Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

I love learning the ins and outs of things I’m passionate about. I encourage you to expand your knowledge with the following recommended reading. The materials I list range from websites, to published trail guides, to memoirs by runners and hikers. My recommendations are divided into sections so you can zero in on what you are looking for!

In the spirit of accumulating as much knowledge as possible, I want to point out that it is important to read from a diverse array of authors. I’m talking, of course, about breaking out from only reading stuff written by old, white, heterosexual, American men. Works by women and/or people of color and/or international authors are purple. I also love reading works by Oregonians. Those are green.

And of course, it is also important to apply your knowledge to help others! Check out the Pitch In page for more information.

On the Web:


Oregon Coast Trail

Now That’s Enough Internet… Here are a Lot of Excellent Books:

General Outdoors

  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, The Mountaineers
    Part of the outdoor canon, for good reason.
    Buy online: Support a local bookstore and buy from Powell’s (they ship!) or I guess you could just do Amazon
  • Medicine for Mountaineering and Other Wilderness Activities, James Wilkerson, M.D.
    Great advice to prepare for when the worst happens.
    Buy online:
    Support a local bookstore and buy from Powell’s (they ship!), or I guess you could just do Amazon

Oregon Coast Trail

  • Day Hiking Oregon Coast, Bonnie Henderson
    Don’t let the title fool you; this is a really helpful planning tool for thru-hiking AND day-hiking the OCT. One of only two books I found, and the most helpful. She is an Oregonian working to protect and improve our public coastline.
  • Also, check out my Oregon Coast Trail reading list (as in, the books I packed, not the ones I planned my trip with).

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

  • Curious Gorge, Scott Cook
    A fun and fantastic resource. I have learned so much about the Gorge with this book. Written by a Hood River local.

Other Oregon Destinations

  • Bend, Overall, Scott Cook
    Scott Cook is always entertaining and informative. A must-have for adventuring in central Oregon.


  • Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D.
    Written by one of my former bosses, this is a fascinating book about the psychology of water.
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv
    This book, and the rest of Louv’s works, are must-reads. Enough said.


  • Planet Walker: 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of Silence, John Francis, Ph.D.
    This is next on my “to-read” list. John Francis was appalled after witnessing a catastrophic environmental disaster, takes a vow of silence, and walks all over two continents. Another layer: He is a black man, doing this in the 70s and 80s.
  • Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, Scott Jurek
    An inspiring look at the life and motivation of ultrarunning great Scott Jurek. Great vegan recipes, too!
  • Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
    Part of the outdoor canon for good reason. This is a compelling account of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, written by a talented author and journalist who was there. This serves as a chilling reminder about who’s in control when we’re outdoors: Mother Nature.
  • Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Co-Founder, Kenny Moore
    Bill Bowerman is challenging to summarize, but here goes: Descended from pioneers, a veteran of the Tenth Mountain Division in World War II, a relentless innovator and tinkerer, a dynasty-building coach at the University of Oregon, the instigator of the jogging craze in the US, a US Olympic track and field coach, the co-founder of Nike, a practical joker, and much more. He is not only a fascinating figure in Oregon history, but also has changed the world of running, and, by extension, the world itself. His biography is written by one of the athletes he coached, Kenny Moore, also an Oregonian.
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
    A beautiful tribute to running. Originally written in Japanese, and translated to English by Philip Gabriel.
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar, Cheryl Strayed
    Yeah, it’s not directly related to the outdoors, but this can instill a lot of inner strength, which will serve you well in all arenas of life, including endurance endeavors. Though originally from Minnesota, she’s resided in Portland, Oregon since completing her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
    An amazing story, written by an amazing woman, in an amazing style. Though originally from Minnesota, she’s resided in Portland, Oregon since completing her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. This book also, of course, includes descriptions of Oregon!
  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, John Vaillant
    An intense and well-researched story of a tiger with a vendetta in the Russian Far East.
  • Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature, Chris Van Tilburg, M.D.
    Based out of Hood River, Oregon, Chris Van Tilburg works in an ER and volunteers with search and rescue, and has accrued a ton of incredible stories. Not only interesting to read, but also a good way to learn about survival, wilderness medicine, and, in some cases, what not to do.

What are some of your favorite resources? Who are some of your favorite authors? Let me know in the comments!