Few things (other than reading, of course) are better than climbing a mountain, breaking the tree line and reaching the summit, sitting on a rocky ledge and surveying the land below, seeing just how far you’ve come. Hiking feeds our wanderlust; it connects us with nature, and it pushes the limits of our physical and mental strength. Here are five books that’ll have you lacing up your boots, dusting off your trekking poles, and getting ready to hit the trail!
1. Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman
Stutzman’s memoir is a story of healing. After his wife died from breast cancer, he decided to hike through the Appalachian Trail, spending four and a half months hiking from Georgia to Maine. He shares the funny moments along with the tragic ones, and shows that the trail truly is the best medicine.
2. America’s Great Hiking Trails: Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, North Country, Ice Age, Potomac Heritage, Florida, Natchez Trace, Arizona, Pacific Northwest, New England by Karen Berger and Bart Smith
This book belongs on your coffee table! With Smith’s stunning photography and Berger’s detailed information regarding the thousands of miles she’s hiked on all of these trails, it appeals to both the bookworm and passing photo viewer alike.
3. The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide by Andrew Shurka
If you’re new to hiking or backpacking, you need to read this book. People often hit the trails with just a bottle of water and some granola bars, never considering just how much gear you truly need to be safe. Shurka’s guide covers that and more! With this guide, you’ll be well-equipped for a safe and enjoyable trip.
4. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
Bryson’s memoir is truly a classic; it’s even been made into a movie starring Robert Redford. In it, Bryson shares his through-hike of the Appalachian trail, completed with an old friend from college. Filled with humor and practical information, this book will tempt you to walk away from the world, and into the wild, for a while.
5. Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots by Claire Henley Miller
Miller’s book is quite literally a love story on the trail. As Claire leaves her corporate job to embark on a journey from Mexico to Canada, via the Pacific Crest Trail, she never imagines that she would meet the love of her life on the journey. But that’s exactly what happens and this memoir is her story of danger, adventure, true love, and eventually marriage.
I speak from experience; hiking is physically exhausting, but deeply enriching. I hope you’ll pick up one of these books and then hit the trail!
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