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The Pacific Crest Trailway

The Pacific Crest Trailway, by Clinton C. Clarke, 126 pp.; 12 detached illustrations, 5 detached maps. Pasadena: Pacific Crest Trailway System Conference, 1945. $2.25.

A description of the history, construction and location of the 2156 miles of this wilderness pathway from Canada to Mexico, together with sketch maps of the trail. In condensing over 2000 miles of trail description into 20 pages of itinerary, there is no space for any local directions, and as the free-hand maps are on a scale of 8 miles to the inch, and without contours, and with but few waterways indicated, the average hiker would do well to provide himself with U. S. G. S. or other additional maps before tackling any of this rugged trail.

A unique feature of this book are the following small encyclopedias of Pacific Coast Natural History: (1) Definition of 75 Botanical terms. (2) Description of 52 common trees found along the trail, with their localities. (3) Description of 60 animals found along the trail with their habitats. (4) Description of 86 birds found along the trail with their habitats. (5) Description of 130 flowers found along the trail with their localities. Cross indexed by colors, for purposes of identification. (6) Index of 19 canyons crossed by trail. (7) Index of 82 lakes skirted by the trail. (8) Description of 24 major peaks accessible from the trail with altitudes. (9) Index of 109 peaks accessible from the trail, with altitudes. (10) List of 53 National Parks, National Forests, and Established Wildernesses, with acreage, crossed by the trail. (11) Glossary of 38 topographic terms. (12) Index of 57 passes crossed by the trail. (13) List of 10 further projects under consideration, near trail. (14) Index of 29 main highways, with numbers, connecting with trail. (15) Index of 21 areas reserved for game, Indians, recreation, etc., near the trail. (16) Index of 26 main streams followed or crossed by the trail. Also a list of equipment and food needed for backpacking, with weights (total 41 lbs. 10 oz. plus 2 lbs. per day in food). All of which results in a very unique reference book, invaluable to anyone planning to hike through any part of this region.

The relative inaccessibility of the northern terminus of the trail, suggests that a relatively short extension could be laid out to the North, in British Columbia, reaching Coquahalla summit, 3700 ft. altitude, on the Kettle Valley division of the Canadian Pacific.

Also, while the trail must be crossed in at least 8 places by transcontinental trunk lines, there is no reference to them either in the description or on the sketch maps. Indication of the intersections of such railway lines, even when in tunnel, would seem to make these scenic trails more accessible.

In closing, a few lines from the introductory portion can be quoted with strong endorsement: “Mechanization (in America) has created a soft flabby civilization. The medical reports of the Army shows a serious deterioration in the strength of legs and back in all of the 5,000,000 (inductees) … too much sitting on soft seats in motors; too much sitting on soft seats in movies and too much lounging in easy chairs before radios … conditioning of our armed forces during the past years has stressed cross-country back-packing expeditions through wilderness. Especially valuable the contact with primitive Nature.”

J. E. F.