YAKIMA, Wash. — It’s that time of year when people begin looking for Christmas gifts . (Well, in truth, it’s not that time for me; I have another two months before I realize the date and start scrambling around with the other idiots who put it off .) And I just happened to come across the fall/winter list of new titles from The Mountaineers Books, which is one of the handful of publishers whose works tend to fill my bookshelf and my desk here in the bowels of the Herald-Republic office. (The bowels, as in the basement. My windows to the world do not exist here.)

Again, I digress. The Mountaineers Books has a few new books that just might make your short list for stuffing the stocking of that outdoors lover in your life.

For the outdoorsman who, really, just wants to look like one based on what’s on the coffee table: “Bear Country: North America’s Grizzly, Black and Polar Bears.” Photos, photos and yet more photos of bears in the wild. Me, I love seeing photos of grizzly bears primarily because I have no desire whatsoever to see them in the wild. Black bears, meh. Grizzlies? Sphincter Factor Ten.

For the hiker who lives too far away to come and hike the trails around Mount Rainier but wants to do so vicariously: “Hiking the Wonderland Trail,” and if you go to the link you can download the chapter on backpacking the Wonderland.

For the adrenalin freak in your world: “Psychovertical.” Even if he/she doesn’t read it, just seeing the book title will generate a smile.

For the slightly off-the-wall: “Crossing Zion … All the Lonely People,” which is NOT a Mountaineers book but is available used on Amazon. I read this book eight years ago and interviewed the author, Keith Mark Johnson, who was then living in Ellensburg. Very weird and fascinating book by a guy who absolutely bared his soul in the writing. If you want to peak into the soul of a guy who struggled at maintaining the balancing act between the solitary world of climbing and the social world of the ground-bound, give this one a shot. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe not. But you definitely will not be bored.

– Scott Sandsberry