It’s an Outdoors Christmas

A Dozen Delights for Your Favorite Outdoors Enthusiast

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

If you have a fan of the outdoors on your list — whether it’s a bird watcher, a hunter, a fisherman, a forager, skier, hiker or mountaineer — whatever the person on your Christmas shopping list is into, you can be sure that there is a new piece of equipment, gear, accessories or books about equipment, gear or accessories that they’d love to have and will appreciate.

This week The Chronicle went out on a little scouting trip, in search of big game and small, and we have a few suggestions that will bring Christmas cheers for you from your outdoors enthusiasts.

A Call of Duty Duty Black Ops Edition Jeep sits at Campbell Chrysler in Centralia just before Christmas. This rough and tumble Jeep would make a perfect Christmas present for the serious outdoors person.

1. The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty Black Ops Edition is not only the top-of-the-line Jeep Wrangler, but this all black and brushed chrome beauty is loaded with extras. The steering wheel has the feel of a video game controller — three buttons under your fingers on each side, and a handful of buttons up top to keep your hands on the wheel and the controls under your thumbs.

It’s iPhone ready, and includes voice recognition.

The model on the showroom floor at Campbell Chrysler Jeep Dodge (217 Main St., Centralia) has a hefty MSRP of $37,000 and some change, but if you really love your outdoor’s lover you’d get them what they need, right? Besides, according to sales consultant Brandon Rakes, it even has a button for hill descent control. “It will crawl down the hill for you,” he said.

A 2008 Arctic Cat Prowler XTX was a little less expensive than the Jeep.

2. If the all-black Special Ops Jeep is a bit beyond your budget, take a look at the 2008 Arctic Cat Prowler XTX down at the Olympic Motor Company (515 E. Summa, Centralia). It’s about $30,000 cheaper than the Jeep — which almost makes it sound like a bargain. The Arctic Cat is known as the “undisputed king of the off-road experience,” according to business owner Mike Barrett.

This little snow white beauty comes with side by side bucket seats, full roll cage, automatic transmission with reverse, a dump cargo box with tailgate, independent suspension, tilt steering and a hitch. And while it doesn’t guarantee fun, it looks like you’d have to be a Grinch not to enjoy powering through the mud out behind grandma’s place after Christmas.

If roaring through the outdoors in a mud-slinging beast isn’t your cup of tea, head on into the local bookstore and scout the shelves for the latest in hiking and nature guides.

3. “The Northwest Nature Guide,” by James Luther Davis, Timber Press, is a highly readable and entertaining travel guide that will show you when and where to enjoy the wildlife and beautiful sites throughout Washington, Oregon and parts of British Columbia.

This month-by-month guide gets you where you need to go to see nature at its best. January includes tips on finding wintering raptors, the swans of British Columbia, viewing wildlife on skis and finding frozen waterfalls.

4. “Birds of Washington State,” by Brian H. Bell and Gregory Kennedy, Lone Pine Publishing International, $21.95, is a handy reference guide that will help identify 320 species of birds.

There are range maps and tips for spotting and identifying birds.

5. If you are ready for a more in-depth introduction to birding, try the “National Geographic Birding Essentials,” by Jonathan Alderfer and Jon Dunn, $15.95.

For beginners, they include the basic information on equipment, parts of a bird and how to make identifications. Advanced fieldcraft skills for the advanced birder include understanding migration, some of the tougher identification challenges, recording and journaling techniques.

Keeping a written record is easy even in a cloudburst with waterproof “Rite in the Rain” notebooks, journals and sketchbooks. All-weather pens and journal covers are also available.

6. Keeping a written record in the rain is made easy with the waterproof “Rite in the Rain” products from a local, Tacoma-based company. Whatever the outdoors activity, Rite in the Rain has a notebook, journal or sketchbook that can be used out in the rain. There is an all-weather pen and journal covers available.

The Rite in the Rain products are available at Book ‘n’ Brush (518 N. Market Blvd, Chehalis) or online at www.riteintherain.com.

7. When outdoors clothing and boots get wet, toss them on the Peet Ultimate Gear Dryer from Cabela’s (exit 111 off I-5 or www.cabelas.com), available for under $100. The Peet dryer includes wader-, boot- and glove-drying attachments.

8. Patty Kaija of Kaija’s Garden and Pet (623 State Ave., Chehalis), has a few BirdCam 2.0 in stock for just under $200.

“Russ (Mohney) was always fascinated with these things,” said Kaija, “They’ll take a still photo or a short movie. You can set it out and see just what exactly is eating all the fish out of your pond.”

9. But if the BirdCam is a bit beyond your budget, Kaija suggests a bag of sunflower seed or suet would be a welcome gift for any bird lover.

A suet cake can cost as little as 99 cents and will provide hours of entertainment.

10. The gift of a jaunt out into the country is always welcome. Get “The Great Washington State Birding Trail, Southwest Loop” map from Audubon Washington. This is just one in a series of birding trail maps available for Washington state bird lovers. Go to wa.audubon.org/ for more information.

11. A Mount Rainier National Park Annual Pass is $30. After two trips, the pass pays for itself.

12. For $80 you can buy an America the Beautiful — National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass that provides access to federal recreation sites that charge an entrance fee.

Purchase the pass online at store.usgs.gov/pass/.

13. Give a trip to White Pass Ski Resort this year. The White Pass Gift Card is available online in pre-loaded amounts of either $50 or $100 dollars. Gift cards may be used at the ticket booth and at all Day Lodge registers. Go to the website for more information, www.skiwhitepass.com/.

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kz@tds.net.