2014 National Outdoor Book Awards announced by Idaho State University
November 13, 2014
They call her Grandma Gatewood. She carries an umbrella, wears a checked skirt, and she loves to hike.
In fact, she is the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. After her first 2,000-mile hike, she did it again, becoming the first person – man or woman – to hike it twice. And then for good measure, she hiked it a third time.
Gatewood is the subject of a new book, which is one of the award recipients of the 2014 National Outdoor Book Awards. The awards program is sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
Her remarkable Appalachian Trail hikes took place in the 1950s and ’60s, and they would have been largely forgotten had it not been for Ben Montgomery who chronicled her life in “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.”
“Montgomery is a first rate storyteller,” said Ron Watters, the chairman of the Awards program, and Idaho State University outdoor education specialist. “He weaves the facts of her life into a moving narrative. We really come to know and understand this amazing woman who found deliverance in the simple act of walking.”
Montgomery’s book is the winner of the History/Biography category, one of 10 categories that make up the National Outdoor Book Awards.
Complete reviews of this and the other 2014 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at: www.noba-web.org.
The winner of the Outdoor Literature category is “Small Feet, Big Land.” Authored by Erin McKittrick, the book is about her family and its experiences in Alaska. She and her husband Hig, and her two children live in a 450-square foot yurt near Seldovia in the southcentral portion of the state. McKittrick writes of her family’s endeavors on wilderness hikes, visits to remote Arctic villages and its stay for two months atop one of the world’s largest glaciers.
“It’s a beautifully written account,” said Watters. “”t is, quite simply, what exceptional outdoor literature is all about: an honest, perceptive, and graceful account of life close to nature.”
One of the winning books this year received two awards. “Life on the Rocks” won the Nature and Environment Category and also tied for first place in the Design and Artistic Merit Category. This double win represents the first time in the history of the National Outdoor Books that a title entered in two categories has won both.
“Life on the Rocks,” written and photographed by wildlife biologist Bruce L. Smith, is all about mountain goats: their habitat, life cycle, behavior and the challenges they face in Alpine environment.
“This is a stunning book,” said Watters, “with dramatic photographs of mountain goats perched on rocky outcrops. From the very first page, Smith draws us into, and shares with us, that unique high mountain world inhabited by those resplendent white creatures.”
The other winning book in the Design category is “Salt: Coastal and Flats Fishing.” It’s a coffee table sized book richly illustrated with photographs by Andy Anderson and accompanied with essays by noted fishing expert Tom Rosenbauer. The Design judges were impressed. At least two of the judges labeled Anderson’s photography as “dazzling.”
“Anderson’s artistic and dramatic photos combined with an equally dazzling design has created a book that is utterly exhilarating in its depiction of the sport of coastal fishing,” Watters said.
Winning the children’s category is a book about a mother and son taking a short, early morning canoe trip. The book, for the 4 to 8 year age group, is entitled “Good Morning Loon” and is written by Elizabeth Varnai and illustrated by Kate Hartley.
The story is told through the eyes of the boy. While canoeing across a lake, the two spot fascinating wildlife: a frog, mergansers, beaver, osprey and great blue heron. Just before they are ready to turn back, they finally come across what the boy was hoping to see: a loon.
“It’s an enchanting story,” said Watters, “and educational. With each new discovery, the boy learns a little more about the natural world. It’s a perfect bedtime read.”
Here is a list of winners.
Outdoor Literature. Winner. “Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home and Family on the Edge of Alaska.” By Erin McKittrick. Mountaineers Books, Seattle. ISBN 9781594857362.
Natural History Literature. Winner. “The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World.” By Julian Hoffman. The University of Georgia Press, Athens. ISBN 9780820347578.
History/Biography. Winner. “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail.” By Ben Montgomery. Chicago Review Press, Chicago ISBN 9781613747186.
Classic Award. Winner. “Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire.” By Nicholas Howe. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston. ISBN 9781934028322.
Nature and Environment. Winner. (Also tied for first place in the Design & Artistic Merit category). “Life on the Rocks: A Portrait of the American Mountain Goat.” Written and photographed by Bruce L. Smith. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, CO. ISBN 9781607322917.
Nature and the Environment. Honorable Mention. “Feathers: A Beautiful Look at a Bird’s Most Unique Feature.” By Stan Tekiela. Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN. ISBN 9781591934936.
Design and Artistic Merit. Winner. “Salt: Coastal and Flats Fishing.” Photographs by Andy Anderson. Essays by Tom Rosenbauer. Rizzoli International Publications, New York. ISBN 9780789327062.
Children’s Category. Winner. “Good Morning Loon.” By Elizabeth S. Varnai. Illustrated by Kate Hartley. Vista Court Books, New Hope PA. ISBN9780962842238.
Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks. Winner. “Chattahoochee River User’s Guide by Joe Cook.” University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. ISBN 9780820346793.
Nature Guidebooks. Winner. “The Warbler Guide.” By Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 9780691154824.
Instructional Category. Winner. “Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete.” By Steve House and Scott Johnston. Patagonia Books, Ventura, CA. ISBN 9781938340239.
Instructional Category. Honorable Mention. “Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rod & Reel.” By Yvon Chouinard, Craig Mathews and Mauro Mazzo. Paintings by James Prosek. Patagonia Books, Ventura, CA. ISBN 9781938340277.
Work of Significance. “Fieldbook: Scouting’s Manual of Basic and Advanced Skills for Outdoor Adventure.” By Robert Birkby. Boy Scouts of America , Irving, TX. ISBN 9780839531043.
Home Towns of Authors:
Outdoor Literature. “Small Feet, Big Land.” Erin McKittrick (Seldovia, AK)
Classic Award.History/Biography. Natural History Literature. “The Small Heart of Things.” Julian Hoffman (Florina, Greece)
“Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.” Ben Montgomery (Tampa, FL)
“Not Without Peril.” Nicholas Howe (Jackson, NH)
Nature and Environment. “Life on the Rocks.” Bruce L. Smith (Sheridan, MT)
Nature and the Environment. “Feathers.” Stan Tekiela (Victoria, MN)
Design and Artistic Merit. “Salt.” Andy Anderson (Mountain Home, ID).
Children’s Category. “Good Morning Loon.” By Elizabeth S. Varnai (New Hope, PA)
Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks. “Chattahoochee River User’s Guide. Joe Cook (Rome, GA)
Nature Guidebooks. “The Warbler Guide.” Tom Stephenson (Brooklyn, NY) AND Scott Whittle (Cape May, NJ)
Instructional Category. “Training for the New Alpinism.” Steve House (Ridgway, CO) AND Scott Johnston (Mazama, WA)
Instructional Category. “Simple Fly Fishing.” Yvon Chouinard (Ventura, CA) AND Craig Mathews (West Yellowstone, MT) AND Mauro Mazzo (Milan, Italy)
Work of Significance. “Fieldbook.” Robert Birkby (Seattle, WA)