Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book – Maine Mountain Guide, 10th Edition

Way back at the beginning of this site I did a post describing the best references for hiking in Maine, in Acadia National Park, and in the White Mountain National Forest.  (You can read that post here.)  The books for Acadia and the White Mountains are still the most current guides, but the AMC just published the Tenth Edition of their Maine Mountain Guide, so this post will update you on what has changed in it.

All of the changes in this latest edition make it much more consistent with the AMC’s White Mountain guide.  Most of these changes make it much better, while one makes for a minor inconvenience.

First and foremost, the newest Maine Mountain Guide now includes the elevation changes for the hikes.  While the previous edition had distance and duration, you didn’t know if the elevation change from trailhead to summit was 500 feet or 2,500 feet without referencing a topographical map.  This latest edition breaks down the elevation changes at each and every hiking trail junction and summit.  This is a huge improvement.

The next best thing that is new in the Tenth Edition is that most of the hiking trails in Maine are now included in it.  The Ninth Edition left out all of the trails in Acadia National Park, and those trails in the White Mountain National Forest that were in Maine.  They had separate guidebooks for those.  Now most of these trails have also been combined into this book.  Note – the Tenth Edition does not include the easiest trails in Acadia National Park, nor are the descriptions as detailed as what you will find in A Walk in the Park.  Tom St. Germain’s book remains the best possible guide for hiking in Acadia.

The other change that makes the Tenth Edition consistent with the presentation in the White Mountain Guide is that the suggested hikes have been moved from the front of each section to the end of each section.  This makes them a little less convenient to locate.

In all, the Tenth Edition adds 146 pages of new and updated hiking trail descriptions.  For instance, the out of date description for how to get to Little Wilson Falls has now been updated to describe the hike I did two summers ago.  (You can read that post here.)

All the other features of the Ninth Edition can still be found in the Tenth.  They are:

This book breaks the state up into ten sections.  For each section they recommend hikes for three different difficulty levels, Easy, Moderate, and Strenuous.  They have a table of contents for the section that lists the mountains, the trails on them, and what page the trail descriptions are on.  The trail descriptions, and even the sections, are not laid out in any logical pattern, so you will need to reference the index and the tables of contents when you want to find a trail.

The book also includes guides for trip planning, safety, and landowner rights.  There are Appendices listing the 100 highest peaks in New England, as well as a checklist of all the 4,000 footers in New England.  Finally, the book also has seven different maps of the major trails described in the book.  The maps are printed in color, contain topographical info, and fold up so small they can fit in a wallet.  One other change from the Ninth Edition is that some of the smaller maps of a single mountain (i.e. Pleasant Mountain) have been placed directly into the book on the pages accompanying the trail descriptions.

All in all, the AMC’s Tenth Edition of the Maine Mountain Guide is a huge improvement over the Ninth Edition, and it is well worth the cost of picking it up.

Maine Mountain Guide

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