Last-minute gift ideas: Boundary Waters books

Looking for a gift for a paddler or outdoorsy-type? Ready to plan next year’s wilderness adventure? No matter your age or experience level, here are a few favorites for gift-giving this year:

For kids:

One Winter Up North, by John Owens

The sequel to One Summer Up North is a beautifully illustrated picture book that leaves room for the imagination. A family enjoys the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness when its blanketed in snow, when crossing a lake means trekking across ice, and when sleds and snowshoes replace canoes. It gets high praise from one particular 8-year old, “It is a great story even if it has no words. It has lots of creative and cool animals, like my favorite owl.”

Canadian paddling guru Kevin Callan says “This is an absolutely gorgeous book. One Winter Up North truly illustrates the joy of winter camping, the comforts of wilderness travel, and the sense of awe this season brings to anyone who embraces it.”

For the Newbie

Exploring the Boundary Waters: A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW by Daniel Pauly

“A must-have for canoeing the Boundary Waters and indispensable for those who go beyond the beaten path” says Cliff Jacobson, renowned outdoors writer and canoe guide.

Exploring the Boundary Waters is a go-to for experienced trippers and a favorite guide recommendation for beginners. Its a comprehensive trip planner to the BWCAW, with overviews of entry points, detailed descriptions of 100+ routes – including a ranking of their difficulty level and maps that feature the major waterways, portages, and the designated campsites.

For the history buff

Rainy River Country: A Brief History of the Region Bordering Minnesota and Ontario by Grace Lee Nute

The Friends of the Boundary Waters say about this book: “For a concise overview of the history of the area that would become the BWCA, it’s hard to do better than this book. From the earliest known inhabitants of the land, through the fur trade and into the 20th century, Nute gives a loving account of what she considers one of the most beautiful rivers on the continent.”

For the Writer

A Private Wilderness The Journals of Sigurd F. Olson, edited by David Backes

A collection of writer and conservationist Sigurd Olson’s journals from this painful and formative time, A Private Wilderness, edited by David Backes, reveals a writer whose life was defined by the struggle between his calling and his many commitments. Being true to yourself is the key message of the journals, editor David Backes says. Olson figured out what made him happy, and kept pursuing it past the point when many might have quit. Thankfully, he never gave up. “There’s a message of hope it can give to anyone today that they have a dream, a sense of calling,” Backes says. “Any good calling is not going to be easy to follow.”

A Private Wilderness Book Sigurd Olson Journals

For the Hiker

We couldn’t narrow down our picks for inspiring next year’s big hiking adventure – these three books about the Superior Hiking Trail make a great winter reading bundle.

Thru-Hike the Superior Hiking Trail: Planning, Resupplying, Safety, Bears, Bugs and More by Annie Nelson

Thru-hiking the SHT―hiking the entire distance in one trip―is a bucket list item for many, and Annie Nelson is a unique authority. Her writing is approachable and breaks down many of the common questions, best practices, and everything from trail difficulty and safety to where to resupply. Best of all she infuses the guide with her personal journey, why thru-hiking 310 miles of the trail is meaningful to her.

“This guide provides a thorough and easy-to-understand overview of how to plan a trip on the SHT from someone who did it the right way. It’s written for thru-hikers, but the information is useful for day hikers and overnight backpackers too.” ―Jaron Cramer, Superior Hiking Trail Association

We recommend with Superior Hiking Trail Guidebook (the primary guide for the Superior Hiking Trail) and the Trail Atlas of the Superior Hiking Trail

The essential guide for trip planning at home, or keep it in the car and pick dayhikes on the fly. The guide covers trail sections, notable features and vistas, campsites, water sources, campsites, trailheads and mileages. For a deeper dive pair this book with the Trail Atlas. The atlas includes full-color maps for the Trail’s entire length, topography of the land, locations of campsites and Trailheads, water features, vista points and more.

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