BY SOPHIE STONE
Lonely Planet’s newest installment of their Epic series, Epic Hikes of the World is out, and you’ve got my strong recommendation to read it. This stunning book compiles stories from 50 amazing hiking routes across the world, in addition to 150 further suggestions for all you people who can’t get enough of the outdoors.
While the content can easily be described as awe-inspiring, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a lot of my initial joy when first picking up the book was caused by the cover itself. The beautifully illustrated scenes of nature conveyed with vibrant colours make the book eye-catching from the start. When combined with a sturdy, satisfying to hold hardback cover, it becomes a truly magnificent addition to any bookcase, fitting for a book about epic hiking.
That being said, there’s a whole lot of content within the book which deserves a mention as well, so I’ll get down to it.
The book is easily accessible. Each section of hikes are separated by continent, laid out clearly on the contents page. This means you don’t have to flip through the whole thing if you’re looking for a particular place for your next hike. The layout breaks up walls of text with little illustrated maps of each hike, photos, an additional fact-box, and orientation section which provides details such as the best time to visit, what to wear for a hike, and what food to eat in each region. This makes the content really easy to digest and means that every hike is interesting to read about. Another feature I found really useful and convenient was the book’s system of colour coding each hike by difficulty, allowing readers to gauge whether a hike is something they might want to take on based on their own ability (or lack of).
The main stories in each regional chapter contain first-hand accounts of the authors’ hikes, personal tales of exploration and adventure which include all the interesting features of the journey, such as the scenery and animals encountered. The writers are skilled in capturing the imagery and experiences they found along the journey in a way that is interesting and insightful. The photos included of each hike are beautiful (as you’d expect from a Lonely Planet book) and add a lot of visual appeal by showing readers what the scenery for each hike actually looks like. Vibrant illustrations of each continent separate the sections of the book, a really nice detail which makes it so much more satisfying to look through.
With 50 awesome guides to hikes across the globe bound into one book, it’s hard to pick a favourite section. Some of the hikes which stood out to me purely based on the photos were the hikes of Mt Kinabalu in Malaysia, China’s Huangshan Mountain range, Choquequirao: The Crowd-Free Inca Trail, and Canada’s Skyline trail. I’d be biased and complain that the book should have included more hikes in New Zealand, however with three main stories and eight additional hikes mentioned, it received the same amount of coverage, if not more, than everywhere else.
One potential issue I could imagine someone having with the book is the size of it. As a rather large hardcover, it could be viewed as a little too heavy and cumbersome to accompany you on an actual hike. That being said, for flicking through it at home to find inspiration it would be fine, and that’s likely more the intended purpose of a book like this; to give you a taste of a range of hikes and ignite your curiosity.
At first glance, the obvious readership for the book would be hiking enthusiasts and experienced travellers. While that may be true, I think it has a lot of offer pretty much anyone who experiences wanderlust or enjoys the visual awe of natural features. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect myself when I heard the title, but ultimately the book does an excellent job of compiling accounts about different yet equally beautiful hikes across the globe, interspersing each with stunning photos, additional information, and illustrations. With an easy to read layout, it’s an extremely accessible and useful guide to epic hiking, catering to the interests of travellers, experienced hikers, beginners, and even room dwellers like me.
For these reasons, I’d definitely recommend the book to a wide range of people. It’s accessibility and visual appeal would suit even the most reluctant reader, and all of the neat additional features would satiate anyone considering travelling or hiking in the future. Even if you’re not a hugely adventurous or exercise-enthusiastic person, Epic Hikes of the World has something which I think appeals to human nature in general: it’s the kind of book that engages the raw, visceral emotion hiking tends to bring out in people, something you read and feel energised by, inspired to go looking for adventure.
SOPHIE STONE is a geeky 19-year-old who loves Doctor Who and has been writing for TEARAWAY for two years. Currently trying to navigate her gap year, wishing she could pursue a degree in chicken nugget tasting.
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