Outdoor enthusiasts don’t just enjoy being outside, they also happen to enjoy read about it too. Over the years, there have been an impressive number of books published on nature, wildlife and a variety of outdoor adventures. Some of those books have become downright iconic, often setting new standards for others to try to follow. Others have inspired readers to think about, and explore, the world around them in new ways. There is no denying the impact a truly great book can have on a person’s life. With that in mind, here are five great books that every outdoor enthusiast should read.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson’s account of his hike along the Appalachian Trail is both informative and hilarious. His tales of the personalities he met along the way will have you laughing out loud, while simultaneously plotting your own hike along the AT. This is a modern classic from a very funny writer, who also happens to be an unlikely long-distance hiker.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
if you happen to think the desert is a dry, desolate place, completely devoid of life and diversity, than you need to read this book. It will give you a completely different perspective of the desert, and in particular the breathtaking landscapes that make up the American west. The book is also a cautionary tale that warns about giving up the wilderness in the name of progress.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir
Written by the incomparable naturalist John Muir, this book is a love letter to one of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in all of North America, if not the world. This journal chronicles Muir’s first visit to the Yosemite Valley, a place that he would spend much of his life exploring and ultimately going to great lengths to preserve for future generations. Muir’s efforts continue to resonate to this day, and his book remains just as engaging too.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The book that put Jon Krakauer on the literary map tells the tale of Christopher McCandless, a young man who wandered into the Alaskan wilderness, only to die alone there. The book inspired readers to go in search of their own adventures, while examining the philosophical ideals that drove McCandless to escape the trappings of modern life and seek solace in nature.
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
While studying the blue sheep of the Himalaya in Nepal, author Peter Matthiessen, a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, decides to go in search of the elusive snow leopard. His journey lasted for two months and took him into the high mountains, as he sought the mystical Lama of Shey at the fabled Crystal Mountain. The book charts his spiritual and physical path to enlightenment, while taking readers on a journey of their own.
These books are just a sample of the numerous great options available to readers interested in tales of nature. There are literally hundreds more to choose from as well. If you want to build your own library, you could do worse than starting with these books.