Camping Books

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Into The Wild  


  

Yes, I know this is not a camping book per se.  However, it is a very good book just the same and does touch on a number of camping issues.  Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer is the type of book that creates strong opinions from its readers and the fall into two camps surrounding the story of Chris McCandless.  Either you think his actions were extremely foolish and down right stupid or you believe that his journey although ill-fated is one of hope, excitement and adventure.   

  

This book chronicles the life of Chris McCandless who after graduating from college decided to instead of getting a regular job decided to walk across  America by camping and living essentially as a hobo.   He did quite a bit of traveling, but his adventures culminated with his final one a trip to Alaska where he ultimately died in the Alaska wild.   Jon Krakauer takes an in depth look into Chris’s life and studies the interactions he had with others and looks into what ultimately were the likely causes of his death.   For those who are not familiar with Mr. Krakauer’s writing, you will be impressed.   He has written a number of adventure books and occasionally writes for Outside Magazine.    All of his writing is top grade as he has a knack for writing straight-forward and action-oriented material that brings in his own personal experience as mountain climber and camper to give the writing greater authority.    In addition, he will often take a step back and provide some thought-provoking ideas about a certain action and provide introspection on what may have been going on in Chris’s mind about undertaking a specific action or making a certain decision. 

 

I especially liked the sections where he brings in stories of other ill-fated journeys for comparison to Chris’s story.   This blend of history of similar circumstances makes for interesting reading for all history buffs or those who are curious of other instances where this has occurred.    Plus, Krakauer goes into detail about Chris’s plan concerning food rations and food selection and how his death may have been due in part to mistakenly eating some poisonous food.   This was done apparently by Chris who mistook the food for an edible plant.    

 

As I said before, reading this book will evoke strong emotions in you as you try to grapple with the final outcome. Regardless of your final opinion, this books serves as a strong reminder the importance of a few rules that all wise campers already know: (1) you can never do enough planning for your trip and (2) if you test nature too often, you can pay the ultimate price. Even with these painful reminders, I found this book to be truly fascinating and will be one that you will easily finish in a weekend if not sooner. There is also a movie out about the book; however, I would recommend you read the book first as it provides more detail and background knowledge.   

 

My final takeaway from this book is to simply approach it with an open mind.   Even if you are part of the group who would reject this story as foolhardy adventure, take note of the spirit behind this adventure.   It is that spirit which we all are going after when choose to go tent camping rather than do something less adventurous.   For this reason, I strongly recommend this book.

    

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