Adventure with Books
Whether it be for the van ride, falling asleep in your tent, or kicking back after a long day on the river, a good book can be the ultimate companion on a Wilderness Adventures trip. I asked a couple of staff members what their favorite adventure books were, and how they came to love them. We hope these can offer you the same motivation to “Do Something Wild” as they did for us.
Pro-tip: Get the paperback copy, not the hardcover, as that will be lighter and more durable for your travels!
Tim’s Pick – Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
I first read this book when I was 16, and it has stayed on my shelf ever since. This book is the true story of Louis Zamperini, and his trying journey through life. Louis dealt with bullies during his teenage years, earned a scholarship to USC for track, competed as a distance runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, served in World War II in a bomber plane, survived 47 days at sea in a raft, was captured as a P.O.W., and came to true peace after all the trauma he had endured. Even without being a sports enthusiast or history buff, I was enthralled as the book showed me how to have more perseverance, grit, and reverence.
Katie’s Pick – Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
I read this book while leading WA’s Alaska Southeast trips in 2017. I remember reading about the snow storms on Everest as I laid in my sleeping bag, listening to mid-summer hail hitting my tent and trying to keep my hands warm. In this book, Krakauer, a journalist and mountaineer in his younger days, accounts his experience of climbing Mt. Everest with a competent crew of clients, American guides, and Sherpas. His original plan was to climb only to Base Camp with the purpose of writing a story for a magazine about the commercialization of the world’s highest peak. When he got there, though, he couldn’t resist following the crew to the top, and what followed was one of the most catastrophic events in Everest’s history. The story both recounts and reflects on the storm of 1996, and Krakauer has received a significant amount of both praise and criticism for the book. Though my experience in Alaska was far more mild than this group’s expedition to Everest, I was able to relate to and connect with this book on such a deep level as I lived and traveled in the Alaskan wilderness with my WA trips.
Will’s Pick – The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko
I was given this book by my friend Owen in 2019, after we finished a private rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. Later that year, I brought it on an overnight trip down the Green River and could not put it down. The Emerald Mile is a true story of a boater’s epic attempt to capture the speed record for the fastest boat ride through the Grand Canyon ever, during a historical flood stage and catastrophic dam failure of Glen Canyon Dam. This book taught me about environmental conservation, my relationship with nature and rivers, and the risk-taking mentality associated with outdoor pursuits! Incredible read that I highly recommended to anyone interested in rafting and adventure!