Take a Hike

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Take a Hike

Books on traveling by foot

As the days of the health emergency have continued, many of us have found comfort and happiness in taking in time outdoors. Whether traveling along city streets or taking a break in a wooded park, walking can be immensely beneficial to us humans in a myriad of ways. These six titles celebrate taking the road by foot, from its effects on our mental health to what we can learn spiritually from the practice to how our bodies reap the benefits of simply putting one foot in front of the other again and again and again.

(Please note that all titles are linked to in their e-book formats; some are available as physical books to place on hold as well.)

How to Walk by Tich Nhat Hanh
Taking another look at mindfulness, Buddhist monk Tich Nhat Hanh connects the physical with the mental through the common activity of walking. How to Walk introduces readers to simple steps they can take to increase the benefits of time spent walking. Alongside anecdotes, Hanh shares strategies for mindful walking and imagery to help make those strategies turn into concrete gains for walkers who apply them.

Walking by Henry David Thoreau
Originally a lecture for the Concord Lyceum, Walking deliberates on man’s place in nature. With special attention paid to the pulls of both nature and society and man’s responsibility between those things, Thoreau marks one of his most famous pieces of writing with Walking, which is a quick read at about 40 pages. Walking demonstrates Thoreau’s typical transcendentalist perspective and features his usual rich, descriptive prose.

Walking the Nile by Levison Wood
With a determination to be the first person recorded to walk the entire length of the famed Nile river, Levison Wood begins his journey in Rwanda, where the Nile begins as a small spring in the ground. Met with various natural obstacles and trials, Wood documents the trip that was also fraught with challenges from human conflict. A singular look at the road along the Nile, Walking the Nile is an adventure perhaps best experienced on the page with Wood’s candid and open style.

Walking the Camino by Tony Kevin
Former diplomat Tony Kevin travels light in this memoir of his walking journey through Spain. Packed with detail to illustrate the vast canvas of cultural, political and natural Spain, Walking the Camino also describes the many often-unseen benefits of walking and the stuff it takes to task oneself with such a path, physically, mentally and spiritually. With a holistic take on the walking and hiking experience, this journey is not one to miss.

In Praise of Walking by Shane O’Mara
From a scientific perspective, O’Mara examines the common activity of walking. Considering walking as an ability somewhat unique to humans, In Praise of Walking explores the many advantages of this low-risk activity including restoration of internal organs, mental health improvement and relationship building. O’Mara also discusses the challenges of society’s current structure as it encourages a more sedentary lifestyle -- and what we have to lose in continuing this way.

Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit
Beloved essayist Rebecca Solnit takes on walking as a vehicle for history, discussing its evolution and appearance throughout the story of the world and humanity. With the weight of walking as an important feature of human history and life, Solnit argues for the protection of the ability in terms of time and space to walk in modern and future times as society turns more heavily toward automobiles and other modes of transportation.