A self-described "primitive skills enthusiast," local author Kelly Brown has been wooing the Obed since the mid-'80s and dreaming of writing a guide to climbing it for years. He triumphed this year with the release of The Obed: A Climber's Guide to the Wild and Scenic (Greener Grass Publishing, $30).
At once inspiring and meticulously practical, this is the ultimate guide to climbing the sandstone paradise in rural northeastern Tennessee. Sweeping photos from co-climber and photojournalist Mark Andrew Large (staff photographer at the Maryville Daily Times) deliver the monstrous horizontal roofs, perfect boulders, and extras like swimming holes and particularly spectacular vistas right to your coffee table. Brown's step-by-step photos and instructions for scaling and enjoying leave nothing to the imagination—and he's a nut for safety, historical perspective, and admonitions to "Live your passion."
A great read, even if you never leave your armchair.