While in the midst of winter, if you are like me, the cold weather has you inside more than warmer weather. At Camptown, we still have groups going out, but not like the other seasons. While you are inside during this season, why not throw another log on the fire and jump into a good book to get you ready for your spring adventures. Below are my top 10 adventure/survival books. If you decide to read one of these, let me know what you thought. Enjoy!
Into Thin Air (John Krakauer) There are several books out about climbing Mt. Everest. While I have not read them all, this is by far the best that I have read. In “Into Thin Air” Outdoor magazine reporter and climber, John Krakauer sets out to give a first-hand account of what it is like to climb the big mountain. What he did not expect is that his expedition would become the deadliest in the history of Everest with 12 lives lost, 2 of which were among the most experienced mountaineering guides. That record would hold for 8 years.
The Last Season (Eric Blehm) Randy Morgenson was a 28 year experienced backcountry ranger in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. His disappearance launched the biggest search and rescue in the history of the National Parks. In this book, Eric Blehm takes the reader through Morgenson’s life as a young ranger to the time of his disappearance. He also explores the changing roles of a backcountry ranger. Morgenson’s story serves as an example of the perils of the wilderness and even that the most experienced outdoorsman can become overcome by the elements.
Deep Survival Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why (Laurence Gonzales) This one is at the top of my list for a good reason. Through stories from survivors, Laurence Gonzales looks at why 90% of people freeze or panic, while the remaining 10% stay cool, focused and alive. Deep Survival is a mix of adventure stories, survival skills, and practical advice.
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway) A true angler’s story. Unlucky fisherman Santiago, sets out day after day as a commercial fisherman only to return empty-handed. When he finally lands a big Marlin, he is taken out to sea by the big fish for three days. On the return trip home, sharks plague Santiago and his Marlin and he returns with nothing more than a carcass.
Call of the Wild (Jack London) Buck, a powerful dog, half St. Bernard and half sheepdog, lives on Judge Miller’s estate in California’s Santa Clara Valley. He leads a comfortable life there, but it comes to an end when men discover gold in the Klondike region of Canada and a great demand arises for strong dogs to pull sleds.
Wilderness: Gateway to the Soul (Scott Stillman) In his almost poetic descriptions of the wilderness, Stillman shares stories from his adventures. Set mostly in the southwest, he shares his thoughts and struggles on his mostly solo adventures. He does include one adventure to one of our favorite destinations – the Big South Fork in Tennessee.
Majestic and Wild: True Stories of Faith and Adventure (Murray Pura) Living in Vancouver BC, pastor and writer Murray Pura shares how his real-life adventures helped him to grow spiritually and how God uses the wilderness to draw us closer to him.
Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson) Bill Bryson and his out of shape sidekick, Katz decide to hike the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. In his tongue in cheek style of writing, Bryson recounts their struggles and often-comedic journey. The movie by the same name does not do the book justice.
Ranger Confidential (Andrea Lankford) As an experienced Ranger in the National Park system Lankford shares stories about what it is like to be a ranger and some of the unusual and even tragic events that made up her time as a Ranger.
Hatchet (Gary Paulsen) When 13 year old Brian Robeson is traveling to visit his father, the single-engine plane he is traveling in goes down killing the pilot leaving Brian to survive on his own. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but what he brought with him and his wits. Brian teaches himself to hunt, fish, and make shelter as he survives the elements.