Books - trail reading recommendations

Discussion in 'Media Links' started by tom, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    I often take hiking/mountain books to read on hikes and I thought to start a list for recommendations here. I'll make a start (including some not-to-forget classics probably known to most here) in no particular order:

    - Carrot Quinn's not to be missed trail poetry: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail
    - Eric Shipton - Nanda Devi Expedition(not to be missed either!!!!)
    - Eric Shipton - Blank on the Map
    - Eric Newby - A short walk in the Hindu Kush (need I say more?)
    - Brian Bouldrey - Honorable Bandit: A walk across Corsica
    - Stephen Pern - The Great Divide (the CDT before it became a "trail" with beer mat maps to navigate with...)
    - Felice Benuzi - No picnic on Mount Kenya (mad but real story of a POW camp escape to climb mount Kenya with improvised kit made in camp)
    - Joe Tasker's books - whilst foremost books about climbing, he was such a great writer and his "hike-in" tales into Nanda Devi sanctuary, to K2 or to Kangchenjunga, are worth looking for.
    - Le Mesurier's "An Impromptu Ascent of Mont Blanc" (the story of an unplanned ascent in 1881, they had good weather on a hike and just kept going all the way to the top - don't try this at home....)

    enough for starters...
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  2. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    Robert McFarlane - Mountains of the Mind
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  3. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Colin Fletcher The Thousand Mile Summer
    Tim Salmon The Unwritten Places
    Dux Schneider Bolkar
    John Muir My First Summer in the Sierra - available as a free download
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  4. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Anything by Norman mac Caig.

    ditto Nan Shephard*

    "At the Loch of the Green Corrie" Andrew Greig.

    "Clear Waters Rising " Nicholas Crane.

    " The Old Ways " Robert macFarlane

    * There seems to be an insufficiency of walking / landscape books written by women - can anyone help me out with that?

    ( I often take non walking books on walks - gives a nice bit of contrast - but that list could go on literary (sic) for ever)
  5. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    +1 for Clear Waters Rising Nicholas Crane
    I Hike by Lawton Grinter
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  6. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    @Fair Weather Camper
    - Jennifer Jordan wrote 2 books about K2 - one of them on the women's only expedition "Savage Summit"

    - Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" also comes to mind...
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  7. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Understanding Welsh Place Names, Gwili Gog.

    A great little book about the descriptive and poetic naming of Welsh hills and places. Never read a Welsh name again and think "Where are the vowels ?"
  8. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    y and w ;)
  9. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I spent a lot of my teen years Hols and w/e's in a very Welsh bit of NW.
    I don't speak Welsh, but now just seeing a Welsh place name tells me exactly the landscape features I can expect to see - very descriptive.
    I wish I could do the same with Gaelic place names but the spelling/words are so much less obvious (to me) ….. I must try harder.
  10. Arne L.

    Arne L. Section Hiker

    Geert Mak - In Europe: Travels trough the 20th century
    Interesting tales about how Europe came to be. Very well written. His book about the USA is also worth a read, the English translation is named 'In America: Travels with John Steinbeck'.

    Mark Beaumont - The Man Who Cycled the World
    Very inspiring book about Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont who went on an unsupported bike ride around the world some 10 years ago. Gave me a lot of good ideas when planning for my own trans Europe bike ride in 2013.
    He has other books about his ride trough the American continent & another about his record breaking bike ride trough Afirca.

    Keith Foskett - The Last Englishman
    A tale about an Englishman on the PCT. Well written with a strong focus on the people he meets on the trail. His other books ('The Journey in Between', about the Santiago & 'Balancing On Blue' on his AT hike) are pretty good as well, but I found The Last Englishman to be his best.

    Jack Kerouac - On The Road
    Read this book when I was 18 and (cliché incoming) it changed the way I viewed people, live & travel. To this day still very inspiring to me. I'm currently reading 'The Dharma Bums' about venturing in the High Sierras looking for Dharma.
    The movie about On The Road was horrible though.

    Jon Krakauer - Into Thin Air
    Although Krakauer is mostly well known for his tale about 'Alexander Supertramp' (Into The Wild) I actually found Into Thin Air - a book about an Everest expedition gone horribly wrong - much better.

    Jolanda Linschooten - Niet de race Maar de reis
    Roughly translated as 'Not the race but the way'. Not sure there's an English translation of this Dutch book but it's a very inspiring, honest and well written tale about a women running the End to End in Great Britain completely unsupported.

    Other books I've read on trail about trails but didn't really shine out were 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed, 'A Walk in The Woods' by Bill Bryson (although I think Bryson has other books who are pretty decent) and other travel books by Michael Palin and/or Paul Theroux.

    +1 for Carrot Quin's recap of the PCT. I thought it was very well written.

    Recenly, Cam Honan posted a list of books for hikers and backpackers on his blog. Well worth the read.
  11. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Thanks Tom but best not to google aforementioned J.J. without a qualifier ... :eeker:

    - I'm afraid i have, perhaps unfairly, eschewed Cheryls offering, as it seems to fall within that rather over worn "Woman has an emotional crisis, so goes on an unscheduled, and poorly prepared for, expedition to recover" trope.

    Plus, it would probably make we want to go to The States ...


    I have, on more than one occasion, been asked "Are you doing this to get over a broken heart?" When on a trip by myself - it's a bit annoying ...


    Having said that " Adventures in the Rocky Mountains" by Isabella Bird , is a rollicking good read - she was mainly doing it just for fun ; and on hossback
    :)
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  12. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    I spend a lot of time in South Wales, possibly due to my house being there but its not as Welshified as the North :bookworm:. The Welsh placenames are very descriptive (even if some of them are made up a little bit especially in SEW). I also now 'auto-translate' the names into features as I see them - odd but strangely satisfying
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  13. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    On 'mountain climbing' books my favourite writer is Pete Boardman.
    His "Sacred Summits" was the first of the genre I read - holed up in Katmandu at the time = most appropriate :).
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  14. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    +1 on The Last Englishman
    The Dharma Bums was my gateway to Kerouac. Rather ironically, it turned me on to hitchhiking and led to a lengthy hiatus from the self-propelled form of backpacking.
    A comment above reminded me: W H Davies, The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.
    I was very disappointed with A Walk in the Woods the first time I read it. I enjoyed it much more the second time.
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  15. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker



    "The Gentle Art of Tramping" Stephen Graham.



    Was on our bookshelf when i was a kid, and is now mine to keep.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gentle-Art-Tramping-Stephen-Graham/dp/140863273X

    A lovely, well written book - but don't buy it from Amazon - get it from a proper shop... :angelic:

    Maybe this is where my 'Tramp - like' proclivities started :rolleyes:


    edit - You can become infested with Dharma if you do too much Yoga @Arne L. :arghh:
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  16. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    No need to make a Dharma out of a crisis.
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  17. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Well funny you should mention it @edh :geek: but a crisis is just the thing for working OM ones Dharma ... :angelic:
    .
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    Apply here for a lifetimes membership of Tyvek-lite Pseuds Corner :cautious:
  18. Imperial Dave

    Imperial Dave Section Hiker

    I once tried the Dharma Initiative but got a bit lost halfway through
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  19. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    ;)
    I've got Bird's "A Lady's life in the Rocky Mountains" somewhere but not read it yet. Curious now... About J.J. - do you believe everything google says ?:o o: :rolleyes: There are lots of reasons some of us end up hiking or mountaineering and often for the better...:angelic: I only read her first book some years ago out of curiosity for this 7 woman summit project and found it quite readable - she sortof bonded with the mountain.
    About C.S. we never say these things about guys do we? No matter what unprepared and ill-equipped folly they embark on?
    But at least we learned from neuroscience that emotions are not at all irrational but higher order cognitive processing and better suited to deal with complexity than mental processing :( - which wasn't her strength when she started but got better at while hiking it seemed...:)
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  20. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    I expect there's some kind of 'Dharma Navigation' app available nowadays..

    "For those with a faulty moral compass"
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  21. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    There is another lady of the same name :rolleyeses:, who appears to prefer energetic activities more suited to the great indoors... Or at least, to very out of the way places..

    Totally agree vis a vis emotional intelligence being a vital part of the mix.

    Dry rationalism, and pure logic by themselves can be most deadening, even, perhaps dehumanising...

    My objections were more around the clichéd helpless, clueless, emotionally unstable female motif.. Who goes on a quest, and then is made all betterer..

    Anyhows, I've not read it, so mayhap I should do my homework before passing judgement.. :shy:
  22. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Not hiking related but itchy feet inducing for me as a kid was zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by R Pirsig. My obsession with bikes dragged me thru the heavier metaphysics...
    Carrot Quinn got me back into tramping.
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  23. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Not strictly hiking related not neither , but very immersive outdoors..

    'Being a beast'


    by Charles Foster,

    Still reading, but he is currently attempting to live as a badger in the woods, with his eight year old son, eating earthworms :yuck: sleeping all day, and snuffling about in the undergrowth by night.

    Sounds like a ridiculous premise. and in many ways it is. But interesting from an alternative existence point of view, and some fascinating neurobiology thrown in too.

    Later he is to 'be' an otter , red deer, and fox among others creatures ...

    If* i should come on the SW meet it'll have to be your guess as to which chapter I'm up to. :beaver:


    * Fervent prayers for rain ensue
  24. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    2 more...
    Philip Connors, Fire Season - not UL hiking but a decade of 6 month turns on a fire tower in the wilderness. Some giftet writing too!
    Peter Lexi, The light garden of the angel king - 2 guys setting out in 1970 "to find the classical heritage of Afghanistan" on foot and horseback... need I say more?
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  25. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Ooo thanks Tom, not read neither of them.. :)

    Can't believe no ones yet mentioned

    "As I walked out one mid summers morning"
    - Laurie Lee..

    And pretty much anything by Dervla Murphy.. Solo bike, hike, hoss, or train travel inspiration for any independently minded woman... :happy:
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