To truly know a place, one must live there. But, one can begin to know a place on a short visit. Through observations, conversations, some knowledge of the area, and experiences it is possible to be slightly less of an outsider. I have found that when I know a little something about where I am, the trip is more enjoyable.
Focusing on my interests and activities planned, I’ll put together a guidebook of information to bring along. Filling the guide with useful facts and images helps me become familiar with things I may encounter. For example, when picking huckleberries on mountain slopes, I knew that the berry only grows in the wild and all attempts to domesticate it have failed. The fruit snack became a rare treat. The steps are simple. Research, organize, print. Blank pages, for journal notes or sketches, are a nice addition allowing for further customization and new discoveries.
Tools: Library, Internet, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, a local bookbinder/digital printing service. (Crafty individuals may choose to print and bind the book DIY style. This stab bound journal is on my to-do list).
A Pocket Guide for the Backcountry Traveler is organized around hiking, backpacking, and fly fishing in Glacier National Park. It served me well there and is a perfect template for future guidebooks.