Four Great Books (and some honorable mentions) to Read if You Love Trail Adventures
Listening to audio books on my 45-minute commute to and from work started as a way to stave off boredom. I quickly began to consume book after book at an alarming rate. Which was only alarming because my I was running out of audio books that I found interesting at my local library. Yearly I “read” or listen to around 45-50 books. In that time, I’ve fallen in love with non-fiction trail adventure books. I don’t think that’s an official category but oh well.
These four trail adventure books are my favorite and work so well together as a group. In fact, you’ll find some overlap between characters in each. I love reading different books that show a person from a new perspective. Admittidly, this list started as ‘Three Great Books to Read if You Love Trail Adventures’ but three quickly turned to four and four quickly turned to five and finally I decided to focus on the the four and include some amazing honorable mentions.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.
The story begins with Christopher McDougall’s search to answer a simple question: Why does my foot hurt? While searching for that answer McDougall searches for the elusive Caballo Blanco and discovers a tribe of the greatest distance runners the world has ever, or never, seen. Tucked deep in the most savage terrain in North America, McDougall and a small group of runners search for Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons. With the help of Caballo Blanco, the unlikely group finds the Tarahumara and challenges the tribe to an Epic fifty-mile race through the homeland of the Tarahumara.
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultra Marathon Greatness by Scott Jurek.
Part memoir part cookbook, Scott Jurek shares his journey to ultramarathon greatness, along with vegan recipes throughout the book. Scott shares details about his life, family, diet, running, and describes his transition from an average midwestern meat-eating boy to an elite vegan athlete. Scott has quite a story and this is one book I highly recommend.
North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek.
In the spring of 2015, Scott Jurek sets out to create “his masterpiece”. After two decades of racing hard and winning, Scott decides to look for a new challenge. Struggling with retiring from racing, Scott still feels there’s a flicker of something left inside of him. Instead of taking on another race, Scott challenges the Appalachian Trail and goes for the speed record. A 2,189 mile journey that challenges his body, relationships, mental and physical health. This challenge transforms him in ways he could never have expected. BONUS: If you get the Audio book Jenny and Scott read the book TO YOU!
The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience by Jennifer Pharr Davis.
A record holder of the Southbound Supported FKT Women’s record, Jennifer Pharr-Davis shares her story of trail adventures on the Appalachian Trail. I was actually very surprised, this book isn’t quite a memoir of only her story on the Appalachian Trail, rather it’s a memoir for the trail itself. Jennifer shares the history of the Appalachian trail and those that have walked or run it before her. She talks about pioneers of the FKT and with other FKT trail record holders. Full of History and inspiration, this is a must read for any trail lover.
Thousand Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail by Melanie Radzicki McManus
I had to include this because I’ve spent many years of my youth on the Ice age trail without even knowing it. My running has grown thanks to the Ice Age Trail. I’m extremely lucky of having access to portions of this trail within minutes of my home. I loved that as I read this book I could visualize the places that Melanie describes. Even some of the names within the pages were familiar. They were names of people I’ve run with or hiked with at some point. If you’re from Wisconsin, this is a MUST read 🙂
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail written by Cheryl Strayed
Part of Oprah’s Book Club and a #1 National Bestseller. A bit different from others on the list. Definitely worth a read or listen.
Call To Action:
What trail adventure books have made a huge impact for you? Leave me a comment!