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5 Outdoor Books to Ignite Your Sense of Adventure

Before summer comes to a close, grab these great adventure and outdoor books and lay in a hammock, find a shady spot under a tree, spread out a blanket by the lake, or nestle in your sleeping bag to read by headlamp. However you do it, these reads are the perfect inspiration to fuel your next adventures. Squeeze them in before the leaves turn and the flakes fall, or enjoy them any season.

Path of Light: A Walk Through Colliding Legacies of Glen Canyon

By Morgan Sjogren

Image by Torrey Press House

In Path of Light, Morgan Sjogren writes about retracing expedition routes that Charles L. Bernheimer and his team took in the 1920s as they explored Glen Canyon and what is now Bears Ears National Monument in the southwest U.S. Sjogren also weaves in her own first-person experiences and anecdotes, using historic photographs and journals to trace the route, sharing stories along the way. She writes about the region’s original inhabitants and the many people who have lived in the region over the years, always keeping a mindful eye towards the effects of colonization and the responsibility of preserving wild lands for future generations.

The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean

By Susan Casey

Image by Doubleday

Known for her bestselling books about the intricacies of the ocean, Susan Casey once again dives deep in The Underworld, which explores the deep sea. Her previous works have covered dolphins, great white sharks, and rogue waves, and this book dives far below the ocean’s surface, exploring the science of the deep sea. 

To tell this story, she joined a variety of experts, including oceanographers, marine biologists, and marine geologists in the field, interviewing them and learning more about what lies far beneath the ocean, exploring the deep valleys, undersea volcanoes and mountains, tectonic plates, and fascinating lifeforms that live in darkness and under deep pressure. Her message of exploration is also interlaced with the need to protect the ocean from a number of threats, like pollution, exploitation, and the impacts of climate change.

Eight Bears: Mythic Past and Imperiled Future

By Gloria Dickie

Image by W.W. Norton & Company

Eight species of bears currently live on Earth, and Gloria Dickie went on a quest to write about all of them. She covers North America’s bear trio—polar, brown, and American black bears—as well as South America’s spectacled bear and four different bears that live in Asia, including sloth, panda, moon, and sun bears. 

Interweaving her first-hand experiences with bears and the people who live and work with them, she incorporates bear-related mythologies and lore. She also discusses human-bear conflict and potential solutions to help keep people and bears safe. 

The World’s Best National Parks in 500 Walks

By Mary Caperton Morton

Image by Thunder Bay Press

Start dreaming of your next adventures with this great guide to the world’s best national park walks. Sorted by continent and region, even a quick flip through this book will give you a case of wanderlust and an itch to start planning trips. 

The book contains 500 different walks around the globe, from the world’s first national park—Yellowstone—to an orangutan trek in Indonesia. Whether you would rather explore Wizard Beach in Bastimentos Island National Park, Panama or Wales’ Llyn Idwal Trail in Snowdonia National Park, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the gorgeous imagery, along with a few maps and illustrations, and use this book as the launching point for a lifetime of adventure.

Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map

By Rick Ridgeway

Image by Random House

During the course of his life, Rick Ridgeway estimates he has spent around five years sleeping in tents, and he shares some of his adventurous tales in his aptly named memoir, Life Lived Wild. His expeditions are impressive—from being part of the first K2 ascent by Americans to trekking to remote areas of Tibet and crossing Borneo. 

He interweaves these sometimes harrowing stories of adventure with a celebration of the people he enjoys getting outside with, including friends like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and the late Doug Tompkins, who founded The North Face. Go along with Ridgeway and pals on their adventures and find inspiration to live life a little bit more untamed.

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