Outdoors / Adventure book recommendations?

bugglife Member Posts: 87

Any good book (audio or physical) recommendations for when I can't be out on the trail? Here are a few recent ones that I have enjoyed. I tried to pick books that were maybe a little less obvious, but there are still some classics in here as well.

Emerald Mile - Great intro to Grand Canyon. Unfortunately no longer available from audible. Everything else on this list is

The Man Who Walked Through Time - Classic through hike of Grand Canyon. Probably more enjoyable for people who are familiar with the park. Some view points are dated.

Desert Solitaire - Desert classic. Like above, has some problematic aspects, and also perhaps more interesting if you have spent significant time in the Southwest.

In Search... - History of Ancestral Puebloans although not from an indigenous perspective.

Coyote America - A little bit peculiar, but fascinating history of coyotes.

Braiding Sweetgrass - A series of essays highlighting Indigenous ways of living within and interacting with the natural world.

Life Lived Wild - I just finished this one (which is why I'm looking for recommendations). Adventures from Patagonia, the Himalaya, and many other places around the globe.

San Miguel & When the Killing... - Same author, different takes on the Channel Islands. Both are fiction, but very well researched.

A Sense of Direction - stories from three different pilgrimages around the globe. Less outdoorsy than the other books on this list, but still tangentially related.

The Stranger in the Woods - Pretty short, but fascinating story about a guy who lived all by himself in the woods in Maine for 27 years by stealing food and other supplies from the locals.

The Overstory - Quite long, a little depressing, but also fascinating fiction about trees and our relationships with them.


    MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 264

    This was recommended by @Greeneradventures and it was my go-to whenever my sweetie and I went paddling last year - https://www.amazon.com/Lure-Faraway-Places-Reflections-Wilderness/dp/1897045247

    Whether I'm in a canoe or backpacking, I can completely relate to Herb's methods of movement and quiet observation. Each chapter is a different trip from different time periods in his life, so it was equally interesting to read how his styles did and didn't change as he grew older. Highly recommend! Thanks for starting this list @bugglife !

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 87

    @MARK SIREK Thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on the list! Happy to start the thread, looking forward to seeing what other people suggest.

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92

    Do you take a book or read from a digital device?

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92

    ..PS: I found all of Albees books hugely sexist!

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 80

    One of my favorite outdoor adventure books has been Annapurna: A Woman's Place by Arlene Blum.

    This book is about the first all women's team to climb Annapurna. What makes it great is that Arlene Blum Author and team leader walks you through every major decisions thought process. Great outdoor adventure book and great leadership book, I can't recommend enough.

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 87

    @Naomibro on the trail, I usually listen to audiobooks or read on my phone. I'm already bringing it for navigational and some photos purposes, so it's no additional weight, and it's nice and small. I have only read Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. I am interested in reading some more, but the racism and sexism definitely put me off.

    @TenDigitGrid nice, thank you. I thought you might specifically enjoy the Channel Islands books on my list since you have been there. Of the two, I liked "When the Killing..." a little bit more.

    @tina oooh, cool. Endure looks particularly good. Just based on the description, it looks like it may have some similarities with Born to Run, which I also enjoyed.

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92


    Agreed, Albee IS sexist, racist. However, he is a product of the 60s. Read all his books. He's dead now. @ Tina, also read Born to Run. Did you like it?

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 80

    @bugglife you must have stalked my instagram or my blog lol. I love the channel Islands and instantly put those on my list when I saw your comment. I am guiding a trip on Catalina in October which is technically part of that island chain so I want to try and read one of these before then!

  • snechemias
    snechemias Member, Moderator Posts: 18

    I'm a big fan of this story: Astoria: Astor and Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier https://a.co/d/aN4lBa4

    First transcontinental expedition after Lewis and Clark. There are many moments that hit hard if you know the topography... Like these people trying to portage their way through hells canyon, without the slightest clue what lay in front of them.

    A book that I always come back to is South, the story of the failed Shackleton expedition to the south pole.

  • AustinHager
    AustinHager Member Posts: 32

    A great book for anyone setting out into wild spaces is Soft Paths by NOLS. It's a great read and gives a comprehensive explanation on how to reduce your impact. Basically the foundation of Leave No Trace. It discusses several different aspects (eating, navigating, camping) in all different regions and elevations. Even if you're a seasoned outdoorsperson there are countless nuggets of information.

  • petergierlach
    petergierlach Member Posts: 14

    I'm a big fan of Trespassing Across America as well as Northland. Great adventure stories that intertwine history and current issues with our land!

  • ianprovo
    ianprovo Member Posts: 3

    Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard DeVoto. Chronicles from the Rocky Mountain fur trade dynasties of the 1830’s. Epic read if you’re into mountain man type shit.

  • katethewild
    katethewild Member, Moderator Posts: 23

    I know a few of these have been shared, but here is a sample of a few I could find around the house.

    Some are admittedly better written than others, but they might spark an interest in something new... or help someone find a new perspective.

    Others I can recommend are

    Into Thin Air- Jon Krakauer

    The Sunset Route- Carrot Quinn

    Also loved listening to Born to Run on my PCT thru.

    Thanks everyone for the recs. I seem to be very picky with what I read, it has to be an epic adventure or based on real events to hold my attention.

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92

    Perhaps you'd like plodding thru The Journey of the Corps of Discovery. It’s Lewis’s journal of his trip with Clark. Not the easiest read and not a novel, but his perspectives.

  • Naomibro
    Naomibro Member Posts: 92


    Reading NOLS Soft Paths 4th edition. Comments?