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Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

If you’re reading my blog, you probably have at least some interest in tales of adventure, so I thought today I’d share 4 book recommendations that will set your feet in motion and give you new appreciation for the outdoors!

Teewinot: A Year in the Grand Teton Range, by Jack Turner

This beautifully written book guides readers through the Grand Teton Mountain Range using Turner’s own experience as a guide in Grand Teton National Park.  The story takes place not so much in a specific year as in the author’s collected impression of years, places and people who give the majestic Tetons rhythm and purpose.  For those adventurers who make their home year-round in this rugged landscape there are challenges, changes, and constants that make the Tetons mysterious and fascinating.   Turner’s greaest skill as an author is his ability to weave his story into a tribute befitting this timeless mountain range.  For me, the whole of the book seemed like a hike through the mountains themselves, and at its end, I felt as if I had been properly introduced to the flora, fauna, geology and beauty of Teewinot by its very closest friend.

The Savage Summit, by Jennifer Jordan

This is the story of the first 5 women to summit the infamous mountain known simply as K2. K2 is the vicious next-door neighbor of Mt. Everest, and has the dubious distinction of being 2nd most deadly mountain on earth (behind Annapurna, another neighbor). Standing only a few hundred feet lower than Everest, K2 is deep in the heart of the Karakoram in one of the most desolate and beautiful places on earth. Savage Summit explores the motivations and challenges Wanda Rutkiewicz, Liliane Barrard, Julie Tullis, Chantal Mauduit and Alison Hargreaves all endured to join the elite climbers of 8,000 meter peaks. Jennifer Jordan does an admirable job of chronicling the factors that led each woman up K2, and only sometimes, back down it.

A Walk the Woods, by Bill Bryson

My friend Sarah recommended this book to me, and it is one of the most funny, touching, adventuresome pieces of literature I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. A Walk in the Woods follows the true story of author Bill Bryson and his unlikely hiking partner Katz on an ill-planned and entirely underestimated bid to walk the entire 2,100 mile Appalachian trail. Bryson’s deadpan humor combined with cantankerous Katz’s belly-aching make for a smart and surprisingly funny account. I was hooked from page one, and by the end, I either really wanted to go hike the Appalachian Trail, or really wanted to sit on the couch and never see another trail as long as I live. I’m still not sure which!

Help! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen

Friends, for a funny frolic in outdoor-themed fiction, feast on this tasty tale by Mykle Hansen! I was sold on reading it by the title alone. Help! A Bear is Eating Me is a scant 132 pages long, but for Marv Puskin, who is trapped under his SUV and, sure enough, is being eaten by a bear, I imagine 132 pages seemed interminable. The real question in this hilarious (and maybe a little raunchy) story is: do we like Marv enough to even care if he gets eaten, or are we really rooting for Mister Bear?

*Quincy Residents: The Savage Summit and A Walk in the Woods are available at the Quincy Public Library. I borrowedHelp! A Bear is Eating Me and Teewinot from the library as well, through inter-library loan. Ask your friendly librarian!

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Justin and Laura on the summit of Chimney Tops in the Smoky Mountains on April 23, 2011.

I’m going to start this blog with a little disclaimer: It’s unabashedly mushy and about my husband. Read on, if you dare …

This week was my third wedding anniversary.  My husband and I celebrated by taking a trip to the Smoky Mountains over Easter weekend. We climbed, we hiked, we camped, we saw a bear … we had a wonderful time. During all of this outdoor activity I got to thinking about what it is that I like so much about Justin. And that’s when it hit me: He’s the perfect hiking buddy.

Justin and Laura at around 13,000 feet on Gray's Peak in Colorado on Sept. 6, 2010.

He’s the same level of adventurous as I am, which is to say, he’s up for about anything. He’s considerate on the trail — never walks too far ahead or behind — and is always happy to slow down if I’m getting tuckered out. He “sherpas” my water bottles when I need a free hand for my camera equipment. He strikes a good balance between making conversation on the trail and being quiet to enjoy the world around us.

Justin and Laura near the tree line of Mount St. Helen's on Oct. 10, 2010.

Justin is also level-headed when we’re out hiking. I can get overly excited about nature sometimes. I might, oh, I don’t know, go running off trails past signs that say, “Danger: Rattlesnake Area,” looking for something amazing to photograph. He’s always smart about checking my enthusiasm, and sweetly suggests I slow down and watch my feet more carefully.

He’s also cool under pressure. A very long story made short: Last year, my husband and I and another couple got caught coming down a mountain after dark in poor weather with only three functional flashlights. We somehow got off the trail and were more or less lost. Justin, in a show of epic character, put his nose literally to the ground, sought out other hikers’ footprints, and rediscovered the trail. Just when we were all about to panic, somehow my husband and hiking partner came through.

What more could an outdoor-loving woman ask for? All of the qualities that make Justin a great hiking buddy carry through and make him a great life buddy as well. Happy Anniversary, Justin. I love you. Here’s to many more adventures.

Original Post May 6, 2011

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