A Wild Path

A Wild Path

Douglas Wood

A soul-satisfying journey through the wilderness that uncovers hope, healing, and the abiding grace of wild things

229 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Hardcover
  • 9781517905941
  • Published: December 5, 2023
  • eBook
  • 9781452970424
  • Published: December 5, 2023


A Wild Path

Douglas Wood

ISBN: 9781517905941

Publication date: December 5th, 2023

229 Pages

17 black and white illustrations

8 x 5

"There’s a world between these covers—a world of truth, grace, and beauty where gravity keeps your feet on the ground and levity lifts your spirit high. It’s a world of many dimensions: the challenge of the North Woods and the comfort of Beethoven in the pines, the glories of the night sky and the trustworthy wisdom of elders, the savvy to canoe the wilderness for weeks and the compassion to lift the spirits of children who weep because they are ‘different,’ all laced with the humor that is the spice of life. This world exists because Douglas Wood has the experience and the gifts required to bring it to life, giving his readers a chance to dwell in it for a while and return refreshed, even healed, to their own lives. That’s why I’ve been reading him for twenty years. Doug’s gifts are many, reaching beyond writing and illustrating to speaking, making music, and guiding wilderness expeditions. But what I value most about him is his artistry at being human, fully and simply human. I've returned to this book time and again to refresh my own humanity. I'd bet good money that you'll find yourself doing the same."—Parker J. Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything, Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, and Healing the Heart of Democracy


"The magic and awe of the natural world, childhood challenges and love of family, and the redemption of the wilderness are all shared by Douglas Wood in his new collection, A Wild Path. Doug writes with bravery and honesty about childhood traumas, learning difficulties, bouts with depression, and how the ‘therapy of wilderness’ brought peace, perspective, and feelings of self-worth. You’ll find yourself laughing, crying, and breathing in the forest air while reading Doug’s stories. You might even discover yourself in these essays, through the gentle, understanding, and insightful words of Douglas Wood."—Patsy Mogush, president, Listening Point Foundation


"In his compelling collection of essays, A Wild Path, Douglas Wood provides an intimate and revealing portrait of his relationship with nature, and the family and friends who are part of his life’s journey. In a lifetime spent close to the natural world, he found the therapy of wilderness—what he calls the ‘psychology of green things’ and the ‘counseling of rocks.’ He was rescued through the process of loving—and learning to share his love of—wild places and wild things. Wood’s love of wild nature is expressed in every page and essay."—Chris Knopf, executive director, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness


"Douglas Wood’s A Wild Path reaches deep into the heart—his, mine, and surely yours as well. His stories reflect the lives of our generation drawn to the woods and lakes of the North and toward a simpler life. They are stories of a life well-lived, told in such vivid detail they will give you pause to reflect on the stories and meanings of your own life."—Steve Piragis, co-owner, Piragis Northwoods Company


"In A Wild Path, Douglas Wood captures the magic, wonder, and awe of experiencing the wilderness. This collection of essays is honest, authentic, and laugh-out-loud funny. A real treat."—Rebecca Otto, executive director, Ernest C. Oberholtzer Foundation


"Ever the expert naturalist, guide, and storyteller, Douglas Wood alternates between captivating prose and lyrical poetry in A Wild Path. One moment Doug takes us on a strenuous paddle across big water and in the next, a gentle stroll under towering pines. Every essay connects, or reconnects, us with family and friends, flora and fauna, and all the beauties of this vast and vibrant world."—Buddy Huffaker, executive director, Aldo Leopold Foundation


"Douglas Wood has always been able to express the magic in this world like no one else I know. He sees relationships between the grand and all-encompassing and the simplest of things. Every essay in this book, from raucous hilarity to serious contemplation—the ironies, the wisdom, the guffaws, and the tears from those beautiful places in Doug’s heart—seems a personal gift to me. I suspect that will be the case for all who read it."—Denny Olson, writer, teacher, actor, and naturalist


"This is a great book. Through its stories Douglas Wood helps us perceive the worlds within and beyond the surfaces of Earth—and there, ‘in the company of trees,’ as he puts it, to discover health and hope."—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and Our Wild Calling


"As a writer, Douglas Wood is like John Burroughs in his vivid descriptions of the natural world. But in his delightful storytelling style and mastery of his craft, he is akin to Mark Twain."—Marlene Warren Ehresman, founder and executive director, Iowa Wildlife Center


"This is a book filled with fun and fascinating tales, but it also contains lessons that, once learned, are as valuable outside the wilderness as within it. A Wild Path is far more than just a journey into wild places. It is a journey into living a full life, written with skill and insight."—Michael Furtman, outdoor writer and photographer


"A Wild Path is as good as it gets for capturing the essence of the wilderness experience and inspiring us all to explore our own pathways into the wild."—Stuart Osthoff, publisher, Boundary Waters Journal


A soul-satisfying journey through the wilderness that uncovers hope, healing, and the abiding grace of wild things

A Wild Path is author Douglas Wood’s highly anticipated followup to the critically acclaimed memoir Deep Woods, Wild Waters. He again leads readers along a meditative path through a wilderness of many dimensions—from the lakes and islands of his beloved Canoe Country to rugged ocean coasts to a mountain chasm, from camping on the Canadian Shield to listening to the soft strains of Beethoven in the pines, and from the pain of childhood wounds to appreciation for a life rich with nature. As on every good journey, there is plenty of laughter, warmth, and humor on the trail.


With the generosity and compassion of a good wilderness guide, Douglas Wood welcomes readers to accompany him as he navigates his life-path from struggling student and “worst reader in the class” to prolific writer and best-selling author. He offers courage and hope to those who feel different or left behind, and he shares how he found, through the counsel of rocks, trees, and waters, his own way toward joy and wonder and an unshakable sense of belonging.


Exploring the meanings of myriad outdoor experiences, Wood seeks to understand the importance and existence of beauty, the emotional poignancy of a wilderness sunset, and the realization of dreams, while also honoring his outdoor and literary mentors, including Sigurd Olson and Aldo Leopold. Traveling across continents, over oceans, and through the landscape of time, A Wild Path ranges from solitary shorelines of introspection to peaks of triumph, finding rest and tranquility in a simple cup of jasmine tea, sipped by a campfire under the stars.

Douglas Wood is an author, artist, musician, educator, wilderness guide, and creator of thirty-nine books for children and adults, including Deep Woods, Wild Waters (Minnesota, 2017). His first book, Old Turtle, was hailed an “instant classic.” His other works, including the New York Times bestseller Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth and his humorous Can’t Do series, have received the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, the Christopher Medal, Parents’ Choice Award, International Reading Association Book of the Year Award, Smithsonian Notable Books for Children Award, Storytelling World Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education. He lives with his family in a log cabin on the Mississippi River in Minnesota.