Working on your bucket list? Here’s a great book that will get you out into some of the most beautiful places in the world for a once in a lifetime experience.

Fifty Place to Hike Before You Die explores the world’s greatest walking adventures. Some, such as the Lunana Snowman Trek in Bhutan  or the Kangshung Valley Trek in Tibet, are difficult, multiweek backpacking adventures. Others, such as Japan’s Nakesando Trail, are more leisurely, traveling from village to village or try Italy’s Amalfi Coast, visiting bistros along the way. There are hikes from all parts of the world and include the expected – the Matterhorn in Switzerland and the Grand Canyon in Arizona – and the surprising – Snow Lake in Pakistan and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. All of them have one thing in common though – extraordinary experiences in extraordinary places.

The major shortcoming of this book is the brevity of each entry – while basics of each trail are included, the serious traveler will need to investigate more complete information in other sources. Treat Fifty Hikes as an appetizer, an introduction to possibility and inspiration. Then choose a destination, get out your hiking boots and mark another item off that list!

prayers-for-saleHennie Comfort has lived in the mining settlement of Middle Swan, located in mountains of Colorado, for more than 70 years. As she begins contemplating moving down the mountain to live with her daughter, she passes on the stories of her life to her new friend, young Nit Spindle, who’s recently arrived in the isolated town.

Set during the hardscrabble years of the Great Depression, Hennie’s stories, like one of the beautiful quilts she stitches, are made up of all kinds of material – joyful, tragic, laugh-out-loud funny. Life in the mining town is hard – the work in the mine is dangerous, the weather is often harsh and luxuries are few.

Prayers for Sale follows Hennie’s many tales – the death of her first husband in the Civil War and the death of the second in the mines, the loss of children, the love of her mountain home – as well the stories of her often colorful friends and neighbors. Hennie shows no prejudice, becoming friends with people from all walks of life, guarding their secrets and keeping their stories. Hennie has secrets of her own – watch for a surprise twist at the end of the book. This oral history, while unique to this small town, is universal in it’s themes of love, friendship and survival. You’ll be glad you visited.