My Banned Book Story or I’ll be coming ’round the mountain no matter what

April 2003
by Bette Filley

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I published what may be the only banned trail guide in history. It’s called Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail Encircling Mount Rainier.
It’s a very detailed guide, and it came about quite by accident. After hiking sections of the trail, I was thoroughly convinced that the mileage signs were incorrect. So in 1965, I bought a surveyor’s measuring wheel and pushed it around the mountain (over 100 miles of really rugged wilderness) to see what the correct mileage was. I was right; the signs were wrong. I recorded what each sign said, and what the actual mileage was according to the measuring wheel.
So many people were interested in my notes that I did the trail again, making far more detailed observations and reference descriptions. Then I interspersed those with tidbits about the history, Indian lore, geology, mining, all known water sources, campsites, and anything I thought would be of use to first-time hikers there (such as where to expect to see the mountain goats and meet the bears).

In 1967, I sent the book off to Seattle Mountaineers, which accepted it for publication. Suddenly, I found myself in the middle of a huge controversy. The new environmental movement was gathering a lot of steam at the time, and in the ensuing battle within the Mountaineers Club about whether to publish trail guides, my book became a casualty, along with several others. Back came my unpublished tome.
I put the manuscript in my file cabine…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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