So when I found out that he was coming out with full color pictures, fully revised text, and topographical maps – I put it right at the top of my wishlist. Even though it was a little weird buying a new edition of a book, this one was fully worthwhile.
What I Liked
The original book had a lot to like. There are a lot of places to hike in North Georgia, and given limited time & opportunities – it’s nice to have a solid, vetted list to lean on.
And unlike largely anecdotal recommendations on the Internet, Johnny Molloy is one of the few (and maybe only) people who has systematically hiked, camped & fished throughout Georgia & the Southeast Appalachians over the course of decades. The book is authoritative and can make definitive cross-comparisons among different hikes…which random people on AllTrails or other hiking sites simply cannot make.
The format is concise, smart, and straightforward. I like how even in the age of Google Maps, he still includes landmark & odometer-based directions, which are critical on remote Forest Service roads.
I like how he weaves background & historical information within each hike description and provides plenty of unique things to look for on the way to the main highlight of each hike (e.g., wildflowers, assemblages of tree species, historical relics, etc.)
I like how the new edition has full color pictures, topographical maps, and updated mileages based on personal measurements that the author took (ie, instead of depending on outdated Forest Service data).
And 50 Hikes is not only round and catchy, but it’s also a good number of hikes to keep the book light & usable…but also extensive enough to keep even the most avid hiker busy for a while.
Last, I like how each hike provides jumping off ideas for longer / further hikes in the same area or the same trail. For example, I’ve done the Rabun Bald trail, but did not realize that it’s straightforward to combine it with an extended hike down the under-used Bartram Trail.
What I Did Not Like
There was actually very little that I did not like…that would be worth the tradeoff. On one hand, I’d love even more hikes…but that would come at the price of a heavier, more curated book.
Also, I had to do a little bit of digging to find the trails that he left off – both of which are either closed, crowded, or combined into a better loop that is in the book. I wish he’d stated up front what changes were in the book.
Even though it’s fun to go off-trail and explore new, random places – it’s also so useful to lean on an expert’s knowledge to at least plan a jumping off point.
The Internet is useful, but number of stars simply cannot define what constitutes a “good” hike for you – with all the variables involved. If you live or visit Georgia, 50 Hikes is a worthwhile reference book to make the most of your hiking time.
50 Hikes in the North Georgia Mountains
Amazing resource for any hiker.
Author: Johnny Molloy