The national bestseller lists in recent years have reflected the wide appeal of adventure in the unforgiving outdoors.
And people have sought plenty of adventure in their own lives. According to the Travel Industry Assn. of America, about half of American adults have taken an adventure trip in the past five years.
Is it any wonder that an already lively category of magazines celebrating the beautiful outdoors will expand by two this month?
National Geographic Adventure, which goes on sale Tuesday, is a compelling extension of National Geographic magazine aimed at men and women. John Rasmus, who went a long way to build the category as an editor of Outside and later as the start-up editor of Men’s Journal, is editor in chief of the new magazine. “People love to read about people who are testing themselves through challenges and adversities,” he said this week.
And National Geographic Adventure feeds that appetite with strong pieces in its premiere issue on exploring the Maine coast, Baja California and other expanses of what the magazine calls “America’s Wild Edge.”
The photography is stunning (this is, after all, National Geographic). In addition, writer David Roberts’ 15-page account of what probably did happen to 20-year-old Everett Ruess, a legendary vagabond and artist who vanished in the rocky Southwest 65 years ago, alone is worth the $3.95 newsstand price. Like all pieces in the magazine, it is accompanied by a sidebar detailing how to reach and navigate the terrain in question.
The other newcomer is Outdoor Explorer, a helpful magazine for baby boomers and their families that Times Mirror Co. (owner of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday) will launch April 22 with the tagline “Real Adventure, Real People.” Its lead story describes “25 Great Towns” in which to work, play and raise an “outdoor family,” a list that is topped by Burlington, Vt., cited for “unparalleled access to mountain trails, skiing and a great lake,” and includes Truckee, Calif., which offers “months of prime skiing.”
Another roundup suggests 10 good places to take a child on his first climb. In an especially reader-friendly twist, the magazine also tailors its “Weekender” guide so that the nine pages on where to go white-water rafting focus on sites in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast or West, depending on where one obtains the issue.
Paul Colford’s e-mail address is email@example.com