Best Outdoor Books of 2014

If you haven’t gotten all your presents, here are some ideas of outdoor books that I’ve enjoyed this year.

Walking Distance by Robert and Martha Manning is a coffee table book which describes 30 long distance hikes. Published by the University of Oregon Press ($35), it would make a special gift for hikers and dreamers.

PNF BOOKcoverAPisgah National Forest by Marci Spencer just came out last month. Published by the History Press, the book has gotten a lot of great press locally. Somehow, she managed to interest the Cecil family, owners of Biltmore House, in her book.

Good for her.


Emma Grandma Gatewood was not the first woman to thru-hike the A.T. but she was the first woman to do it by herself.

Grandma Gatewood
Grandma Gatewood

She was also the first thru-hiker to attract a great deal of national publicity. When reporters asked Emma why she was walking the A.T., she kept saying, “I did it as a lark.” Her reasons may have been deeper and darker. She inspired the next generation of A.T. hikers, including me.

Now, in the first biography of this famous A.T. icon, Ben Montgomery, a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times, examines Emma Gatewood’s life on and off the A.T. It turns out that Emma Gatewood was the author’s great-great aunt. Read Grandma Gatewood’s Walk published by the Chicago Review Press.

I plan to read Untamed by Will Harlan by a woman who lives on Cumberland Island. It received tremendous reviews and I’m going back to Cumberland Island next month.

BookcoverMSTsmallAOf course, I can always suggest that you buy one of my books but my latest one,  The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina was published last year.  I just revised Hiking the Carolina Mountains which is going into its sixth printing.

I’m working on a new book on the people of the Southeastern national parks, to come out in 2016.



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