Ted's Outdoor World - Books

Thousands of works have been published on various aspects of the great outdoors, and I certainly have not read them all.  I can, however, highly recommend the following publications, because I happen to own them.

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In the Heart of the Sierras
 
*   edited by James Mason Hutchings, 1888
 
This fine collection of documents and photographs, now in the public domain, is about the early history of Yosemite National Park.  Notably and unfortunately absent, for reasons explained in the text, are any writings of John Muir, Yosemite's greatest champion and principal authority of the day.  I also dislike Hutchings's chronic misspelling of the word "led"; but such issues might not be of concern to you.
 
Although this material is available (sort of) elsewhere on the web, only here at Ted's World will you find a readily downloadable and printable document that is free of advertising and other clutter.  Click on the image.
 
Many thanks to Dan Anderson of www.yosemite.ca.us, who originally digitized these pages in 2004 from a copy in the San Diego Public Library.

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West of the Rocky Mountains
 
*  
edited by John Muir
Running Press, 1976
 
This collection features twenty-six articles by Muir and other authors of his time.  Topics range from Southern California to the Canadian Rockies.
 
Included are hundreds of marvelous old drawings and photographs that one would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.  Many images take full advantage of the large (10"×13") format of this manuscript.

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Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and Eastern California
 
*   by Robert F. Heizer & Martin A. Baumhoff
University of California Press, 1962
 
This is the definitive study of petroglyphs in the Great Basin area of the western United States.  Included are hundreds of catalogued, accurate-to-scale drawings of glyphs and panels, as well as some (intentionally vague) information regarding site locations.
 
Having been out of print since the 1970s, this book has become something of a collector's item, with prices ranging as high as $900 in 2014.  I recently purchased a copy in good condition for $70, from a European bookstore.

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Ernest Thompson Seton — The Life and Legacy of an Artist and Conservationist
 
*   by David L. Witt
Gibbs Smith, 2010
 
Mr. Seton is renowned as a wildlife artist, best-selling author, and co-founder of the worldwide Boy Scout movement.  This biographical accounting includes Mr. Seton's transformation from professional wolf hunter to ardent conservationist.  Also featured are dozens of samples of his paintings, many in full color.

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Our Country's National Parks
 
*   by Irving R. Melbo
Robbs-Merrill, 1941
 
This classic two-volume work details the history and features of the nation's first twenty-six scenic national parks.  Included are photographs that you won't have seen elsewhere.  Inexpensive copies of this work are readily available online.

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Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series — 20 volumes, 1960-1968
 
Winner of the Carey-Thomas Award in 1964 for Best Achievement in Creative Publishing in the United States, this large-format collection argues the cause of conservation by way of exquisite photography by Adams, Hyde and others, plus the essences of such writers as Thoreau and Muir.  These are the most beautiful books I possess and the last ones with which I ever would part.
 
#3. These We Inherit: The Parklands of America
#5. The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon
#6. The Last Redwoods: Photographs and Story of a Vanishing Scenic Resource
#8. Time and the River Flowing: Grand Canyon
#9. Gentle Wilderness: The Sierra Nevada

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Mostly for Hikers

The Way Out — A True Story of Ruin and Survival
 
*   by Craig Childs
Back Bay Books, 2004
 
Childs, a habitual seeker of desert solitude, teams up with an ex-cop friend on a two-week foray into a particularly inhospitable region of the American Southwest.  Each of them hopes not just to survive the trek, but to conquer some inner demons and ascribe some meaning to his life as well.

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Mostly for Hikers

Between a Rock and a Hard Place  –aka–  127 Hours
 
*   by Aron Ralston
Simon & Schuster, 2004
 
This best-seller chronicles the author's escape from entrapment in a Utah slot canyon by means that most of us would not have been able to imagine, let alone accomplish.  The 2010 movie version, 127 Hours, garnered six Academy Award nominations; but it pretty much focused only upon the hike and accident themselves, while ignoring other aspects of Ralston's life as well as the considerable search-and-rescue efforts by Aron's parents and government agencies.  These things are detailed in the book.
 
Note: The original printing featured Aron Ralston himself on the cover; but the photo gracing the movie-hype reprint is of actor James Franco (click on the image).

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