Do you dream of outdoor adventure because you read or read about outdoor adventure because you dream? Honestly, I’m not sure if the dream or the books came first for me. All I know is that this is my dream life was on repeat in my mind as I read the following books. This list of the best outdoor adventure books, featuring full-time cabin life, inspired and nurtured my dream for 20 years.
Our bookshelves are lined with all types of adventure books. From hiking and nature studies to exploration and adventure, we enjoy them all. However, since our move, I have been thinking fondly about the books on the shelves which, for years, inspired and fed my dreams of full-time cabin life.
Undoubtably, the following five books will delight outdoor enthusiasts and cabin dreamers.
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Three Against the Wilderness
Before contestants for the television phenomena Alone were dropped off in the Chilcotin Wilderness, there was Eric Collier and his family of three, wife Louise and young son Veasy.
Three Against the Wilderness is the story of one family’s undertaking to bring the beaver back to the Chilcotin Wilderness in British Colombia. It’s a remarkable tale of courage, adventure, hardship and perseverance. In addition, it is a fantastic ecological tale about the role of beavers in the wilderness.
Timeless tales about wilderness living.
Eric Collier’s riveting recollections about the 26 years that he, his wife Lillian and son Veasy spent homesteading in the isolated Chilcotin wilderness made for an international bestseller and one of the most famous books ever written about British Columbia.
In the early 1930s, Collier and his family moved to Meldrum Creek, where the couple built their own log house and learned to live off the land. Fulfilling a promise to Lillian’s grandmother to bring the beavers back to the area she knew as a child before the White man came, Collier was instrumental in the species’ survival. Collier’s timeless tales about roughing it in the bush and the resourcefulness inspired by this lifestyle’s challenges will engage readers young and old.
from the publisher
Collier’s son Veasy has since stated that Eric Collier took some creative license in the writing of Three Against the Wilderness (specifically bear and moose attacks, for instance). He says Collier did so to provide a thrilling story for his readers. Despite this, I find the accomplishments of the Collier family nothing short of extraordinary.
Read the first three chapters of Three Against the Wilderness for free by clicking “look inside” here.
Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness
I read Indian Creek Chronicles in 2003, and have been thinking about it ever since. Babysitting salmon eggs may not seem like a tough (or very interesting) gig. However, add an inexperienced young man struggling to survive for seven months of winter in the remote and rugged country of Idaho and you have a page turner.
Indian Creek Chronicles is Pete Fromm’s account of seven winter months spent alone in a tent in Idaho guarding salmon eggs and coming face to face with the blunt realities of life as a contemporary mountain man. A gripping story of adventure and a modern-day Walden, this contemporary classic established Fromm as one of the West’s premier voices.
from the publisher
I have loaned this book out several times over the years to many happy readers. Indian Creek Chronicles appeals to all ages, and would be a particularly great gift for any adventuresome young adult.
Check out the first couple of chapters of Indian Creek Chronicles for free by clicking “Look inside” here.
*Technically Fromm lived in a tent, but it still fed the cabin dream.
One Man’s Wilderness
This is a book I have found myself picking up again and again; I call it a cabin coffee table book. The photos are mesmerizing and the magnitude of what Proenneke did is awe inspiring. One Man’s Wilderness will have you dreaming of possibilities. Further, I am reminded of my dad, who spent three summers living and working at our cabin in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
To live in a pristine land unchanged by man…to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed…to choose an idyllic site, cut trees, and build a log cabin…to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available…to be not at odds with the world, but content with one’s own thoughts and company…
Thousands have had such dreams, but Dick Proenneke lived them. He found a place, built a cabin, and stayed to become part of the country. One Man’s Wilderness is a simple account of the day-to-day explorations and activities he carried out alone, and the constant chain of nature’s events that kept him company. From Dick’s journals, and with firsthand knowledge of his subject and the setting, Sam Keith has woven a tribute to a man who carved his masterpiece out of the beyond.
from the publisher
Read the first few pages of One Man’s Wilderness for free by clicking “Look inside” here.
We Took to the Woods
In her early thirties, Louise Dickinson Rich took to the woods of Maine with her husband. They found their livelihood and raised a family in the remote backcountry settlement of Middle Dam, in the Rangeley area. Rich made time after morning chores to write about their lives. We Took to the Woods is an adventure story, written with humor, but it also portrays a cherished dream awakened into full life. First published 1942.
from the publisher
Contentedness is probably my biggest takeaway from We Took to the Woods. It is clear that Rich loved her life in the wilderness. We Took to the Woods describes a lifestyle that many desire: family, nature, simplicity. In addition, even though neighbors were far and wide, there was community.
Winds of Skilak: A Tale of True Grit, True Love and Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness
Leaving behind friends, family, and life as they know it, the Wards embark on a journey into the Alaskan wilderness that will change them forever. Winds of Skilak traces a young couple’s adventurous move from the suburbs of Ohio to a remote island on ill-tempered Skilak Lake. As Sam and Bonnie adapt to a life without running water, electricity and telephones, the unforgiving, desolate environment tests their courage early on. Facing sub-freezing temperatures, unfriendly bears, and cabin fever, the Wards find strength in new friends, each other, and the awe-inspiring beauty of “the last frontier.” Just when they finally settle in, a freak accident proves to be the ultimate test of their resolve. Will they be able to survive in this isolated wilderness filled with unseen dangers?
Author Bonnie Ward chronicles an exciting and thought-provoking tale of one couple’s faith in God and dedication to each other through all of Alaska’s curveballs. Winds of Skilak is a true tale of absorbing force, sure to bring out your own sense of adventure.
from the publisher
I have only just begun to read Winds of Skilak, and it had me hooked on the first page. Can you imagine your spouse coming home one day to say they had quit their job and listed your home for sale in order to fulfill a dream that hadn’t been discussed in years? I can’t, but I’m here for it!
Read the first chapters of Winds of Skilak for free by clicking “Look inside” here.
More books about outdoor adventure featuring cabin life
I haven’t read these yet, but here are two cabin adventure books currently on Kindle for $1 or less. I have them downloaded to read next.
I’d love to continue adding to my list of the best outdoor adventure books featuring full-time cabin life. Drop any recommendations you have into the comments!
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