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Outdoor reads to lure you out

The gift of books, old-school as that might sound, is still a sure-fire option for any special family occasion. There's an outdoors-type book out there for every type of person, including those who are more intrigued than engaged in getting out.

Advice: Consider getting your family member a book, such as one of the options highlighted here, that will encourage a family outing, or at least new and better stories at the next camp out.

"Exploring the Boulder-White Clouds: A Comprehensive Guide"

by Matt Leidecker (idahoriverpublications.com)

This new book celebrates Idaho's first newly declared wilderness in years. It's an invitation to explore natural mountain lakes and peaks reaching higher than 11,000 feet as well as political milestones.

It also covers climbing opportunities and scenic routes around the official wilderness areas that are still open to mountain biking.

Last year, a wilderness plan more than 40 years in the making was approved by Congress to protect 275,665 acres in three separate areas within the Boulder-White Cloud mountains of central Idaho: the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, the White Clouds Wilderness and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness.

River guide and guidebook writer, photographer and adventurer Matt Leidecker, 42, of Haley, was poised to pounce on the opportunity to share the newly designated wilderness with visitors heading to his backyard.

"I'd been researching the book and was going to get it out in the summer of 2014, but when the decision on wilderness was stalled for a year, I waited," he said.

"The other option for a national monument would have left the area open to a lot of activities and travel options but designating the wilderness areas made them more restrictive.

"The trails won't change much; the biggest change in many areas is who can use them."

Motorized vehicles and even mountain bikes are not allowed in the new wilderness portions of the Boulder-White Clouds, making them havens for people on foot or horseback.

Leidecker's guidebook is published with support from the Idaho Conservation League on waterproof paper and spiral binding like a river guide. It goes beyond hiking trail descriptions and topo maps to detail geology, wildflowers, history, driving and biking routes and other parts of the big picture.

"Central Idaho has a lot of eye-candy mountains you can see from the highway, like the Sawtooths," he said. "The Boulder-White Clouds are different because they're set back from the main roads - you don't see them if you're just passing through."

While the Sawtooths are pretty much all batholith granite, the Boulder-White Clouds include more geologic variety, including sedimentary formations and rugged, remote volcanic summits.

"This is a spectacular area," Leidecker said. "I'm lucky to have been able to share it with my family."

"The Search for Elusive Trout: True Tales & Cocktails"

by Deanna Camp and Paul Quinnett (elusivetrout.com)

This is the book for the angler who enjoys getting hooked in the butt by good humor. It's like no other book on your shelf: A guide to finding the fish you never even dreamed about.

Then again, maybe you've pondered the thrill of catching a Troutalope or a Camotrout.

"If we'd wanted to appeal to your sane side, we would have written and illustrated 'A River Runs through It' or 'The Old Man and the Sea,' the authors point out in the Foreword. "But these books are for normal people.

"We like normal people, but they are not very interesting, or at least not as interesting as trout-crazy people."

Elusive Trout is an unusual mix and humorous collection of whimsical trout illustrations, outlandish stories, quotes and quips plus original cocktail recipes and a rich mix of catchy photos and digressions.

Occasionally, Quinnett ventures into the realm of truth and philosophy.

"I have made it a matter of policy to disbelieve all fishing stories on their first telling," he writes. "They begin to have the ring of truth, however, after I've repeated them several times."

In pursuit of the "Pimped Trout," he notes, "There are two things you can count on in life: Sooner or later the trout will rise, and whatever it is they're rising for will not be in your fly box."

This is a coffee table book and a bedside book. It also will produce fodder for discussion from chairs around a campfire.

Camp works in Spokane with her husband at their marketing agency, Camp Creative. Her 40 years of painting and graphic design experience shine on these pages.

Quinnett is a Spokane-area psychologist who also happens to be equally masterful with the written word and a fishing rod. He's the author of "Pavlov's Trout" and "Darwin's Bass." He's also a leading expert in suicide prevention, but that's another story.

This book in itself makes you want to live, fish, and maybe drink to your success as variable as it inevitably is.

"Washington Rocks! A Guide To Geologic Sites in the Evergreen State"

by Eugene Kiver, Chad Pritchard and Richard Orndorff (mountain-press.com)

Geology can be pretty boring for people who can't visualize oozing basalt and forces that occurred many thousands of years ago.

The authors of this book make it interesting to the nongeologist by photographing and describing the state's geologic history as they detail how the public can actively explore them.

"Each of the 57 sites described in this book is a silent monument to geologic events of the past and sometimes of the present and future," they write.

Most of the sites are in public lands, parks and forests that are worth a visit for various reasons, but the book adds a dimension often overlooked.

Keep this in the car as you drive through the state. Have a passenger read en route. You'll be amazed at how much you've missed or didn't know.

"Death in Glacier National Park: Stories of accidents and foolhardiness in the Crown of the Continent"

by Randi Minetor (minetor.com)

Some might say this isn't as good as the book, "Death in Yellowstone." Glacier doesn't have the hot pots to cook up a good story with boiled body parts.

But the 264 deaths that have occurred in Glacier Park since the staff began keeping records in 1913 are worth remembering as well as pondering for guidance on our own outdoor pursuits.

"Mountain States Foraging: 115 wild and flavorful edibles from alpine sorrel to wild hops,"

by Briana Wiles (www.timberpress.com)

A walk through the wilds will never be quite the same after studying this nicely illustrated book on the region's edible plants.

You'll feel more like a bear than an alien in nature when you learn the countryside is like a WinCo, and the prices are even better.

"America's Bicycle Route: The Story of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail"

by Michael McCoy and Greg Siple (adventurecycling.org).

In 1976, an organization called Bikecentennial celebrated the nation's 200th anniversary by dedicating a mapped bicycle route on backroads from coast to coast.

This book captures the grassroots energy that rallied thousands of people to hop on two wheels and discover their country and its people face to face. The book is stunning in its beauty.

It will certainly entertain anyone with an interest in bicycling. It may also inspire.


East Pass Falls graces East Pass Creek in the new Jerry Peak Wilderness of Idaho's Boulder-White Clouds. (Matt Leidecker photo)
Big Boulder Lakes are in the Boulder-White Clouds. On the skyline are three 11,000-foot peaks, from left, Peak D.O., White Cloud Peak, and Calkens, the highest of the three at 11,487 feet. Matt Leidecker photo