HFV Suggested Reading

What we’ve discovered in our six years of leading men and women veterans and active duty service members into the wilderness is that most participants are philosophers and deep thinkers. We believe this is because military service has exposed many to deep reflections of life, death, and the meaning of existence. The level of conversation is refreshing in a modern age where most people barely look up from their screens to acknowledge those around them.

In an effort to continue the greater discussions had on our trips, we have come up with a list of suggested readings from HFV staff and board members. We encourage participants to be lifelong learners and readers of literature. That’s what makes the HFV experience unique to other outdoor programs by providing a place of comfort and natural beauty for discussions of literature and philosophy that give context and meaning to the wilderness experience.

This perspective shift accentuates the healing salve of nature and wilderness, and it helps participants cope with and ultimately heal from the wounds of war. We plan to add to this list as time goes on and invite participants and website visitors to submit any suggestions in the comments below. Happy trails and great reading!

Nonfiction

  • “Desert Solitaire,” by Ed Abbey
  • “The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books” by John Muir
  • “Walking it Off” by Doug Peacock
  • “Grizzly Years” by Doug Peacock
  • “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger
  •  “Evil Hours,” by David J. Morris
  • “War and the Soul,” by Edward Tick
  • “Warrior’s Return,” by Edward Tick
  • “Vets for Vets,” by Jerry Alpern
  • “The Evil Hours: A Biography of PTSD,” by David J. Morris
  • “The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Bessel Van Der Kolk
  • “Home of the Brave,” by Donna Bryson
  • “What it’s like to go to War,” by Karl Marlantes
  • “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl

Fiction

  • “The Monkey Wrench Gang” by Ed Abbey
  • “The Yellow Birds,” by Kevin Powers
  • “Redeployment,” by Phil Klay

Online Articles

My Huts for Vets Experience

Life After Huts for Vets
By Erik Villaseñor

Spending three days in the wilderness surrounded by vast mountain ranges, lush forests, and running streams can do amazing things to your mind, body and soul. Mix in the camaraderie of a small group of veterans led by an organization with a passionate sense of service to help heal veterans, and you have yourself a life changing experience – one that I truly believe can help those who have experienced war, have been greeted by the Darkness, and look to acknowledge its presence in a healthy and respectful way.

By integrating a wilderness therapy program into a warrior’s return into society, you’re arming him/her with an alternative way to cleanse the warrior mind and spirit. Studies have shown, and history tells us, that Mother Nature plays a huge role in mental health. Our connection to nature is primal and deeply rooted in our psyche, playing a crucial role in our cognitive functions (re: Your Brain on Nature). This leads to the conclusion that those who have experienced combat should return to the wilderness to seek peace, solitude and meaning in their now transformed mind.