When packing to go on an adventure, there’s always room for a good book, and what better genre to read by headlamp around the campfire than an adventure memoir? Here are 6 great reads you can’t leave at home.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
When Cheryl Strayed’s life spirals out of control, the novice hiker heads out on the walk of her life.
From the first pages of this trail memoir, the young woman who lost everything yearns to find it again walking the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
Although she is alone—and facing obstacles such as weather, wild animals, and her own inexperience—she is helped along by the encouragement of other hikers as she treks from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington. During this personal journey, she manages to accomplish something many hikers never imagine, as well as mend her broken heart.
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
In 1960, at the age of 58, this beloved American writer set out on an adventure in a truck fitted with a camper he calls Rocinante and a poodle named Charley. His goal was to reacquaint himself with his country and the people he had been writing about for 30 years. Along the way from New York to the Pacific Coast, he sees the mistreatment of the land and people of color, but also people in certain cities who go out of their way to offer a helping hand. This adventure memoir reveals Steinbeck’s love for America and its people.
127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
In Aron Ralston’s adventure/survival memoir, the cocky 27-year-old goes it alone on a hike through a remote and narrow Utah canyon where an 800-pound boulder falls on him, crushing his right hand and pinning him against the wall in a canyon. While stuck, he reminisces about his other climbing escapades, but also reflects on his mistakes and his shortcomings and realizes that in order to save himself, he will have to make a great sacrifice.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson wants to rediscover American after living in England for 20 years. This well-established travel writer is yearning for another adventure, even though he is middle-aged and out of shape. Finding someone to accompany him on his walk is no easy task, and in the end, an old friend who is even more out-of-shape both physically and mentally, tags along. The pair encounter some odd people, are amazed at the mistreatment of the land and are angered by the bureaucrats in charge of the trail. This adventure memoir is funny, touching and informative and well worth bringing along in your pack.
Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
While Harrer is traveling in India, World War II breaks out and this Austrian mountain climber is arrested by the British. After many attempts to escape, he finds himself crossing the frozen Himalayas while outrunning the authorities. Along the way, villagers risk their own lives to help him reach Tibet, where he is taken in by the young Dalai Lama, who requests that he become his tutor. This thrilling adventure is still fresh and shines a light on the people of Tibet and their quest for freedom.
Almost Somewhere: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts
Roberts is a recent college graduate and is already bored with life when she takes a month-long hike on the John Muir trail with two girlfriends. As she chronicles the bond she has with nature and the other women, she finds herself and redefines her friendships and her love of nature. This funny and heartfelt memoir is about more than a 200-mile hike; it’s about life and the adventures that can be found on any trail.