This is a book on high-altitude trekking in the magnificent Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh, India and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. It is also much more. The treks described in such detail are pegs on which the author has draped the entire tapestry of the mountains - the life of local communities, their unique customs, mythology, the challenges of "development" in ecologically fragile landscapes, the politics of environmental conservation, the rapid transformation overtaking these remote regions which, unfortunately, are not exempt from the effects of progress (as we define it in its limited way). The book covers four enthralling treks through the Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu district, inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2014 - perhaps the first time that this unique nature reserve has been depicted in such faithful and loving detail. Eight other treks in the districts of Chamba, Kullu, Kangra, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla and Kinnaur complete a fascinating account spread over 20 years.
The Trails Less Travelled is, in essence, both a celebration of wild Nature and documentation of a valuable legacy that may not survive the next 20 years. It needs to be treasured for both these reasons.