4 out of 4 stars
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Get Your Dirty Boots: Solo Hiking in Southern Alberta by Allen Szabon is, as the name makes clear, a guide for those who enjoy hiking and getting in touch with nature, specifically in Southern Alberta. Most of the author's contact with nature indeed took place in Alberta, and it is also equally correct that he prefers to have this contact alone, but it is a fact that this guide is much broader than the title implies.
The book covers everything an adventurer needs to know: gear, the need to respect wildlife, descriptions of animals, medical care, hygiene, human psychology in times of crisis, and so forth. The author tells jokes, quotes, and tells his own experiences in the most diverse chapters. It's such a complete book that Allen even discussed what women should do to deal with their periods while hiking. In the last pages, there is a description of the author's adventures in other countries like Germany, Rwanda, Israel, Jordan, etc. There is no doubt that he is a professional with decades of experience and valuable tips to share.
What is most praiseworthy about this book is that the book is eco-friendly. Several chapters discuss the need to respect wildlife. There are descriptions of various types of animals and how to deal with them, materials to take, what to do on the trail, etc. I've read similar works that completely ignored the subject. Many people think that wild animals are like pets. By doing something as simple as feeding a bear, visitors are changing the dynamics of relationships. In this example specifically, having the bear let down its guard around humans, or making them look for food near human clumps, could be fatal to the wild animal.
There is a repetition of various concepts in different chapters. I cannot say that this is a problem or that the author made a mistake because I start from the premise that any learning process is intrinsically linked with repetition. Although there is a specific chapter that emphasizes the importance of respecting wildlife, Allen repeated this idea in several others. As I said, this is more a matter of style than an imperfection. Thus, the book is pretty much flawless.
Adventure fans and nature lovers alike will conclude that the only plausible score for this book is four out of four stars. The book is complete, well written, and full of valuable information. I found only one punctuation error in a work that is almost 300 pages long. I recommend it for those who like trails and contact with nature. Even if you're new to these activities but are interested in getting started, this book is perfect for you.
Get your boots dirty. Solo hiking southern Alberta.
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