Hiking the 'Boat, again

Author Diane White-Crane expands on guide she wrote nine years ago

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— While exploring trails for the sequel to Steamboat's best-selling hiking guidebook "Hiking the 'Boat," author Diane White-Crane and her husband encountered several bow hunters, who invited the couple to share a snack with them.

Hours after White-Crane and her husband left, one of the bow hunters got lost east of the trail. The hunter's body was found three-and-a-half days later.

"Tragically, he had lost his bearings and walked off a steep cliff in the dark...," she writes, in "Hiking the 'Boat II," an update of the nine-year-old original. "His name was Kris, and it's to his memory that I name this lovely hike the 'Bow Hunter Trail,' and that I ask you lost or not never to bushwhack in the dark."

White-Crane laces the 312-page book with numerous anecdotes and pictures to bring the 108 featured hikes to life. The book updates 30 hikes in the original "Hiking the 'Boat" and details 78 new ones. Each hike analysis features hard information: distance (in mileage), beginning and ending elevations, illustrated maps, driving directions and acreage and depth of lakes and reservoirs.

"The book (Hiking the 'Boat) has been out for nine years, and it was only 30 hikes, and you have to periodically update a hiking book anyway because things change," White-Crane said. "I just figured that if I was going to go through the trouble of updating, I'd do a super-duper book."

The book also rates trails for suitability with children, with sections on back-country safety and wilderness ethics. Mountain bikers will find bike-friendly trail information, while fishing enthusiasts will get to know the perfect spots to catch particular types of fish for trails near bodies of water. Also thrown in are famous quotations and proverbs, as well as nature notes by local naturalist Karen Vail. These "Yampatika Notes" are particularly interesting, with bits of local history and ways to interact with animals on the trail.

"I wanted to provide a little food for thought for my readers, to help them think about a special environmental or spiritual aspect of hiking in a particular area," White-Crane said.

White-Crane used more than 140 quotes in the book, which took three years to complete. Much of the time was spent exploring, re-hiking and updating the original hikes including those affected by debris from powerful winds in 1997, and a few that were rerouted and going through the 78 new hikes.

White-Crane's husband accompanied her on several hikes, and a pair of llamas, Sammy and Dudley, proved to be extremely valuable companions.

"Since I'm no longer able to carry a heavy backpack, using these pack llamas allowed me to go out further, and then stay out longer, on wilderness trips," White-Crane said.

Often dubbed "The Llama Lady," White-Crane appears at local and national schools singing songs from "Songs For Llama Lovers Young and Old," her Washington Area Music Association-nominated children's album, and reading from her second book, "Stop Spitting at Your Brother! Life Lessons of a Rocky Mountain Llama."

"Hiking the 'Boat II" is an expanded follow-up, that is superior to the original.

"The whole thing was an undertaking, making it as complete as I did," White-Crane said. "It involved a lot of discipline. I had to lay out a plan and stay on it and really get all the hikes done.

"It's opening the door to so many hikes that a lot of people don't have time to explore, they want you to lay it all out for them."

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