Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring in Beautiful Virginia

My son-in-law, Michael Payton on Old Rag Mtn.
So it begins with the coming of each spring; as the days grow longer and the sun shines warmer, the yearning begins for long walks in the woods. Living in Fauquier, we are fortunate to have the Blue Ridge Mountains in our back yard and access to one of the most scenic hiking areas in America. About twenty-five percent of the Appalachian Trail (AT) runs through Virginia spanning about 544 miles, more than any other state. While trekking the AT may be a bit ambitious for many hikers, there are plenty of shorter hikes in the area to enjoy. Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Virginias and The Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes will help you be a part of the AT experience without hiking from Maine to Georgia. Virginia trail guides and maps, published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are also available at the library.  And don’t miss Karin Wuertz-Schaefer’s HikingVirginia’s National Forests.  These books are informative resources when deciding which trail is best for you. 

While waiting for warmer days, it’s a good time to prepare, mentally and physically, for summer hikes. To help understand why we possess this desire to walk, you might appreciate The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson.  Reading hiking memoirs will help with understanding other hikers you meet on the trail.  A Walk in the Woods chronicles Bill Bryson’s AT experience with hilarity and a tender dose of appreciation for the American wilderness. Paul Stutzman takes a life-changing walk after the loss of his wife to breast cancer in HikingThrough and in A Walk for Sunshine, Jeff Alt tells of his charity walk dedicated to his brother with cerebral palsy. If you’ve spent any time at all rambling through the woods, you will appreciate their stories of wildlife encounters (human and otherwise), weather and spiritual change.
To keep you safe on the trail, The Complete Practical Guide to Camping, Hiking and Wilderness Skills features over 800 full-color photographs, including step-by-step techniques for key skills. To help you master your GPS and compass, the library offers The GPS Handbook: A Guide for the Outdoors and the old-fashioned and ever-dependable Boy Scout publication, Orienteering.

Whether your desire is fitness, photography, bird watching or connecting with nature, our reference librarians are here to point you in the right direction (no GPS required) and help you make the most of your hiking experiences.

See you on the trail!
Julia @ Bealeton

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