend to despise the recent trend in the book industry of making titles as long as the books themselves with all sorts of never-before-seen punctuation, it really might be necessary here. People with an interest in walking, trail running, picnicking with their families, educating their children or moving around in any fashion should also pick up this book. The fact that the guide book appears to only encompass hiking may cause many people to skip over it. But take for example the Flat Rock Self-Guiding Loop trail (page 129) near Linville, an educational trail with plant identification signs, inspiring messages and areas to picnic — perfect for a day out with children.
At $19.95, it’s a little steep — but it’s worth it if you want to spend any part of your vacation outdoors.