It’s summer!! Woo-hoo! I don’t know about y’all, but in these parts, summer’s not complete without strapping on the hiking boots and heading for the hills for a good long walk. We’ve got mountains and lakes and blue skies and trees for days here in Utah, and in the height of summer, hiking is a great way to enjoy the beautiful natural landscape and get away from the heat down in the valleys. It’s good for your heart and for your soul, not to mention your major muscle groups. Sometimes I even like to download a good book and listen as I tromp through the woods. Here are ten good books to inspire your summer hikes.
Wild by Cheryl Strayd: Traces the personal crisis the author endured after the death of her mother and a painful divorce, which prompted her ambition to undertake a dangerous 1,100-mile solo hike that both drove her to rock bottom and helped her to heal.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: Traces the author’s adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: Inman has a pretty long jaunt across the countryside, trying to avoid both sides of the Civil War, as he makes his way back to Ada.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien: Let’s be honest, it’s really one long hike to Mordor accentuated by a few epic battles. And I love it.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: We’re not the first generation to go walking through the country side for one reason or another. In the Middle Ages, Chaucer brought a diverse cast of characters together on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, and they, like us, filled the hours on foot with lively stories.
The Shadow of Killimanjaro: On foot across East Africa by Rick Ridgeway: Ridgeway trekked across Africa from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean and through Kenya’s Tsavo park. More than just a memoir of his trip, he ponders the effect of colonial expansion on the land, the beasts, and the people of Africa.
The Signal by Ron Carlson: A man and his ex-wife trek across Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains one last time to say goodbye. Mack, the husband, is also following a beacon, unbeknownst to Vonnie, that may lead them into even greater trouble.
Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape by Bill McKibben: Writer and environmentalist McKibben walks from his current home in Vermont to his former home in the Adirondacks, musing about the balance between cultivated and wild along the way.
Monster by Frank Peretti: During a hike into the Northwest woods to escape the noise and tumult of the hectic city, Reed and Beck come face to face with a mysterious and deadly creature that is out to destroy everything and everyone it encounters.
Until it Hurts To Stop by Jennifer Hubbard: Maggie was ruthlessly bullied in middle school, but has found solace in long walks through the woods and mountains with her friend Nick. Just as a romance begins to blossom, Maggie’s worst tormentor returns from years abroad, sending Maggie into a tailspin.