+8 8 votes

Great Places - Washington

We’ve been remiss. A fantastic book has been sitting in our office that we should have reviewed earlier in the year. However, now that it’s getting close to Christmas, our procrastination could (if you’re generous about these sorts of things) be mistaken for a brilliant strategy. Great Places - Washington, by Wenatchee author John Kruse, would make the perfect Christmas present for your favorite outdoor enthusiast.

The book lives up to its billing as “a recreational guide to Washington’s public lands and historic places for birding, hiking, photography, fishing, hunting and camping.” Kruse, who is also the host of the award winning radio show Northwestern Outdoors, certainly did his research for the 500 page guide. It includes 150 entries detailing destinations and activities on public land as well as private lodges, resorts, guides and outfitters.

One of the standout aspects of Great Places - Washington is that it’s a multi-sport and multi-regional guide. From fishing out of Neah Bay to hiking the Blue Mountains, Kruse has you covered. In addition to the overview of recreational activities and the main entries, the book also includes helpful basics like the ten essentials as well as state-specific info like Washington State bird species and a Washington fish and wildlife list.

Local entries include Scottish Lakes, Lake Wenatchee, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Osprey Rafting and Icicle Outfitters in the Leavenworth area. Heading north, Kruse includes Lake Chelan Alta Lake State Park, and several more entries along the Methow and Okanogan Rivers. His choices both locally and across the state reflect Kruse’s goal to highlight the places and activities that define Washington as a beautifully diverse mecca for the outdoor enthusiast.

For those of us who flip through books looking for cool pictures, Kruse has provided us with plenty of eye candy. The 230 beautiful color photos (224 of which were taken by the author) and 13 detailed maps add depth to the well researched entries.

The layout of Great Places - Washington is consistent and makes it easy to find the information you’re seeking. The state is divided into seven regions. Each region is mapped out at the start of the chapter, and bold stars on the map indicate entries in the book. Kruse also uses colorful and easy to understand symbols that quickly show the highlights for each entry. Essential contact information is listed for each entry, making trip planning quicker and easier - leaving you more time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

Whether you give it as a gift, keep it in your glove box for impromptu adventures or leave it on your coffee table for guests to peruse the photography, this guidebook will find itself well loved. Luckily, its thick, glossy pages can handle all kinds of abuse. Published by Wilderness Adventures Press, Great Places - Washington can be found in local book stores, at REI and on Amazon.com.