Favorite Non-Fiction Outdoor Adventure Books

armchair-adventure-by-michael_wandererReading about someone else’s adventure is one way to motivate yourself to do the big trip in 2014 — and it can be a pleasure on its own. Books about adventures are like fireside stories, bringing to life someone else’s exploits in the world while occasionally offering advice on how to better enjoy the outdoors. While  being outdoors and having our own adventures may be far more exciting than reading about someone else’s, sometimes a book is what is called for after a day of hiking, in bad weather, or when you’re laid up with a twisted ankle. Try one of these great tomes:

  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Perhaps the funniest story you’ll find about long-distance hiking, this book by Bill Bryson chronicles his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with a friend, Stephen Katz. A hilarious look at someone who is ill equipped to take on such a journey, Bill Bryson’s novel is also packed with information about the trail and what they find there.

  • Running the Amazon by Joe Kane

Ever wonder what it’s like to be the first person to explore an area? Joe Kane was part of a team that first ran the Amazon from start to finish. Of course, the journey isn’t without many ups and downs, including run-ins with locals and the adventurers’ own egos.

  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

Newby would go on to be widely renowned as one of the best travel writers of his time but at his beginnings you’ll find a story about unlikely adventurers who decide, one fine day, to just go climb mountains in the Hindu Kush with only tips from a Welsh waitress as preparation. The month-long trek turns into something more—and shows us all that anything is possible if you’re mentally prepared.

  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

You and a friend are out mountaineering, enjoying the experience when an accident leaves one of you with a broken leg and ribs. On the descent, things aren’t going well. Then one of you falls into a crevasse—could you cut the rope and leave your friend to die instead of perishing too? Could you escape the crevasse if left to die? Joe Simpson tells the story of what happens when his climbing partner does the unthinkable and cuts the rope and he’s left in a crevasse in the mountains.

For some good armchair adventures, these four books run the gamut of adventure and intellectual pursuits. Tuck one in your backpack, or enjoy it by your fireside as you plan your next trek!

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