Believe it or not, there are times when you will actually be able to relax when backpacking. You may get rained out and have to stay put for an extra day, or you may get to camp early and have the chance to enjoy a rest in your hammock. These are some of our favourite books to read in, and about, nature.
Written by our own ambassador, Heather “Anish” Anderson, this story of her record-setting journey along the Pacific Crest Trail is equal parts outward and inward discovery.
Walking was the chosen habit of brilliant philosophers such as Nietzsche, Kant and Thoreau. Frederic Gros takes inspiration from these minds and speaks of their wandering habits and his own, in a way that will instill you with the compulsion to move.
Speaking of Henry David Thoreau, you simply cannot make a list of books about nature without including Walden. Thoreau spent two years, two months and two days living in a simple hut he built in the Walden Woods of Massachusetts. In this book, he recounts in elegant prose both scientific and mystical observations of his time alone in the woods. It’s an irrefutable classic.
This one is a little less magical, but a little more fun to read. Travel writer Bill Bryson accounts his Appalachian trail traverse with his, somewhat bumbling, friend, Stephen Katz. Bryson’s writing is honest, hilarious, and always eye opening.
Nothing gives you more appreciation for something than losing it. In this memoir, Jason A. Ramos recounts his years as an elite smokejumper, airborne firefighters who parachute into wilderness blazes to battle the flames. His stories of vanishing lands will stir your emotions, and make you want to do something to help.
This book is hands down the most intense story we’ve ever read. Writer and traveller Yossi Ghinsberg shares his death-defying journey through the Amazon rainforest- by himself. Separated from his friends and guide, Yossi has to survive with no gear, and no wilderness training. This is one to read from the safety of your tent.
Even the littlest of trails can inspire very big questions. Robert Moor speaks of both in this book that mixes his outdoor adventures with his findings about trails. What creates them, what sustains them, and most importantly, what do they say about our world?
Not the first on this list to have been made into a film, Wild is the inspiring story of a woman in mourning. After losing her mother at 22, Cheryl Strayed spends a few years living in the shadow of a less-than-perfect existence. Four years later, she turns to the Pacific Crest Trail on a whim and begins a long, tiring trek towards the light.
For those who love a combination of science and wonder, this book from Peter Whollenben will satisfy greatly. The first in a trilogy of books that are an exploration of nature and the magic it holds, The Hidden Life of Trees is the perfect book to read when you’re among them.
Have you heard of Alexander von Humboldt? His name is on many lakes, counties and rivers around the world. He was a renowned explorer and scientist who, in the 18th century, already had a grasp on human-induced climate change. His work and life is recounted by author Andrea Wulf, and will drive you to look at everything around you just a little differently.
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