Each November ushers in an exciting time for writers. National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo—is a community-based challenge to encourage authors to finish drafts of their creative works. 

If you’ve been thinking about sharing your own tale, or are looking forward to the great stories that eventually come out of this month, we wanted to share some books from our favorite genre for inspiration. 

Below, we showcase three books about the great outdoors, all written by one of our fabulous Gossamer Gear brand ambassadors!

1. Chasing the Smokies Moon by Nancy East

If you’ve been following the Light Feet blog over the past couple years, you’ve probably heard us brag on our brand ambassador Nancy East quite a bit. 

Nancy is based outside the Great Smoky Mountains and set the fastest known time (FKT) for hiking every trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with her hiking partner, Chris Ford, in October 2020. The effort raised $30,000 for the park’s preventive search and rescue (PSAR) program, a cause close to Nancy’s heart as a SAR team member herself.

Following the FKT attempt through Nancy’s social media updates was a lot of fun for many of us. Her new book, Chasing the Smokies Moon: An audacious 948-mile hike—fueled by love, loss, laughter, and lunacy, offers a more intimate look at what inspired the challenge and Nancy’s reflections on completing the effort.

You can order the book through Nancy’s website, as well as other places that sell books.

2. Best Day Hikes on the Arizona National Scenic Trail by Sirena Rana

There’s something magical about the Arizona landscape, and no one captures this quite like Sirena Rana. 

Sirena is one of our badass brand ambassadors who finished section hiking the Arizona Trail (AZT) in 2009. Ever since, she’s been hiking, promoting, building, and writing about the 800-mile trail to make it more accessible to a diverse audience.

In Best Day Hikes on the Arizona National Scenic Trail, Sirena does more than simply list out day hiking options. She provides critical tips and tricks for hiking in a desert environment, and also notes which hikes are best for beginners, families, those short on time, and other groups. 

The trail descriptions include information about the history, geology, plants, and animals along the AZT, as well as the Indigenous Ancestral Lands it crosses. Finally, readers will find information on trail towns with recommendations on where to stay, what to see, and where to eat.

The best place to snag a copy of Sirena’s book to prepare for your AZT trip is on her website.

3. Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail by Heather “Anish” Anderson

Heather “Anish” Anderson is another of our always exploring brand ambassadors. She completed a calendar year Triple Crown in 2018 and holds the overall self-supported FKT on the Pacific Crest Trail and the female self-supported FKT on the Appalachian and Arizona Trails.

In March 2021, she released Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail, her second published book, which tells the story of her 2015 Appalachian Trail FKT. Further, it explores the prevalence of imposter syndrome among high-achieving women, and overcoming a lifetime of self-doubt through introspection and effort.

In her book, Heather walks the reader through 54 of the most powerful days of her life, distilling down endless stories into a compelling narrative.

You can purchase a copy of her book here, or wherever books are sold.

Celebrate NaNoWriMo With the Best Outdoor Stories and Guides

We hope you decide to cozy up with one of these books this month by the campfire, while in your post-Thanksgiving food coma, or any time you need to be transported into some good wilderness adventure. 

Some other good ones that we’ve highlighted on the Light Feet blog include Gail Muller’s Unlost: A Journey of Self-Discovery and the Healing Power of the Wild Outdoors and Barney Scout Mann’s Journeys North.

We’d also love to see what you’re reading as you cuddle up in your Gossamer Gear shelter or lean ever so thoughtfully against your favorite Gossamer Gear backpack. Tag us on social media (@gossamergear) and use the hashtag #takelessdomore to share your favorite trail reads!
November 12, 2021 — Korrin Bishop