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The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure

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Adventure writer Mark Jenkins has journeyed around the world, crossing wild country, probing the hinterlands, getting arrested over a dozen times. He has made a life out of doing things the hard way. The result is a book that dives headfirst into adventure and experience. Jenkins transports the reader with him as he climbs the ice-encrusted Italian Ridge of the Matterhorn Adventure writer Mark Jenkins has journeyed around the world, crossing wild country, probing the hinterlands, getting arrested over a dozen times. He has made a life out of doing things the hard way. The result is a book that dives headfirst into adventure and experience. Jenkins transports the reader with him as he climbs the ice-encrusted Italian Ridge of the Matterhorn, sea kayaks from battlefield to battlefield along the Turkish coast of Gallipoli, sneaks across Tibet to reach Buddhism's holiest lake, descends unexplored canyons in Australia, and traverses the war-torn Simen Mountains of northern Ethiopia. If you've ever dreamed of escaping, lighting out for the unknown, read this book. In a world increasingly vicarious and secondhand, we all long to make decisions that matter, decisions of consequence. This is precisely what the outdoor life still requires. The Hard Way is a book about doing, not watching -- about leaping before you look.


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Adventure writer Mark Jenkins has journeyed around the world, crossing wild country, probing the hinterlands, getting arrested over a dozen times. He has made a life out of doing things the hard way. The result is a book that dives headfirst into adventure and experience. Jenkins transports the reader with him as he climbs the ice-encrusted Italian Ridge of the Matterhorn Adventure writer Mark Jenkins has journeyed around the world, crossing wild country, probing the hinterlands, getting arrested over a dozen times. He has made a life out of doing things the hard way. The result is a book that dives headfirst into adventure and experience. Jenkins transports the reader with him as he climbs the ice-encrusted Italian Ridge of the Matterhorn, sea kayaks from battlefield to battlefield along the Turkish coast of Gallipoli, sneaks across Tibet to reach Buddhism's holiest lake, descends unexplored canyons in Australia, and traverses the war-torn Simen Mountains of northern Ethiopia. If you've ever dreamed of escaping, lighting out for the unknown, read this book. In a world increasingly vicarious and secondhand, we all long to make decisions that matter, decisions of consequence. This is precisely what the outdoor life still requires. The Hard Way is a book about doing, not watching -- about leaping before you look.

30 review for The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I can't get enough of Jenkins. The guy just does crazy adventures and he's a phenominal writer. I've got a chronic case of wanderlust as it is, but his books are cranking it up a notch for me. If I suddenly drop off the face of the earth, it's because I stole a kayak, paddled up the inside package, and attempted a first ascent on some unnamed peak in the Yukon. Just to warn you. I can't get enough of Jenkins. The guy just does crazy adventures and he's a phenominal writer. I've got a chronic case of wanderlust as it is, but his books are cranking it up a notch for me. If I suddenly drop off the face of the earth, it's because I stole a kayak, paddled up the inside package, and attempted a first ascent on some unnamed peak in the Yukon. Just to warn you.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rupa

    Would give it 6 stars if I could. He's an adventurer and a clear, concise writer who takes you to ground zero. Works for Nat Geo. The book is a collection of his essays about his various travels. He writes well, simply and from the heart, focusing on the experience more than the achievements. His achievements are mind blowing (Everest, Matterhorn, bike across Africa, bike across Western Europe (twice), across Eastern Europe, multiple first ascents etc) but he is modest about all that. He clearly Would give it 6 stars if I could. He's an adventurer and a clear, concise writer who takes you to ground zero. Works for Nat Geo. The book is a collection of his essays about his various travels. He writes well, simply and from the heart, focusing on the experience more than the achievements. His achievements are mind blowing (Everest, Matterhorn, bike across Africa, bike across Western Europe (twice), across Eastern Europe, multiple first ascents etc) but he is modest about all that. He clearly loves nothing more than pitting him self against the worst of nature and wilderness and lucky for us, has come home (till now) to write about it. Very satisfying book, I think any outdoors person would enjoy it tremendously. (How is this guy not a household name??)

  3. 4 out of 5

    John Wyss

    The first part of the book I would give 5 stars. The middle part was good, but mostly about mountain climbing as opposed to general travel stories like the first part. It got a little tiresome reading about climbing for 100 pages, but that is not something I am really interested in. The vignette, The Bike Messenger, in the first section is a beautiful story, and with out a doubt my favorite in the entire book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Mark Jenkins was a longtime writer for Outside Magazine. This is a fun collection of some of his best stories, recounting his globetrotting adventures and near death experiences (of which there are several). Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    anarresa

    Jenkins is a very compelling writer and these generally short essays are vivid descriptions of great places, people or experiences. Some are fairly technical (I am not an outdoor adventurer) but all were interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jean Dupenloup

    A decent climbing adventure/memoir. Mr. Jenkins’ book is enjoyable despite the lack of structure from one story to he next. However, the book is entertaining without being unforgettable. A decent read not destined for greatness.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wristen

    Great tales of adventure; quick stories in short chapters; colorful writing; very easy reading; loved it. Now where's my backpack? I wanna go climb a mountain! Great tales of adventure; quick stories in short chapters; colorful writing; very easy reading; loved it. Now where's my backpack? I wanna go climb a mountain!

  8. 5 out of 5

    J Michael

    One of the best books about adventure I've ever read. So good. Be swift. Don't whine. Try you hardest! Great messages. One of the best books about adventure I've ever read. So good. Be swift. Don't whine. Try you hardest! Great messages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Shannon

    Whether he's soloing the east face of a mountain in South America or instructing the reader in the lost art of hitching a ride across the country, Mark Jenkins is an amiable guide to the adventure-filled life. As a veteran of magazines such as Outside and Men's Health, the author does a wonderful job of putting us in the thick of the wilderness. The stories collected here include accounts of kayak journeys along the coastal battle sites of World War I and a brief but informative description of t Whether he's soloing the east face of a mountain in South America or instructing the reader in the lost art of hitching a ride across the country, Mark Jenkins is an amiable guide to the adventure-filled life. As a veteran of magazines such as Outside and Men's Health, the author does a wonderful job of putting us in the thick of the wilderness. The stories collected here include accounts of kayak journeys along the coastal battle sites of World War I and a brief but informative description of the life of George Mallory, the British mountain climber who lead the expedition to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1924. The author also recounts personal stories about the strong bonds he has with his three brothers and how he introduces his children into a life spent in the wilderness. This book is a wonderful tonic for armchair enthusiasts who want to know what if feels like and allows them to go on an expedition in the comfort of their favorite reading space.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alice Carroll

    The Hard Way is a book in the 3rd person, about a real guy called Mark Jenkins. He tells stories about when he was mountaineering and traveling around the world. These stories are partly about family, partly about survival. Also, he writes about events that happened in those places long ago. There are many themes such as adventure, adrenaline, family, survival, self-discovery, etc. So, I give 5 stars to this book because of all of these aspects. I recommend it to you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott Reisig

    Another one of my favorites from 2007 - Mark Jenkins lives in our neck of the wood, but he has been all over the globe seeking adventure. His stories are funny, thought-provoking, and touching. He often blends the story of the adventure with the life lessons he takes away from the experience. A very talented writer - many of his stories can be found at: www.thehardway.com. Another one of my favorites from 2007 - Mark Jenkins lives in our neck of the wood, but he has been all over the globe seeking adventure. His stories are funny, thought-provoking, and touching. He often blends the story of the adventure with the life lessons he takes away from the experience. A very talented writer - many of his stories can be found at: www.thehardway.com.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Devenney

    To this day, this may be my favorite adventure book I've ever read. Mark is a bad ass. After reading this, I developed a suspicion/distaste towards people with new gear, or people who complain in any way, or even people who can't find a certain type of joy when things go wrong. I've packed less and have had a more open attitude towards doing it the hard way since reading this a few years ago. To this day, this may be my favorite adventure book I've ever read. Mark is a bad ass. After reading this, I developed a suspicion/distaste towards people with new gear, or people who complain in any way, or even people who can't find a certain type of joy when things go wrong. I've packed less and have had a more open attitude towards doing it the hard way since reading this a few years ago.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    It's a collection of short stories about this guy's mountaineering adventures. I like books written by mountain climbers - they take me places I'll never go and do things I don't want to do because mountaineering sounds like a fancy word for painful drudgery. There's something to be admired in that. It's a collection of short stories about this guy's mountaineering adventures. I like books written by mountain climbers - they take me places I'll never go and do things I don't want to do because mountaineering sounds like a fancy word for painful drudgery. There's something to be admired in that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bpwillis

    I loved this book. It is great for anyone who loves the outdoors. It is a collection of different stories from Mark's life as an adventure writer. They range from spiritual and retrospective to humorous. Some of the ones in the last section might bring a tear to your eye. I loved this book. It is great for anyone who loves the outdoors. It is a collection of different stories from Mark's life as an adventure writer. They range from spiritual and retrospective to humorous. Some of the ones in the last section might bring a tear to your eye.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim Rowe

    good book...rereading it

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sebastien

    Great short stories of travel adventures. Makes you want to get your backpack and hit the road.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alec

    A good, fairly exciting book but with a bit more moralizing and a bit less action than I might have liked.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    He sees his world with such clarity.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    Fantastic read. I'm going to go quit my job and climb mountains now. If you'd like inspiration to do the same, ask me to borrow this book. Fantastic read. I'm going to go quit my job and climb mountains now. If you'd like inspiration to do the same, ask me to borrow this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsaylu

    Mark Jenkins is the best Crazy Outdoor Jewel to ever come out of Laramie and write about his trials. Dang.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Calvert

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Armentrout

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cc

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zach Eddings

  27. 4 out of 5

    Skip Runge

  28. 4 out of 5

    dominika

  29. 4 out of 5

    Johann

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bateson

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