A reflective report on the Blue Ridge region as Mr. Bake came to know it on camera explorations, from talks and study and climbs--punctuated with color photographs of near-Sierra Club splendor loosely picturing the locales. On the southern granite mountains he finds desert plants from the Southwest--""a sixty-million-year-old botanical enclave. . . separated by half a continent from its nearest relatives""--while the highland flora stems from a forest type found only in Southeast Asia today. Everywhere is old farmland, the barns small, the houses in disrepair: unlovely country--but ""It is uncrowded, unnoticed, and despite its trailers and junkyards, it speaks strongly about its past."" Taking up preservation and access, he differentiates between the work of the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, and pays tribute to the Appalachian Trail Conference, an example of individual commitment. Tips on photographing the Appalachians, sources of practical information, and selected references conclude. A good thing: Mr. Bake's enthusiasm is infectious.