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The Planet


by Lynne Foster

It's time to start thinking about what to get those special folks on your holiday list. (And don't forget to get yourself a little something, too.) What better gifts than books -- the present you can open again and again? (Well, maybe Sierra Club 1996 calendars also qualify. See info elsewhere in these pages.)

In my opinion, one of this season's "naturals" for gift-book giving is a brand- new, revised edition of that old indispensable guidebook, DEEPEST VALLEY: Guide to Owens Valley, Its Roadsides & Mountain Trails. DV was edited by Sierra Club members Genny Smith and Jeff Putman, and published by Genny Smith Books.

As noted in the Eastern Sierra Times, "From the heights of Mount Whitney to the depths of the Owens Valley floor and back up to the windswept summits of the White Mountains, DEEPEST VALLEY explores the stories behind the scenery. . . . First published 33 years ago, and popular ever since, DEEPEST VALLEY has been out of print for more than a decade. Fresh from the printers, the new book is now for sale . . . in local outlets." (And in many other bookstores throughout southern and central California.)

Many of Genny's readers (including me) have been nagging her for years to get out a new edition of DV. Now she's done it! My own much-used copy "walked" several years ago -- so, on first hearing of the new edition, I immediately rushed out to the nearest bookstore and bought a new one (and a few extra) -- along with a several copies of the latest edition (1993) of her equally useful MAMMOTH LAKES SIERRA: A Handbook for Roadside & Trail. (The tape had begun to outweigh the paper in my 1986 edition.)

Whew! -- my holiday shopping is almost done. Let's see, now: one pile of DEEPEST VALLEY, one pile of MAMMOTH LAKES SIERRA, one pile of Sierra Club 1996 Calendars . . . .

Oops, wait! I'm not quite finished with the first installment of my holiday gift recommendations. Although I happen to be well-supplied with the next two books (for reasons that will shortly become obvious), I'd like to call them to your attention. They, too, I'm told, make dandy holiday (birthday, etc.) gifts for outdoor types. They, too, were written by a Sierra Club member -- me.

ADVENTURING IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT: The Sierra Club Travel Guide to the Great Basin, Mojave, & Colorado Desert Regions of California, covers the California desert from the White Mountains to the Mexican Border, and from the Colorado River to Red Rock Canyon.

There is a major section covering "Inyo- Mono Country" which includes car touring, birdwatching, exploring Indian and pioneer historical sites and desert museums, day hikes, backpacking trips, and peak climbs (classified by degree of difficulty). The trips take place throughout the Inyo-Mono area: Saline Valley, Owens Lake-Panamint Dunes, Lone Pine-Big Pine- Independence-Bishop, and the White Mountains- Last Chance Mountains.

For the kids on your list, there's TAKE A HIKE! The Sierra Club Kids' Guide to Hiking & Backpacking. This guide to the fundamentals - - and fun -- of walking on the wild side covers many facts a kid may want or need to know: how to get in shape for the trail, how to decide on gear, how to read the weather, how to find the right hiking rhythm, and how NOT to get lost. There's also info on how to deal with heat, cold, pesky bugs, and blisters, as well as on finding a campsite and preparing easy trailside meals. There's even a chapter to help hikers notice and enjoy the flowers, trees, rocks, and animals they may see along the trails.

These two books are also available in local bookstores. In addition, they can be purchased from the Sierra Club. (Call Molly Thomas, 415-977-5682, and ask for a copy of the Mail Order Service Guide.)

Happy holiday shopping!

Lynne Foster is a editor for Toiyabe Chapter's Range of Light Group.

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