Monday, September 12, 2011

Five best books about outdoor adventures

Michael J. Ybarra is the Wall Street Journal's extreme-sports correspondent.

One title on his five best list of books on outdoor adventures:
Whitewater Philosophy
by Doug Ammons (2009)

Climbing is a relatively established sport with a library of literature stretching back several hundred years. Whitewater kayaking, by contrast, has only been pursued for a matter of decades. Its literature is comparatively scant, but Doug Ammons has already crafted a classic meditation on what he calls "adventure sports," one that easily transcends the river genre. "The outward journey," he writes, "is nothing without an equivalent journey within oneself; otherwise, we travel to the ends of the earth and yet stay exactly the same." Ammons has taken some wild journeys—Outside magazine compared his harrowing solo run on Canada's Stikine River with Roald Amundsen's sledding to the South Pole. But Ammons writes just as movingly about the joys of paddling down benign waterways with his children as he does about rocketing through Class V rapids. Whether he's confronting the loss of friends or exploring the nature of fear, he plumbs the depths of why some people feel the need to push to the edge. "Adventure sports," he says, "allow us to take part in the very powers that sculpted and shaped the world around us."
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue