You are here

Books We've Read, And Liked, in 2010


Ansel Adams in the National Park was one of the Traveler's favorite books of 2010.

There were quite a few books relating to national parks that arrived in 2010, and while we didn't get to read them all, the ones we did we liked. Here's a look back at our Fireside Reads from the year.

Ansel Adams in the National Parks

Long after his death we continue to celebrate the brilliance of Ansel Adams, who arguably defined landscape photography, often while working in national parks to capture the magnificence of nature.

Running Dry, A Journey From Source To Sea Down the Colorado River

Part travelogue, part warning shot across the bow, Jonathan Waterman in his latest book takes us on a year-long journey down the Colorado River from source to the Sea of Cortez that should scare the wits out of those in the Southwest convince them to read the dusty writing on the wall.

This High, Wild Country, A Celebration of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Can something as seemingly inconsequential as a stone trigger a national park memory in your mind? If you pick up a rock on your next hike in a park, will you wonder about its origin?

Becoming Odyssa, Epic Adventures On the Appalachian Trail

From Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail rambles for 2,175 miles, a journey alluring to some for the back-to-nature demands it places on those who set out to hike end-to-end. But this simple footpath, with its day-after-day-after-day of walking through the woods, up and down mountains, and sleeping out in the open, also gives you more than a little time to peer into your own soul, as well as those of others, as Jennifer Pharr Davis discovered during a solo thru-hike.

One Best Hike: Grand Canyon

Although the book is titled One Best Hike: Grand Canyon, what Elizabeth Wenk really provides is a wonderful primer on the geology, wildlife, natural history, and dangers of hiking in Grand Canyon National Park. And she also leads readers down from the South Rim to the Colorado River and back via the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.

Paddle North, Canoeing the Boundary Waters-Quetico Wilderness

If you prefer the steady dip of a paddle over a footstep down a path, a new book about canoeing from Greg Breining is a book of dreams.

Hiking The Blue Ridge Parkway

It's more than appropriate that this year, the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, that when you visit the parkway you get out and take a hike. And Randy Johnson is ready to tell you where to go.

Backpacking Wyoming, From Towering Granite Peaks to Steaming Geyser Basins

There's a new book just hitting bookstores that will practically take you by the hand and lead you along some long-distance hikes in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks.

Stars Above, Earth Below, A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks

Add Stars Above, Earth Below, a Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks to your library and you'll not only gain a better appreciation of the dark skies over national parks, but you'll also be better informed on the stars twinkling at you.

Common Southwestern Plants, an Identification Guide

Anyone who spends time hiking in the national parks of the Southwest needs a good plant identification book. And "Common Southwestern Native Plants, An Identification Guide," is one of those books.

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working and Dying in the National Parks

Television shows love to portray park rangers as fit and polite, beaming dazzling smiles, displaying knowledge that knows no bounds, nerves of steel, and with dashing personalities. And then there are the realities, as Andrea Lankford describes in her latest book, Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks.

The Changing Range of Light, Portraits of the Sierra Nevada

A gorgeous new book of photography that captures the seasons of the High Sierra has arrived, but it comes with a pausing message that this beautiful landscape is changing before our eyes.

When the Parkway Came

Part of FDR's "New Deal," the Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as an economic development tool that would pump both life and dollars into the Appalachian Mountain Range between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. But the long and winding road with the fantastic vistas also took a good deal of life out of the landscape as farms that stood in the path were razed and the families moved off.

U.S. Highway 89, The Scenic Route to Seven Western National Parks

U.S. 89 is a relatively narrow thread of pavement that wends its way 1,600 miles from Glacier National Park in northern Montana to Tumacacori National Historical Park in southern Arizona. Along the way, it passes through five states, past seven units of the National Park System, and through thousands of years of human experience. Ann Torrence captures this sliver of history in words and photographs in a story that is decided off the racetrack known as the interstate highway system.

Changing Paths: Travels and Meditations in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness

A solitary journey into the vast Gates of the Arctic wilderness provided just the right surroundings for Bill Sherwonit to reflect on his life journey and his particular way of thinking about wilderness, wildness, and himself.

Repairing Paradise: The Restoration of Nature in America's National Parks

"Repairing Paradise." That's a somewhat inauspicious title for a book that examines how to restore natural settings in the national parks. But in light of many scenarios that are playing out across the National Park System -- from parks being overrun by elk, deer, and even people to ecosystem subterfuge -- repairs are exactly what need to be made.

Featured Article


I like your information and have made some purtuches as a result of your reviews. What I don't like is that dark green strip on the right hand side of the page. This makes it very difficult to read your words. Perhaps it could be made a bit lighter so that the black type stands out with a bit more contrast. Thank you for the effort you put into your site. i enjoy it.

Thank you for your list of good reading, Kurt.

In addition to Bill Sherwonit's book, another good book that I read this year about the Gates of the Arctic was William E Brown's: "The History of the Central Brooks Range: Gaunt Beauty, Tenuous Life."

Like many people who love wilderness, I've always loved the stories that add special texture to my understanding and feeling for the wild places. William E. Brown had a sort of shamanistic reputation himself when he was in the National Park Service, including when he left the NPS in mid-career to fight the Four Corners Project, to be readmitted later by Director George Hartzog. Brown has written other books, including "This Last Treasure" about all the Alaskan Parks. You may remember him in Burn's recent PBS series on the National Parks.

This book tells all about the original peoples of the Gates of the Arctic, plus the miners, explorers and wilderness heroes like Bob Marshall. You can get a better feeling for what a landscape is by the jaw-dropping stories of what people had to do to live there. And it is fascinating to read of the ways all these striking personalities from different cultures accomodated each other in one of America's wildest place.

A DVD, "The Gates of the Arctic" was released at the same time as this book. Years ago Brown wrote the original version of Gaunt Beauty, Tenuous Life as a research study for the National Park Service. This transforms that research into a popular book, complete with over one hundred color photos.

Please, may I inform us:
The First edition for PINDOS:NATIONAL PARK (Epirus-West Macedonia in Greece).
It's a global cooperation for Pindos environment and civilazation.
400 p. , full colour, 30x23 cm, 2500 photos of famous scientist, visitors and photographers.
Preface : Tom Dempsey (NG, Seatle USA), Th. Economou (NASA), R.D.Harding (pr. Cambridge), D. Moll (Holland).
Thanks for attention.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide