TRAIL TALK

15 Great Reads to Help You Pass the Shut-In Time

With most everything closed—from stores and pubs to movie theaters and trails—as we wait out the Coronavirus Pandemic, it’s a great time to curl up on the couch with a good book. Here’s our list of 15 great reads to help you plan for your next hike, get inspired about nature, or just give you a few good laughs amid all the doom and gloom. And to help small businesses through this difficult time, we’ve partnered with Bookshop.org, a new online resource who supports authors, independent bookstores and local communities. Your support goes a long way—and you get a great read in return! 

GUIDEBOOKS

Hiking the PCT: Oregon (2019)

– Eli Boschetto

Whether you want to hike thru the entire state, or just take it one section at a time, our comprehensive guidebook will help you plan an Oregon PCT hike that suits you. Completely updated in 2019, you’ll find the latest information on trail conditions, permit requirements, resupply locations and more. Start planning your hike today!

Day Hiking Mount Hood

– Eli Boschetto

Our brand-new, four-season guide to hiking Mount Hood will help you get out and discover Oregon’s tallest peak. It features 85 hikes, from the lower foothills and canyons, to the upper meadows and volcanic plains. It also includes a dayhiker’s guide to the Timberline Trail, and 10 dayhikes on the PCT that you can enjoy one at a time.

I Heart Backpacking: How to Get Started

– Lisa Holmes & Sara Carroll

If you’re just beginning to explore backpacking, this comprehensive guide covers all the basics to help get you started, including gear selection, trail skills, backcountry nutrition and hiking safety. It also includes 10 great warm-up trips in Oregon and Washington where you can break in your trail legs and work up to bigger PCT adventures.

Oregon’s Ancient Forests

– Chandra LeGue

If you’re going to hike through Oregon, you have to enjoy trees. This full-color volume highlights Oregon’s old-growth forests, and the trails you can hike to see them—from the coast ranges to the Cascade peaks and beyond. You’re sure to gain a new appreciation for these complex ecosystems, and their unique natural value.

Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures

– Trudeau, Nielson & Kwan

This fantastic food guide will seriously get your mouth watering, and inspire you to elevate your backcountry dining experience. With recipes like Cheddar Bacon Pancakes, Backcountry Skillet Enchiladas, French Onion Chicken Noodles, and Black Sesame Cashew Granola Brittle, you’ll never want prepackaged meals again.   

NATURE & INSPIRATION

The Nature Fix

– Florence Williams

We love getting outdoors to seek solitude, commune with nature and find adventure. But there may be even more advantages to getting outdoors. Williams reveals the science behind nature’s positive effects, the benefits of taking a simple walk in the woods, and that “nature is not a luxury but is in fact essential to our humanity.”

The Hidden Life of Trees

– Peter Wohlleben

Like a modern-day John Muir, forester Peter Wohlleben combines his love of nature with groundbreaking science to illustrate not just how trees live, grow and die, but how they actually feel, communicate and form communities to stay safe and thrive. You’ll never look at a forest the same way again.

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

– Heather “Anish” Anderson

If you’ve ever wanted to get into the head of a PCT speed-hiker, this is it. The landscape whizzes by in a blur, and you not only feel every blister on her trail-weary feet, but also experience her inspirational progression as she overcomes inner turmoil and self-doubt, and transforms into a determined hiking machine with a singular goal. 

The Last Season

– Eric Blehm

This award-winning page-turner chronicles the life—and mysterious disappearance—of backcountry ranger Randy Morgenson. Set in California’s High Sierra, it is sure to evoke vivid images for anyone who has hiked through the area, and leave you wondering if you may have crossed paths with this enigmatic character before he vanished.

The Sixth Extinction

– Elizabeth Kolbert

It may be a foreboding topic in current times, but this fascinating narrative tracks natural history with modern field studies in its examination of earth’s major extinction episodes—and the one that is occurring right now. “It compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.”

FUN STUFF

The Lord of the Rings

– J.R.R. Tolkien

Here is the ultimate thru-hiking journey. And while you may have seen the epic movies, there’s so much more to discover in the full, three-volume set of books. And with many of Middle Earth’s settings resembling locations along the PCT, you’re sure to view the trail in a whole new way on your next hiking adventure.

The Sasquatch Seeker’s Field Manual

– David George Gordon

While it’s unlikely you’ll encounter the elusive Bigfoot, if you’re going to hike through the PNW, you had better be prepared. This informative field manual explores the stories and science behind the legend, and will inspire you to observe nature in a whole new way. Included are 12 hikes where you can put your Sasquatch-seeking skills to the test.

Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems

– Brendan Leonard

They say laughter is the best medicine. This collection of 80 humorous outdoor essays will certainly help chase away the shut-in blues. From “How to Be a Terrible Adventure Partner” to “The Rules for Dating a Dirtbag,” these short stories will keep you entertained with hilarious observations and ironies of outdoor adventuring.

A Walk in the Woods

– Bill Bryson

Join author Bill Bryson for a walk on the Appalachian Trail (AT) with the worst hiking partner ever. Both informative and hilarious, Bryson shares the natural and cultural history of the AT, and his own experiences dealing with trail food, bears, weather, resupply towns, and what it takes to mentally handle a long-distance hike.

Paddle Your Own Canoe

– Nick Offerman

Need some big belly laughs? Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman, expert woodworking, outdoor recreation and more. This fun read is sure to leave you both entertained and inspired to rediscover yourself.

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