For Adventurous Young Women
Consider Beryl Markham’s West With The Night. “A bloody wonderful book,” said Ernest Hemingway. First published in 1942, this adventure epic is still a classic for good reason—in Markham’s memoir, she chronicles her experiences growing up in Kenya (then called British East Africa) in the early 1900s, which led to her career as an African bush pilot. It’s all there: she tells stories of being mauled by a lion, flying over the Serengeti, and searching for the downed plane of her lover. She later became the first woman to fly over the Atlantic from east to west in a solo nonstop flight. “I have lifted my plane from the Nairobi airport for perhaps a thousand flights,” said Hemingway in praise of the text. “I have never felt her wheels glide from the earth into the air without knowing the uncertainty and the exhilaration of firstborn adventure.”
For Ocean Enthusiasts
Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki begins like this: “Just occasionally you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the mist of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.”
First published in 1950, Kon-Tiki is Heyerdahl’s account of his 1947 mission to prove that the South Pacific could have been populated by natives of Peru. After setting out on a balsa raft with five Norwegians and a talkative parrot, his team survives shark attacks, a beaching in Tahiti, and the doubt of historians worldwide. Though the trip proved inconclusive, the team survived—and guaranteed themselves a solid place in history books worldwide.
For Fans of the American Southwest
Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire is based on his time as a park ranger at the Arches National Monument in the late 1950’s. Often compared to Thoreau’s Walden and Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, the text is a veritable bible about the Colorado Plateau region of the southwestern United States. There are firsthand accounts of wilderness exploration and river running, vivid descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, and human inhabitants of the area, and meditations on tourism in national parks. “I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self emerges with a non-human world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock.”
For Budding Photographers
Pick up a hardback copy of Unexpected: 30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography. Patagonia has traditionally devoted more than half of their catalog’s pages to editorial content, which was unique and—according to some—revolutionary among companies the outdoor industry. Since 1980, the company has invited their customers, ambassadors, and employees to submit their best and most unexpected photos of life outdoors: “…of alpine climbing, bouldering in the desert, skiing untracked bowls, surfing secret spots, ocean crossings, first kayak descents, and travel in unfamiliar places.” This compendium, published by Patagonia, highlights 100+ of the most compelling photos they’ve ever published—and it’s bound to inspire all the photographers in your life.