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EXCITEMENT! . . . is the only word that describes paddling through the Lehigh Gorge, whether it be in a raft, kayak, canoe, or any other type of boat - even on an inner tube or inflatable pool furniture

Paddling down the Lehigh River is not only a thrilling whitewater adventure, it is also a scenic tour through backwoods territory on a watercourse whose tree-lined banks have hardly changed since the time of Columbus. Visible signs of civilization are sparse above the metropolitan areas near the confluence with the Delaware River.

You don't even have to be on the river to feel the exhilaration in the air. During whitewater releases, you only have to visit the access points, or hike or bike along the Lehigh Gorge Trail, and you're sure to hear the screams and laughter of paddlers on the water: an incomparable vicarious experience that might encourage you to contact a raft outfitter and sign up for a trip that you'll never forget.

The present volume is laid out like a spinal column: sections of the Lehigh River are stitched together to form the supporting structure, while the tributaries extend to either side like ribs. Each stretch of river is described in detail so that paddlers and anglers will know what to expect. Each runnable tributary is treated in similar fashion. This way there won't be any untoward surprises that might bring a boater to grief.

Some streams are covered primarily because of their fishing potential.

The focal point of the Lehigh River watershed is the Lehigh Gorge: a canyon that stretches approximately 25 miles as it carves a twisting path between mountains that tower nearly a thousand feet on either side. The vista alone is worth the effort to see it. But to paddle along the bottom of the canyon, and stare upward at the thickly forested slopes and sheer cliff faces, adds a fillip that enhances the experience a quantum leap above the extraordinary.

In addition to the Gorge there exists a number of paddling and fishing opportunities that are often overlooked. Narrow upstream sections meander idly through wilderness tracts that few paddlers or anglers ever think about, much less appreciate. The lazy current in downstream sections, where the river is broad, provides easy-going paddling for families with small children who will enjoy a layback day on the water, and a quick swim in the shallows to escape the summer heat.

The Great Falls of the Lehigh is a spectacular 20-foot drop in the riverbed.

Then there are the major tributaries: Aquashicola Creek, Bear Creek, Black Creek, Buckwha Creek, Coplay Creek, Hazle Creek, Hokendauqua Creek, Indian Creek, Jordan Creek, Little Lehigh Creek, Lizard Creek, Mahoning Creek, Monocacy Creek, Mauch Chunk Creek, Mud Run, Nesquehoning Creek, Pohopoco Creek, Quakake Creek, Sandy Run, Saucon Creek, Sawmill Run, Shades Creek, Stony Creek, Tenmile Run, Tobyhanna Creek, Trout Creek, Tunkhannock Creek, and Upper Tunkhannock Creek. The Great Falls of the Mud is a combination of two waterfalls followed by a boulder-filled cataract that stretches for a hundred yards.

These shallow streams become runnable after large rainfalls. Some of them are slow-moving and placid: perfect for a quiet day's outing. Others consist of wild rapids and steep gradients that rival the mighty Lehigh.

And let's not forget the canals that were constructed in antebellum days. Some of these are flooded and are easily accessible to anglers, and to paddlers who want to cruise still waters that don't run deep.

The Lehigh Valley watershed has it all.

ISBN ISBN 978-1-883056-50-6, softcover with color covers, 6 x 9 vertical, 240 pages, 180 color photos, 10 black and white photos, 1 map, $20.

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Trails that are more or less traveled

In view of the fact that the borough of Jim Thorpe was named after an Olympic champion, it is fitting that the area is renowned for such physical outdoor activities as hiking, biking, and jogging in the surrounding hinterland (plus snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter months). Hundreds of miles of trails provide access to remote forested mountaintops, yet the casual visitor may be unaware of all but a few.

The Lehigh Gorge Trail and the Switchback Trail are well-known and popular destinations. Visitors flock to these trackless tracks because they are well publicized. But these commonly accessed tourist attractions pass by or intersect with scores of other trails that are largely ignored or unknown. These "other" trails are traveled mostly by a sparse community of outdoor folk - generally local inhabitants - who have discovered or been shown the wild routes that lie off the beaten track.

Although the present volume describes in detail the sights and landmarks that dot the two trails that are named above, it goes far beyond them. Most of the content extols the virtues of hiking, biking, and jogging in areas where people seldom go: into the outback where nature prevails and solitude is a virtue. There you will find babbling brooks, neglected waterfalls, scenic overlooks, rock outcrops, pristine forests, abandoned structures, isolated reservoirs, and more - much more.

The backbone of the book is the Lehigh Gorge Trail. The adjacent mountains are like transverse processes on descending vertebrae. The mountains are arranged in hopscotch fashion from north to south, jumping back and forth across the Lehigh River between White Haven in the north to the Lehigh Gap in the south. The chapters are arranged accordingly: not in alphabetical order but from upstream to downstream as they first make their appearance along the river:

Chestnut Ridge (Hickory Run State Park), Green Mountain, Buck Mountain, Summer Mountain, Millstone Mountain, Weiser Penn Forest Tract, Penn Haven and Bald Mountains, Scrub Mountain, Broad Mountain, Pocono Mountain, Glen Onoko, Pisgah Mountain, Switchback Trail, Mauch Chunk Ridge, Bear Mountain, Beltzville State Park, and Blue Mountain.

By using this book as a guide, readers can locate secluded pathways, forgotten trails, and old wagon roads that are too often bypassed. Whether you wish for nothing more than a simple stroll in the woods, or want to ride your mountain bike across strenuous terrain, this book is the gateway to lands beyond the pale.

ISBN 978-1-883056-48-3, softcover with color covers, 6 x 9 vertical, 216 pages, 128 color photos, 33 maps, $20.

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Shipwrecks of Maine and New Hampshire

As suggested by the title and series name, this volume covers the most well-known wrecks sunk off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire.

For each of the wrecks covered, a statistical sidebar provides basic information such as the dates of construction and loss, previous names (if any), tonnage and dimensions, builder and owner (at time of loss), port of registry, type of vessel and how propelled, cause of sinking, location (GPS and/or loran coordinates if known), and depth. In most cases, an historical photograph or illustration of the ship leads the text. Throughout the book is scattered a selection of additional photographs.

Each volume is full of fascinating narratives of triumph and tragedy, of heroism and disgrace, of human nature at its best and its basest. These books are not about wood and steel, but about flesh and blood, for every shipwreck saga is a human story. Ships may founder, run aground, burn, collide with other vessels, or be torpedoed by a German U-boat. In every case, however, what is emphatically important is what happened to the people who became victims of casualty: how they survived, how they died.

Also included are descriptions of the wrecks as they appear on the bottom.

At the end of this volume is a bibliography of suggested reading, and a list of GPS and loran numbers of wrecks in and adjacent to the area covered.

Wrecks covered in Shipwrecks of Maine and New Hampshire are:

Maine: Alice E. Clark, Amaretto, Anne C. Maguire (alias Golden State and Annie C. Maguire), Annie L. Henderson, Bay State, Bohemian, Cambridge, City of Portland, Cora F. Cressy, Cornwallis, D. T. Sheridan, Eagle 56, Edna M. McKnight, Edward J. Lawrence, Empire Knight, F. C. Pendleton, Gardiner G. Deering, Georgetown, Georgia, Hartwelson, Helen B. Crosby, Hesper, Luther Little, Howard W. Middleton, Irvington, Jessica Ann, Joseph S. Zeman, Mary F. Barrett, North America, Nottingham, Oakey L. Alexander, Polias, Royal Tar, S-21, Sagamore, Susan P. Thurlow, Wandby, Washington B. Thomas, W. G. Butman.

New Hampshire: Camilla May Page, Mary A. Brown, New England, Number 3666, O-9, Pythian, Samuel J. Goucher, Wild Cat. Offshore: Cherokee, Gulf Stream, Marine Merchant, Novadoc, Port Nicholson, Robert & Richard, Dornfontein, William H. Machen.

ISBN 978-1-883056-52-0 softcover with color covers, 6 x 9 vertical, 220 pages, 4 color photos 126 black & white photos, $20.

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