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Floating Alaska: Planning Self-Guided Fishing Expeditions
Don Crane
Softbound:   80 pages.
Frank Amato Publications   $15.95
ISBN  1-57188-338-X
Floating Alaska graphic

I'll be honest with you. When this small book arrived, I was a little skeptical that it would contain enough information about such an immense vacation destination like Alaska. Its small size, however, belies its value. I had been planning an Alaska trip, gathering bits and pieces of information from web sites, phone calls, books, e-mails, and not getting much more in return than marketing material, tall tales and nice picsuntil this little sixteen dollar 80 page book came along. It has easily saved me months of research, and has given me the confidence that I'll find the trip I'm hoping for.

Some fishing books are anecdotal by nature, presenting story after story about the value of a particular fishing destination. Other books, like Crane's, make the intelligent assumption that the reader already wants to go there, and then proceed to give exactly the information needed to do just that.

Crane includes the kind of critical detail needed in adventure resource material. The kind of material you can expect includes: information on the advantages of renting or buying specific pieces of equipment; how to book a float plane; what time of day to book a plane and make connecting flights; what to expect from pilots; what to expect aboard planes in the wake of 9/11; how much weight to take along; what type or river gravel to pitch a tent on; what kind of maps to take along with what scales; what types of modern electronics to include such as a GPS device; what areas are likely to provide the best adventures; what kinds of costs to expect with sample itineraries; and a very useful appendix of phone numbers, address and web sites to help fill in all the other details needed.

In short, an entire picture of a typical trip is presented, right down to how to select the right companions so that the all-too-common oddball doesn't show up, the one who sours the trip by refusing to wash dishes, unable to build fires smaller than a funeral pyre and manages to maneuver the raft into a tree.

Ostensibly the book is about planning a self-guided float trip, but the type of advice it presents is invaluable for any trip to Alaska. Trips of this magnitude require painstaking research, phone numbers, the right web sites,  and a host of other decisions--and all this is laid before you in a book that travels easily in the smallest luggage. The only thing left to do, it would seem, is to add water and you're off to create long memories.

--Toney J. Sisk


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