It’s no secret we love stories from women in the outdoors. After all, our Ambassadors plan epic adventures every year to raise grant funding to get other girls and women in nature! But if you’re not planning your own adventure right now, or if you simply want a little boost of inspiration in your everyday life, did you know we have an impact-driven book club?
Grit Lit is our community program that elevates the stories of women outside. Each quarter Grit Lit subscribers receive a box with a book and treats from women adventurers and business leaders around the world.
It’s been a blast to get a new book to read and discuss every quarter, and Grit Lit has led many of us to discover new favorite adventure books that we can’t stop recommending to others.
Here were our favorite adventure books that we read recently:
1 | A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio
Adventure can look however you want it to. Running can be whatever you want it to.
Ultrarunner Mirna Valerio shares that in running, people use acronyms like DNS for “Did Not Start” and DNF for “Did Not Finish.” And she had to create her own: DNQ for “Did Not Quit.”
Mirna has run over 15 ultramarathons plus countless other runs, all over the country. And she’s inspired many others to start running or chase new fitness goals.
But when the media portrays long distance runners, they typically highlight thin, white athletes who don’t look like Mirna, creating false stereotypes about who a runner is and isn’t.
“This body is fierce, beautiful, and unapologetic. It’s meant to move through the world as it wishes: lifting, walking, and running, rolls and all. Love handles, bouncy boobs, curves, tummy, butt, back fat, and all.”
Why we love this book
This memoir is honest, adventurous, and funny. We felt inspired to tackle new goals and ideas and to tune out the negative voices from society and media that aren’t supportive of all of us. A Beautiful Work in Progress proves that anyone can be an athlete and have fun!
2 | Hudson Bay Bound by Natalie Warren
Imagine spending three months in a canoe, headed to the Arctic waters… and being one of the first women to do so.
Author and adventurer Natalie Warren takes us along her journey, following 2,000 miles from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, with her co-adventurer Ann Raiho.
The pair face unexpected trials and pitfalls, meet folks who live and work along the waterways, and pick up a companion along the way.
But the story is also realistic. Natalie shares the tension that existed between her and Ann, the practicalities of planning a 3 month paddling trip, sexism, and the natural and human-made surprises they encounter that you don’t see in Instagram selfies.
““When in doubt, don’t think too much, and walk around the block in your hiking boots.”
Why we love this book
Adventure memoirs are already gripping, but Natalie weaves in so many elements that are relatable in everyday life, from group dynamics to living as a woman in society. Hudson Bay Bound takes you on an adventure while helping you see the adventure in the everyday.
3 | Alone in Wonderland by Christine Reed
Author Christine Reed started calling herself the “Rugged Outdoors Woman” as a joke.
But in calling herself that, she became so– a backpacker, rock climber, and trail runner who has inspired others to get outdoors and claim their identities, too.
Christine discovered long distance backpacking while scrolling the web at work. That day, she committed to attempting an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. Next thing she knew, she was years into a passion for hiking and set out for the Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainier.
The book takes you through Christine’s 11-day solo adventure circumnavigating the mountain on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail. She faces backpacking challenges, new community, wildlife, and more, and also learns about female independence, realities of fear and safety, and processing trauma and grief.
“I wonder how anyone could know that places like this exist and be completely disinterested in being here. The draw of the mountains pulls at my heart.”
Why we love this book
Although Christine’s hike was only 11 days, there are years of wisdom woven into the memoir. It’s honest, raw, and inspiring. Alone in Wonderland is a reminder to us to declare who we are, and to own it.
4 | Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing by Lauren DeLaunay Miller
35 first-hand climbing stories. Some well-known, others previously untold. All women.
This collection highlights voices many books don’t usually focus on: those of female climbers. From the 1930s to modern day, these stories cover a variety of climbing experiences centered around the center of American rock climbing: Yosemite.
Each story is unique and shared by a different woman, but each will touch you in some way, whether with joy, heartbreak, passion, or an adventurous spirit, with a fresh perspective.
The book is organized into five eras of Yosemite climbing history and includes journal excerpts, original essays, interviews, archival materials, and more memories that capture the essence of where many climbers call “home.”
“The mountains and walls do not care who we are, but they demand that we bring the very best of ourselves to our every interaction with them.”
Why we love this book
Sometimes, you just want to sit down and read a short adventure story. This anthology offers a range of stories for any mood. Valley of Giants gives us micro-adventures every time we open it!
Get ready to find your new favorite adventure book!
Itching to grab a new book and dive into adventures through the pages? Join us as a Grit Lit subscriber in 2024 and enjoy your books and extra goodies alongside other women!
We have some fun perks starting in 2024, so start the program now and enjoy the fun to come.
Go here to sign up for Grit Lit or gift a box to a friend.
Angie is an author, speaker, and recreational mountain athlete who's fascinated by the intersection of adventure and womanhood.
In 2022, she completed an Adventure Fundraiser for The Cairn Project during which she climbed five Cascade Volcanoes in Oregon and Washington, including Mt. Rainier.
Angie lives in the Columbia River Gorge, where she enjoys ultrarunning, mountaineering, and, recently, learning to whitewater kayak. Find her work at itsangiemarie.com or say hi at instagram.com/angvswild.