Reading List – 2014

I know….where the hell have I been?  Why haven’t I been blogging?  What have I been doing when I’m not here?

All great questions.

The cold and rain have settled in here in North Texas.  This leads to my tendency to want to hibernate.  I have been on a few great hikes which I’ll cover in another post should the sun ever come out again.

In the meantime, I was participating in #hikerchat on Twitter (every Friday at 11:00AM CDT) and someone asked the question of what I’ve been reading related to hiking and the outdoors.  I figured that would make for a great blog post and since I’m still waiting for the rains to abate, now would be as good a time as any to play catch up and answer the question: “What have I been reading?”.  Without further adieu here’s my list.  It’s not any particular order other than chronological based on when I read.  Oldest is listed first.

1. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

I actually own the hardback of this book….but it never fails to entertain me!  Its a very funny look at hiking the trail.  Remember to pick your partners wisely!

2. I HIke by Lawton Grinter

A great collection of short stories from the trail.  I can relate to more than one of these!

3. A Long Way from Nowhere: A Couple’s Journey on the Continental Divide Trail by Julie Urbansky & Matt Urbansky

This couple has written several books chronicling their long distance hikes on the AT, PCT, and the CDT.  I liked that each other writes a chapter or two in their own voice from their perspective.  However, as much as I wanted to like this book, I kept having this nagging feeling.  Julie tends to whine; and while I get the trails are hard and she shared her thoughts on where she was just not on the trail but life in general, it sort of became annoying vs. affirming.

4. Footpath my Ass!: And Other Keen Observations Made by a Middle-Aged Woman Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Terry Croteau Bluebird

I know I read this book…but nothing “outstanding” jumps out for me at this point.  I think I picked it up being a middle-aged woman myself, but again, no epiphany’s here.

5. Measurable Mountain Days: A Father and Son on the John Muir Trail by Ron Erskine

I didn’t even really know there was a John Muir Trail.  This book was my introduction and while Ron focus’ more on his relationship to his son, this book led me to want to know more about the JMT!

6. In Movement There is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along the Way to Spirit by Elaine Orabona Foster, Joseph Wilbred Foster

This story covers a hike along the Camino de Santiago in Spain; an 800km pilgrimage and the lessons learned.  This trail has been added to my “want to do” list.

7. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

I heard an interview with Ben Montgomery on NPR and knew I had to read this book.  It proves no matter how old you are you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to!  A very inspiring story about a woman who rises above abuse and raising a family to walk the AT.

8. Dances with Marmots by George Spearing

The PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) hike as told by a New Zealand firefighter with no experience in hiking.  A fun little read.

9. Man in the Middle: Journey On the 3,100 Mile Continental Divide Trail by John Illig

This is another book that while I read it, nothing jumps to mind.

10. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

This is more of a travel book than hiking…but I like Bryson, so I include it here.  This is about a trip he took to Australia where he encounters “…the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.”

11. Key West: Tequila, a Pinch of Salt, and a Quirky Side of America…a year in Key West by John Breakfeld

This is another travel book; but OMG is it funny!  I love Key West.  I’ve been twice but I long to go any time I think of it.  John does a great job of capturing the “true” Key West and introduces you to characters who make Key West the great place it is!

12. Off the Map: Fifty-five Weeks of Adventuring in the Great American Wilderness and Beyond by Bryan Snyder

I started reading this book in June/July of 2014 and still haven’t finished it.  That should tell you something right there.  The chapters don’t really ‘blend’ into each other.  I’m having a hard time getting into it.

13. Four Boots – One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness and Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail by Jeff Alt

I really liked this book.  The author’s wife’s brother commits suicide and he convinces her to do an “awareness” hike along the John Muir Trail.  This book has encouraged me to eventually take on the JMT as one of my first long distance hikes.  Very much worth the read.

14. Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts

Another great book about a hike along the JMT.  This time from a south to north perspective.

15. Rookies in the Wild by John Riha

A comical trip for a father an son along the Pacific Coast Highway.

16. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

Not sure how this one ended up on my reading list, but an interesting read none the less.

There are a ton more books.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I read a lot.  I prefer reading to television.  To speed this list up, I’m going to resort to lists vs. trying to find something to say…that way I can get on with my day!

17. Muir: Nature Writings by John Muir, William Cronon

18. My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

19. Rabid: The Pacific Crest Trail.  ‘Cause therapy ain’t working by Libby Zangle

20. Good Dog, Bad Mountain: A Memoir About a Dog, a Young Man, and a Hike on the Appalachian Trail by Joshua Kinser

21. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis on the Motion Picture 127 Hours by Aron Ralston

22. Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments by John Vonhof

23. The Trail Life: How I Loved It, Hated It, and Learned from it by Julie Urbansky

24. I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Coast Trail by Gail D. Storey

25. John Muir Trial: The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail by Wilderness Press

26. The Hurt Artist: My Journey from Suicidal Junkie to Ironman by Shane Niemeyer, Gary Brozek

Granted, no hiking in this book; but the dedication to turning one’s life around and getting serious about training helped inspire me and the way I approach my workouts and hiking.

27. Off the Map: 25 True Stories to Inspire Your Next Adventure by Chelsea Fagan

28. The Backpacker’s Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills by Rick Curtis

29. Everest Pilgrim: A Solo Trek to Nepal’s Everest Base Camp and Beyond by Tristan Higbee

30. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

31.  Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakauer

I had a really hard time putting this one down.  It goes a long way to explaining mountain weather and why it can be so dangerous.  A mystery potentially solved!
34.  The Lone Star Hiking Trail: The Official Guide to the Longest Wilderness Footpath in Texas by Karen Somers

And believe it or not, that concludes my reading list for 2014!  Let me know if you pick any of these up to read and what your thoughts are!  I’m always up for a good book conversation!
Happy trails!

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