Updated: Jun 1
With the announcement of Ontario's STAY AT HOME order, we can no longer get out to hike, climb, bike and explore. But while we're hunkered down, we've found alternate ways to keep the fire of adventure burning.
Each week we'll be recommending a new book to fuel and indulge your wanderlust. Each new book will be added to this blog post! Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this post to stay up to date and check out our adventure video recommendations as well!
Lost in the Wild: Danger & Survival in the North Woods
Sixteen hours northwest of Toronto, just a few kilometres past Thunder Bay and straddling the border between Ontario and Minnesota is a vast wilderness of lakes and boreal forest.
Quetico Provincial Park on the Canadian side and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the US side together make up over 2 million acres of pristine Northwoods wilderness.
Lost in the Wild tells the stories of two young men who find themselves lost in these woods, of the seemingly minor mistakes that lead to their peril and the dizzying array of obstacles they need to overcome to survive.
Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men & Mountains
Perhaps best known for his 1996 book Into the Wild, chronicling Christopher McCandless' ill-fated attempt to discover refuge in the wilderness of Alaska, Jon Krakauer is a master story-teller. Krakauer uses his deep understanding of both the psychology and mechanics of adventure to transport his readers into the hearts and minds of the men and women he chronicles.
Eiger Dreams is adventure story-telling at it's best, with each essay opening up a different window to the world of adventure in the mountains. From John Gill, a math professor who found near-mystical experience in short acrobatic rock climbing feats, to detailing Krakauer's own struggles with risk during a solo climb in Alaska at 23 years old, Eiger Dreams will keep you entertained and maybe even make you grateful to be inside with the heat on this weekend
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
In addition to being a staff writer at the New Yorker and an accomplished journalist who has written extensively on war, racism and politics in both the US and abroad, William Finnegan is also, at heart, a surfer.
In this Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Finnegan looks back on his youth and the way surfing not only shaped but, in many ways, constituted his life as an adolescent and a young adult.
Finnegan takes us into a surfing world that, to an outsider, may look like an exaggerated obsession or addiction but, to initiates, constitutes not just an all encompassing passion but also a community and a way of life.
Finnegan takes the reader form the shores of California and Hawaii in the 60s, across the South Pacific, Australia, Asia and Africa, weaving tales that are about surfing, coming of age, friendship, an unceasing love of adventure and a lifelong commitment to mastery.
Touching the Void
In this autobiographical account, Joe Simpson describes his traumatic experience climbing in the Andes with his climbing partner, Simon Yates. After summiting a 21,000 foot peak, Simpson slipped off of an ice-ledge. tumbling and breaking his leg. Yates tried desperately to lower his friend to safety, in a repeated and gruelling process. As the hours passed, night fell, and a blizzard moved in, Simpson eventually fell again, dangling by the rope and leaving Yates with an impossible choice between being pulled down together with his partner and cutting the rope. Yates cut the rope.
Certain that his partner was dead Yates makes his way to the bottom, overwhelmed with fear, guilt and heartbreak. Unbeknownst to him, Simpson had survived the fall, and found himself crippled, starving and frozen in a deep crevasse. Working with impossible reserves of determination and an indefatigable will to live, Simpson crawls his way out of the crevasse and across the mountain back to camp.
In Touching the Void, Simpson tells the story of those near-deadly days in the Andres and the suffering, trauma and reconciliation of himself and his climbing partner.
With the publication of Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey transformed himself from a little known author into one of the enduring icons of American conservationism.
Based on his experience working as a park ranger and living in Arches National Park in Utah in the 1950s, the book intersperses vignettes of his time at the park with philosophical and ideological reflections on humans' relationship to and exploration of the natural world.
You may feel sympathy with Abbey's perspective and you may feel ire at his condescension, or, like most people, you may feel a little bit of both. Whether you love him or he drives you crazy, Abbey will leave you feeling and thinking more deeply about our relationship with the natural world.