10 Books That Inspire Adventure
There are few things better than spending time in your hammock relaxing, and reading a good book. With the weather getting colder and the holiday’s approaching you may be spending less and less time outside. So we put together a list of some of our favorite outdoor books to inspire your next adventure. Some are informational, some are inspiring, but we promise all are worth a read.
Summary: Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
Summary: In April 1992 a young man hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 to charity, abandoned his car, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
A Walk in the Woods
Summary: The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some breathtaking terrain–majestic mountains, forests, and lakes. Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy folks he meets along the way. A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors.
Summary: At Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau reflected on simpler living in the natural world. By removing himself from the distractions of materialism, Thoreau hoped to not only improve his spiritual life but also gain a better understanding of society.
In Walden, Thoreau condenses his two-year stay into a single year, using the four seasons to symbolize human development. A cycle of life shared by both nature and man. A celebration of personal renewal through self-reliance, independence, and simplicity, composed for all of us living in “quiet desperation,” Walden is eternal.
Summary: In August 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica. He planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men.
For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic’s heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization. Their survival, depended on their small lifeboat successfully finding the island of South Georgia.
In Endurance, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.
Summary: So what’s a GRAND ADVENTURE? It is the most life-changing, career-enhancing, personality-forging, fun adventure of your life.
Alastair Humphreys shines a spotlight on the real-life things that get in the way. Stuff like time, money or your other commitments. Grand Adventures is also crammed with hard-won wisdom from people who have actually been there and done that. By boat and boot, car and kayak, bicycle and motorbike. People who had one epic trip then returned to normal life. Or, who got bitten so badly by the bug that they devoted their life to the pursuit of adventure. Young people, old people. Men, women. Mates, couples, families. Extraordinary, inspiring people. People like you.
Saving your pennies, overcoming inertia, generating momentum, getting out the front door. If you want it enough, you can do it.
A River Runs Through It
Summary: Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story are based on his own experiences. The experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.
Summary: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. From the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
No Shortcuts to the Top
Summary: For eighteen years Ed Viesturs pursued climbing’s holy grail. To stand atop the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, without the aid of bottled oxygen. No Shortcuts to the Top is as much about the man who would become the first American to achieve that goal as it is about his stunning quest. As Viesturs recounts the stories of his most harrowing climbs. He reveals a man torn between the flat, safe world he and his loved ones share and the majestic, deadly places where only he can go.
A preternaturally cautious climber who once turned back 300 feet from the top of Everest but who would not shrink from a peak (Annapurna) known to claim the life of one climber for every two who reached its summit, Viesturs lives by an unyielding motto, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” It is with this philosophy that he vividly describes fatal errors in judgment made by his fellow climbers as well as a few of his own close calls and gallant rescues. And, for the first time, he details his own pivotal and heroic role in the 1996 Everest disaster made famous in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air.
In addition to the raw excitement of Viesturs’s odyssey, No Shortcuts to the Top is leavened with many funny moments revealing the camaraderie between climbers. It is more than the first full account of one of the staggering accomplishments of our time; it is a portrait of a brave and devoted family man and his beliefs that shaped this most perilous and magnificent pursuit.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk
Summary: Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. By September 1955 she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, sang “America, the Beautiful,” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”
Grandma Gatewood not only hiked the trail alone, she was the first person to walk it twice and three times. At age seventy-one, she hiked the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity, and appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter. The public attention she brought to the trail was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.
Let us know what you think of these 10 great books! Happy hanging friends!