To hike from the bottom of the mountain to the top sounds like a reasonable goal. But Daniel Arnold takes it to the extreme. His task was to hike from the lowest level in the United states, Badwater, Death Valley in California, to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continuous United States. Salt to Summit chronicles that solo expedition but it is far from a simple hiking and mountaineering journal. Throughout this exceptional book, Arnold introduces us to the pioneers, prospectors, and early mountaineers that inhabited in this mostly barren region. It is full of interesting tales from the past. Yet it is also a richly descriptive essay on both the natural wonders of this Californian wilderness and the lure it has over modern day visitors. While you can easily drive from Death Valley to at least the base of Mt. Whitney, Arnold eschewed the road and hiked through pathless regions making his story more enthralling. The author has the enthusiasm of John Muir and the keen observational talents of Edward Abbey. Plus he can easily hold his own with his exquisitely descriptive prose in the presence of either of them. I know the general area Arnold writes about fairly well yet I learned a lot that I didn't know. But mostly, I was simply caught up in the author's prose and style. Highly recommended to anyone who is interested in California or the desert. Four and a half stars.