I think one of the reasons we yearn to be in the wilderness is because we constantly remind ourselves of the splendor, challenge, and rewards it has to offer by the books we choose to read. These stories of adventure and survival take us on spiritual and soul-searching journeys when we are grounded at home. Some serve to teach us about resilience, others teach us the true meaning survival and what it is really like to live through hardships and how we come out better people on the other end.
Below are 10 Adventure and Survival books we’ve read or started to read in 2022 that we’re confident in recommending. These are in no particular order. If you find something that interests you, we hope you will use the links provided below to make your purchase. In doing so we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you that goes toward helping us pay the cost of managing this website.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
The story of Emma Gatewood a sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother who walked the 2050-mile Appalachian trail leaving home with only a change of clothes and less than $200. As the story chronicles her physical journey, we also learn her story of resilience, sacrifice and healing.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
At age 22, Cheryl Strayed solo hiked the 1100-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washinton State. With no experience as a long-distance hiker, she faced the challenges of being alone in nature with all its terrors and splendors in this honest memoir of strength, self-discovery and healing.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
Even before the pandemic many Americans found themselves in the position of a new kind of nomadic life. When the pandemic struck many more discovered the nomad lifestyle and not always by choice, but by necessity. In this book, Journalist Jessica Bruder chronicles the life of these new nomads through their stories over the course of several years.
Into the Wild
Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a charismatic and enthusiastic university graduate who abandons his possessions, gives his savings to charity and eventually finds himself hitchhiking to Alaska to live alone in the wilderness. This book explores the adventures and relationships Christopher forges along the way and speculates what shaped his ideas and desire to live free of the bonds of a capitalistic society.
One Man’s Wilderness, 50th Anniversary Edition: An Alaskan Odyssey
In 1968 Richard (Dick) Proenneke retreated to the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park in Alaska at the age of 51. Settling on the shores of Twin Lakes, this story recreated by Sam Keith and based on Proenneke’s journals and photography recounts the life of one man as he builds a home and life well lived mostly alone in the wilderness.
The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness
What is daily life like in the Artic Circle? Follow the story of Heimo and Edna Korth as they face the trails of life and reality of extreme hardships as the last remaining legal homesteaders in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Snow Leopard
Part travel log, part spiritual quest, and part scientific expedition this National Book Award-winning author takes you on a journey through the Himalayas and the inner self. Set in one of the harshest and most beautiful environments, the mountains of Nepal you’ll gain from the author as he reveals the true nature of reality, suffering, and the transience of what we call existence. If you’re a student of Zen Buddhism this story is a must read.
Winner of the Newberry Award, Hatchet is the story of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, the sole survivor of a single engine plane crash in the Candian wilderness. With only the hatchet his mother had given him as a present before his departure, Brian must learn to survive which requires an amount of patience and maturity he learns along the way. Written for a YA audience this story is a delight even to older adventurer who remains a kid at heart.
Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods
The wilderness is dangerous. Once false step can lead to peril and even death. These two stories in one book detail how simple “trivial” mistakes can set off a chain of events that lead to unimaginable trails of pain, suffering, fear and a fight for survival against insurmountable odds.
The Twenty-Ninth Day: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra
Alex Messenger set out on what he thought would be the trip of a lifetime. In this easy-to-read memoir Alex recalls what it was like to survive a bear attack in the Candian tundra and the events that lead to that ill-fated day.
Disclaimer: All the books we read we purchased with our own money. We were not sponsored in any way and our opinions have not been purchased or directed by either the author or publisher of these books.
Looking forward to 2023
As we look forward to 2023, we would like your suggestions for books to add to our reading list for the upcoming year. Please leave a comment below with your favorite Adventure or survival story.
As we travel this year, we will be depositing these books in the many free book exchanges found at the campgrounds we use along with a free sticker for you to use or pass along. If you find a book we have donated, please come back and say hello, or hit us up on our YouTube channel @freethemcgees. We’d love to hear from you.
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