Author Craig Romano worked up to his latest hiking guidebook by logging 12,500 miles over more than 20 years, and writing 10 books devoted primarily to dayhikes or regional hot spots.
Then he focused another 1,500 trail miles and much of the past two years to researching and publishing Washington Backpacking, a 303-page book featuring 70 overnight and multiday routes across the state.
“You have to invest a large amount of time just deciding which trips to feature,” said Romano, who lives in Burlington, Wash.
“I love every corner of this state for its diversity. The book includes my favorite trips from the Olympics to the Blue Mountains and Salmo-Priest Wilderness.”
Not to mention a great selection of treks in the Cascades.
The book focuses the two- and three-day trips that fit into most hikers’ schedules, he said.
Romano suggested three hikes that stick with him as standouts:
Lake La Crosse in the heart of the Olympic Mountains – “There’s no short way in; it’s 20 miles from any direction. The reward is a high basin with three sizeable lakes surrounded by meadows and open mountains with a coastal wash, lots of wildlife and few people.”
High Divide in Olympic National Park – “It’s a very popular place, but a spectacular alpine ridge setting above the Hoh Rainforest. The Park Service limits the number of hikers to protect the experience. That’s a good thing.”
Little Snowy Top Mountain loop in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness – “It’s real wilderness, with deep valleys to high peaks, and there are grizzly bears!”
But all of the hikes have special elements, he said.
“I think every hiker knows that the place you’re in when you’re hiking isn’t always as important as the people you’re with or the timing and luck of seeing things, like a moose or a lightning storm – in the distance.”