“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” - Anais Nin
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Still need to plan that solo vaction? Join us for Hemingway in the UP in June or Wild in Oregon in September. 

The most important thing 

Going solo means never leaving behind my dog Howie

howie relaxing with friendsNot everyone loves dogs. I get that. They shed, you have to feed them and pick up their poop (who owns who in that relationship?) and sometimes they can be real assholes. 

But nothing can beat having a well-trained dog with you on the trail. This was proven at last month's Backpacking 101 workshop where both my dog Howie and another dog, a pointer-boxer mix Dexter, tagged along to keep all the women company. Not only did the dogs make everyone feel just a bit safer when the coyotes started howling Saturday night (YEP), but more importantly they broke the ice for a group of women who mostly had never met before. Dogs bring people together, both with their energy, and (let's face it) their need to be loved. 

Last year, while backpacking alone on the Manistee River Loop, I brought Howie along, both for comfort and protection. I'd rather travel with that dog than almost anyone else. In fact, I'm more than a little disappointed that dogs aren't allowed on Isle Royale for the trip in August. My dog kept me warm, kept me safe and kept me company. There's no other piece of equipment that will do all that — and more.

Dexter the dog takes a breakSo pack your teflon-coated, down-filled sleeping bag with built in air matress, don't forget the stove that runs on twigs and powers your iphone — but please don't forget your dog. It might be the most enjoyable solo hike you take yet.

See you on the trail!

Jill Hinton Wolfe
Chief Heroine, Outdoor Book Club

p.s. Know an outdoorsy or bookish woman? Forward this on to her!

Other interesting tidbits

What I'm reading

The Places the Scare You by Pema Chodron. No, this isn't a guide to backpacking Iran or climbing Mount Fuji — though Chodron's words could definitely come in handy in those places. This is more about getting through difficult periods in your life (have I mentioned I'm a stepmom?). I'm only about halfway through, but so far, highly recommended.


If you're in Michigan, this is a low-risk way to try out Outdoor Book Club without committing to a long week or weekend:


JUST ANNOUNCED: Author Amy Elliot Bragg will join us for the first part of the evening. We've received special permission from the park to stay overnight on the island — includes catered food, sunset kayak ride and more Detroit history than you could smuggle in a Model T! Only $99.
Did you love Wild? Then join us for six days as we discuss Wild in the natural raw beauty of Hood River while hiking the Pacific Crest trail and paddling the flat water of the Columbia river.

Outdoor Book Club apparel

Declare your love of books and the outdoors for everyone around the bonfire or on the trail with Outdoor Book Club shirts & hoodies.

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