Rock Creek Valley has been a national park since 1890, and if the area now is mainly a hub for running, biking, birding, and commuting, the woodland along the thirty-three miles the Creek runs from Laytonsville golf course to Foggy Bottom has been vital to local populations since the hunter-gatherers of the Archaic period went after huckleberries and chestnuts. As she did in her profile of Sugarloaf, Melanie Choukas-Bradley, also the author of the perennial favorite, City of Trees, intertwines the Park’s nature, culture, and history, pointing out herons and foxes, telling the stories of the families behind the Peirce and Veirs Mills, reviewing the Park’s role in the underground railroad, and quoting various presidents on what Rock Creek has meant to them. The past is as alive as the present in A Year in Rock Creek Park (George F. Thompson, $49.50, cloth; $29.95, paper), a written and visual record of the park in all seasons at all times of day. Choukas-Bradley explored every mile of it, variously walking, biking, skiing, and canoeing, accompanied by naturalists and historians, whose insights join her keen observations in these evocative, conversational essays. But don’t just take words for the magic of the place. The stunning full-color photos by award-winning nature photographer and garden-book writer Susan Austin Roth make Rock Creek’s beauty unforgettable.
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Published: University of Virginia Press - December 12th, 2014
Bart Smith’s work has been featured in Smithsonian and National Geographic, and he was the first person to hike all eleven of America’s Great Hiking Trails (Rizzoli, $50) from end to end. Along the way, he captured the stunning photographs in this exquisite collection. Karen Berger has thru-hiked four, and portions of all, of these scenic trails and has provided the beautifully descriptive notes on the sites, geographical features, and history which make each of these trails unique and special. This treasure of the American wilderness is a perfect gift for anyone who would really rather be in the great outdoors. The only tragedy is you can’t pack it along!
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Published: Rizzoli - September 23rd, 2014