I am always searching for great adventure books for my son. When he was in his early years, he must have read a
book on how a teen sailed the Pacific on his own, well, about once a month. He made himself a chart of his
goals—some travel and some education and life-oriented. Most of those goals—inspired by that
book—have come true. That is why I know how valuable a great adventure book can be in a person's life.
Ultimate Adventures by Greg Witt might turn out to be an inspiration of the very same sort now my son has
passed, well, er . . . †that magical fourth decade. It is one hefty book which includes adventures that many dream
of, like climbing the Matterhorn, to ones that no one but the most intrepid (and mosquito-bite immune!) would
consider, like rafting the White Nile.
The book is divided into sections that help the reader find the vacation most to his or her liking—or not.
The titles range from "Family-Friendly Adventures" to "Photo-Ops." But browsing might get individual chapters,
like "Sea Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay," or really specific information on travel in what is, in my memory, the best
trip I ever took, the Galapagos.
In colorful little sections that look like paste-ups, you'll find history and tips that will whet the appetites
of the young or the young at heart. Each trek is graded with an "Is this for me?" section that includes ratings for
physical, psych, the kinds of skills needed and even the Wow! factors.
If you are a dreamer or doer, this is the book for you. If you know how to upright a swamped canoe, this is the
book for you. If you donít, this book will tell you how. If pictures are about as far as you want to go with this
kind of exotic planning, this book is for you.
I know that Witt does a good job with the places Iíve never seen because he does such a good job with the ones I
have. He includes an adventure in a remote canyon in one of our loveliest of National Parks, Zion (Southern Utah),
and quotations like this one from Charles Kuralt about a small town not too far from where I grew up:
"On the map, Ely (NV) appears to be at the end of the road. For people who love wilderness and beauty and
solitude, on the contrary, itís at the center of the world."
What a great big, fat, great book this is! Go for it!