Coming Soon! Dead Reckoning: Learning from Accidents in the Outdoors

I’ve been quiet around here for awhile, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been working on a book!

Dead Reckoning: Learning from Accidents in the Outdoors will be out June 1, 2021 with Falcon Guides. If you’ve enjoyed any of my writing here at My Alaskan Odyssey over the last few years, I think you’ll get a kick out of it (and hopefully learn something).

I wrote this book because I wanted everyone—no matter how much experience they have in the backcountry—to have the tools to stay safe and make decisions for themselves. Dead Reckoning is narrative nonfiction that covers a wide range of activities, like backpacking, hiking in bear country, mountaineering, sea kayaking, whitewater sports, and backcountry skiing. Each chapter is a narrative about a personal experience of mine (sometimes a close call, and sometimes one I’m not especially proud of), and it’s peppered with historical accident data and analysis.

Here are some nice things some people have said about Dead Reckoning:

“Hands-down the most entertained and intrigued I’ve been while reading about all the ways I could die doing my favorite things in the outdoors. This book should be required reading for anyone who ties on a pair of hiking boots or passes through the entrance of a national park.”
Brendan Leonard, author of The Art of Getting Lost, founder of Semi-Rad

Dead Reckoning teaches critical lessons about staying safe in the backcountry with empathy and compassion. Reading about accidents is heavy, but there’s so much we can learn from them. This book helps make meaning from tragedy. Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or brand new to the trail, its thoughtful analysis will leave you better prepared to stay safe outside.”
Caroline Gleich, professional athlete, activist, and contributor to Falcon Guides’ Women Who Hike

“In Dead Reckoning, Emma Walker tells self-effacing stories she’s blended with researched vignettes of others’ mishaps, followed-up by crisp de-briefings. It’s a unique, entertaining how-to for avoiding trouble and tragedy in the backcountry, from Hawaiian tropics to Alaskan tundra and everywhere in between on mountains, rivers, and seas.”
Roman Dial, author of The Adventurer’s Son

“It’s not enough for Emma to tell you to ‘Pay Attention!’ She tells you in detail WHEN to pay attention in lots of fascinating circumstances, and then elaborates on WHY and even HOW to listen and watch for the myriad things that could kill you.”
Lynne Wolfe, editor of The Avalanche Review

You can probably see where this is going… Will you pre-order (or order, if you’re coming across this after June 1!) a copy of Dead Reckoning? I appreciate it so much!


The subtle art of being rejected

You never forget your first rejection. Mine came at the tender age of nine, at the hands of a haughty fourth-grader named Tommy, whose name I have changed here so he can’t come out of the woodwork and sue me for libel. I used the old have-a-more-popular-friend-pass-a-note one Friday afternoon, prompting Tommy to announce, in front of the entire cafeteria (on pizza day, which should have been a joyous occasion), that he would not, under any circumstances, accompany me to the Square Dance we would be performing for our families later that month. Continue reading “The subtle art of being rejected”

Find Your Snack (Just Don’t Eat Me)

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and dirtbags nationwide are finding creative ways to commemorate the NPS Centennial. (My favorite so far is the Dirtbag Diaries’ Milepost series.) I, on the other hand, lack artistic sensibilities, and am thus marking the occasion in the same way I celebrate everything else: by eating. Without further ado, then, I present the final installment in this series about things I’ve eaten in national parks—or, in this case, the from-the-archives time I almost was a snack. Continue reading “Find Your Snack (Just Don’t Eat Me)”

Ugly duckling

It’s funny what makes people feel confident. I’ve heard women say they feel sexy in stilettos or a pair of lacy undies, but both of those things make me feel sort of ridiculous and out of place—the same way some people would feel, I imagine, wearing a pair of crampons.  Continue reading “Ugly duckling”

From the archives: On Couples’ Yoga

Ah, Milt’s! I can almost hear the chorus of angels.

From the archives: This Valentine’s Day, I will be in Moab, running an excruciatingly long race with my perma-Valentine (more on that next week). I anticipate a romantic dinner at Milt’s, where Bix will find it endearing when I finish my double bacon cheeseburger and start in on his onion rings, and not just because he is now legally bound to think everything I do is cute. In any case, in my absence, here’s a throwback to one of my less fun (but ultimately more memorable!) Ghosts of V-Days Past.
Continue reading “From the archives: On Couples’ Yoga”