When all this madness started, the usual seasonal purgatory of late-March was already upon us in Minnesota. The ice was going out, most of the snow had been rescinded from the slopes and trails. All that was left was road-salt residue, frost heaves, potholes, and mud. Normally this is the time of year to escape: ideally somewhere tropical or exotic, to higher elevations out west to extend the snowboard season, or simply decamping to the coast. With a visit to a friend’s, I can easily speed through a week in a too-small wetsuit, trying to ride their kid’s soft-top, getting my semi-annual thrashing in two-foot surf. But then the pandemic struck.
With spring vacation out of the question, summer still weeks away, and no end to self-quarantine in sight, I needed an escape more than ever—at least in my mind. And there’s nothing like escaping into the pages of a good book. Here’s a stay-at-home syllabus of great adventure reads, overlooked when considering all-time “classics,” but packed with picks you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
In my exhaustive and definitely absolute, without-question thorough research, I scoured the depths of my closet. I sifted through the volumes on my bedside graveyard of partially read, almost finished, and nearly started books. I glanced at a handful of dust jackets and back covers. And like all legendary armchair adventurers, I Googled. Most importantly, I consulted a long list of fellow adventure-loving friends and family.
Opening a new book might not be quite as exhilarating as casting off from familiar shores into the great unknown. But if we can summon even an ounce of the determination and hope found in these pages, maybe we’ll manage to better weather this storm together.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve stowed my trusty hammock and provisioned myself with some expedition essentials (cold cans and snacks). It’s time to set off into the great unknown of the backyard with nothing but my wits and perseverance. With any luck, some good weather windows, and my daughters’ nap schedule holding, I might just finish my book.
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