60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, by Jane Huber, Menasha Ridge Press, 2004, 260 pages, $15.95 (www.menasharidge.com).
Jane Huber offers a welcome guide to hikes within a 60-mile radius of the Bay Area’s bustling hub. Huber’s engaging writing neatly melds geology, botany, wildlife, and regional history into a comprehensive natural history of each trail. Of course, Huber spells out the essentials found in every field guide: trip length, difficulty, hike time, facilities, access points, maps, and trail traffic. But buried in the text are the telltale signs of an avid outdoorswoman who has hiked every inch of every trail: where to spot bobcat prints, how to decipher tricky trail markers, and where to avoid a tangle with wild boars. The guide is replete with the requisite maps to guide you to the park, then through it, while the trail profiles depict changes in elevation. Ultimately, Huber offers more than a map and directions — she offers experiences, ones you shouldn’t miss, all within 60 miles of home.