In our last blog, you had a chance to read about the best movies related to hiking (I know – Dances With Wolves is not a „hiking“ movie per se) . This time, we would like to present the books that we think represent the best you can find out there, related to hiking as well. The reads below will help you motivate to shut off the TV, pack a picnic lunch, some sunscreen, and get out there. It doesn't matter if you are thru-hiking, day-hiking, or just thinking about doing it, these books fit just as nicely in a rucksack as on a nightstand. Among them you can find ones with educational purposes, others will motivate you or even prepare you emotionally for a tough hike. So stay tuned, and check our list (in no specific order):
1. Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan
Set against the backdrop of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, a man and a dog embark on the challenge of a lifetime in this true story of love, loss, and the resilience of the human and animal spirit. An inspiring tale of how Tom Ryan and his miniature schnauzer companion, Atticus m. Finch, attempted to scale all 48 of New Hampshire's 4.000 foot White Mountains twice in the dead of winter.
2. A Million Steps, by Kurt Koontz
Part diary, part travelogue, A Million Steps is an engaging memoir of hiking the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. With outgoing humor and friendliness, he embraces the beauty of the countryside and joyful connection to other pilgrims from around the world, while navigating through his personal history of addiction, recovery and love. A Million Steps is a journey within a journey all the way to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and beyond.
3. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
A story told in style and with suspense, filled with humor and warmth. Cheryl Strayed had already had a series of hard knocks in her 22 years on Earth when she decided to set out on one of the most daunting hikes in the United States: the Pacific Crest Trail. The West’s answer to the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest is decidedly more desolate, rockier, and has a considerably denser population of snakes. Having just weathered tragedy after tragedy in her personal life and armed with very little hiking experience, Strayed starts out with a massively overfilled pack and an even heavier heart. By the time her journey ends, she has lightened both loads considerably.
4. Nature / Walking, by Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
Someone somewhere had the genius idea of putting these two Transcendentalist essays together in one volume, and the result is a twin ode to the spiritual power of a walk in the woods. Whatever your faith or philosophy, it is easy to connect to the awe and majesty that these two great minds conjure up for the great outdoors. Both authors write in the ornately crafted style of their time, which only increases the sense of wonder and reverence for the beauty of the American landscape contained in this slim volume. Once you’ve read it, you will have a much tougher time spending a beautiful Saturday on the couch.
5. Classic Hikes Of The World, by Peter Potterfield
Peter Potterfield has selected the great hikes of the world from personal experience, having hiked and photographed hundreds of trails to arrive at this selection. The adventures described range from weekend overnights to four-day hut trips to epic journeys that take a few weeks out and back.
6. Small Feet, Big Land, by Erin McKittrick
Small Feet, Big Land follows the expeditions and daily life of a family of four: Erin McKittrick and her husband, Hig, lifelong adventure trekkers, set out to explore the vast and remote wild corners of Alaska with their two young children in tow. This book reflects on climate change and life in remote Arctic villages. From grizzly bear encounters to eating whale blubber, the experiences of this adventurous family will keep you entertained until the last page.
7. Tracks, by Robyn Davidson
Robyn Davidson opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of the hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company. Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.
8. The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane
Combining literature, geology, natural history and cartography, this is a hiking book featuring hikes on the ancient routes and trails that crisscross various places on earth, from Great Britain to the Himalayas and Spain. The book has been chosen by Slate as one of the best nonfiction books of the past 25 years. Robert Macfarlane sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the landscape of the British Isles and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the voices that haunt old paths and the stories our tracks tell.
9. Trail Food, by Alan Kesselheim
Life in the outdoors revolves around food: cooking it, eating it, packing it, carrying it. If you're on the lookout for a way to bring real meals to the trail, this book might have the answer. It is full of great tips on how to remove water from food, planning meals and packing food.
10. Backpacking: For Beginners, by Andrew Stephenson
An informative and to-the-point guide providing tried-and-tested planning advice and useful hiking hacks. Tips include everything from picking a destination to how to stay safe on the trail. Planning your first backpacking trip can be daunting, especially with so much contradictory information out there. This is why Backpacking for Beginners cuts to the chase and gives you the information you really need.
11. Lost On The Appalachian Trail, by Kyle Rohring
Join Kyle and his little dog "Katana" as they take you along for every step of their 3.500 km adventure hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Confront the terrain, severe weather, injury, dangerous wildlife and questionable characters as you grow and learn as Kyle did from start to finish of this epic adventure. Make some friends for life, learn the finer points of long-distance hiking, and realize that what you take within your backpack is not nearly as important as what you bring within yourself.
12. Hiking The Continental Divide Trail: One Woman's Journey, by Jennifer Hanson
When Army captain and consummate outdoorswoman Jennifer Hanson and her husband Greg set out to hike the Continental Divide Trail together, they expect to finish it together. However, thanks to a series of setbacks, delays, and injuries—Hanson’s husband Greg has to drop out with 900 miles left in the journey. Hanson has to dig deep to find the grit she knows she has to make it through one of the toughest hikes there is. The resulting tale of adventure reminds us of that core tenet of hiking: expect the unexpected.
13. Appalachian Trials, by Zach Davis
There are lots of books that can instruct you on the logistics of how to prepare for a serious hike: how to find and purify drinking water, what shoes are best, and so on. However, there are far fewer books that help you cope with the emotional rollercoaster of a long hike. Thankfully, Appalachian Trials does both. From the sky-high triumphs of reaching a coveted summit to the desperation of losing a necessary piece of gear, this book details what it is actually like to hike the AT. If you’re on the fence about pushing your hiking limits, you can count on this book to give you a no-nonsense account of what you’re in for.
14. Thru-hiking Will Break Your Heart, by Carrot Quinn
This story is about a young woman whose internet-centered city life made her numb and caused her to break away from everything she knows and immerse herself in nature. A great account of an epic hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
15. Indian Creek Chronicles, by Pete Fromm
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, Indian Creek Chronicles is Pete Fromm's account of seven winter months spent alone in a tent in Idaho guarding salmon eggs and coming face to face with the blunt realities of life as a contemporary mountain man. A gripping story of adventure and a modern-day Walden, this contemporary classic established Fromm as one of the West's premier voices.
That's it. All books recommended above are books that we have read and enjoyed sincerely. I had one more, but as I didn't finish it yet – Wild by Nature (Sarah Marquis), I'll save the recommendation for some other time. 15 books are way too few to cover all the special books on hiking, and we can't wait to read more of them.
If you have some recommendations for us, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe until our next blog comes out, and start preparing for HIGHLANDER events as they are just a few months ahead of us.