Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Travel Diary for Guides of the Mountains

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Travel Diary for Guides of the Mountains

Article excerpt

A Travel Diary for Guides of the Mountains ··· Ken Wise. Hiring Trails of the Great Smoky Mountains, Second Edition. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-62190- 054-2.

A detailed guide to the Great Smoky Mountains, with descriptions of 125 official trails. These include driving directions. In the modern GPS dominated world, detailed driving directions might be outdated in most places, but not for park visitors. Many of these spots do not register on Google Maps or Sygic. Regardless of how "official" a park trail is, key points on it are not official addresses, unlike nearby businesses or long-standing residential houses. The directions also include markers as well as mile-lengths of the segments of the trip-these are also necessary when keeping an eye on the miles is inconvenient or when there are neighboring street possibilities.

One disappointment for me is the lack of photos of these "beautiful" trails. I was primarily interested in this imagery when I requested the book. It's difficult to appreciate nature from descriptions only. To compensate for this lack, a map of the Mountains is inserted into the fold of the back cover. The map has a $1 price on it, so it is probably also sold separately. It's a well-designed and comprehensive map, and should help visitors navigate this region.

Aside from the practical directions on how to get around these trails, the book is filled with picturesque descriptions of the nature and history along the way, with interesting information about the geology, climate, vegetation, wildlife, human history, and environmental concerns.

The author, Ken Wise, is the codirector of the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project at the University ofTennessee, Knoxville, as well as serving as a professor. …

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