Holy crap! I just saw in my Green Mountain Club quarterly newsletter that one of my dreams has come true! Forest and Crag by Guy and Laura Waterman has been re-released!
For those of you who don’t know about this, Forest and Crag is a definitive history of hiking in the northeast. From first ascents of major peaks to the long-distance trail craze and the back-to-nature backpacking boom of the 1960s, this book has more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the White Mountains, the Green Mountains, the Adirondacks, Katahdin, the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and more and more and more. Really. It’s more entertaining than it sounds. The Watermans crafted a wonderful book, and it reads much easier than you’d imagine.
I picked up a used copy of Forest and Crag several years ago because it had gone out of print. I figured maybe the Appalachian Mountain Club didn’t sell enough of the books to justify another printing. Who knows. It’s a massive book, and who reads histories of hiking? The news is that the Green Mountain Club managed to re-publish the book as a Kindle e-book, which gets around the cost of printing a thousand-page tome. I don’t know why the AMC didn’t do this already, but I don’t care. I’m just glad that if my big old copy of this book ever gets lost (as I’m afraid it will one of these days during my many moves to new homes), I can get a new one that is much easier to keep track of.
The authors have written several other wonderful books, and their story is pretty amazing by itself. But sticking to the topic at hand, you should read Forest and Crag. And if you like it, you should read some of their other books. My favorites are Yankee Rock and Ice, a companion piece to Forest and Crag which details the rock and ice climbing history of the Northeast; and the pair of Backwoods Ethics and Wilderness Ethics, which detail the philosophy of protecting the physical wilderness, as well as the mental state of being in the wilderness. Great books. Check it!