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My Side Of The Mountain

Updated on October 6, 2013

My Side of the Mountain: Living Alone in the Woods

A coming of age story about a boy who goes to the woods of upstate New York to live on his own for a year. He lives in a hollow tree, eats only what he can trap, fish or gather. Though he has some survival skills when he starts out he soon discovers that a trip to the public library is necessary.

This book was written for all those children who dream about what it would be like to run away, who believe that it is possible to make it on their own in the wild.

With confidence in himself and strength of will he lives for an entire year alone in the woods, the dream of most teens.

My Side Of The Mountain

My Side of the Mountain is one of the first books I remember reading as a child. Reading this book made me feel powerful. I made me feel that I was in control of my life and that I too could survive if I decided to go out into the woods on my own. All I needed was a few more survival skills.

My sister and I tried out many of the techniques that Sam Gribley mentions in My Side of the Mountain. I remember trying to make a rabbit snare. We spent hours and days trying to find a path in the grass where rabbits run. When we couldn't find that we decided to just try making the snare in preparation for the day that we found the rabbit run.

Time went on. We tried out many of Sam's ideas. We learned a lot about the woods and fields near our home. We never actually stayed out overnight. When we were tired, home always seemed the best place to find a bed and hot food but we always knew that someday we could run away like Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain.

Sam must rely on his ingenuity and the resources of the great outdoors to survive.

Do you have the skills to successfully run away? Could you make it on your own?

On a scale of 1-7, what did you REALLY think?

See results

The best line ever:

Alone on the mountain, Sam learns about courage, danger, and the true meaning of companionship, and he captures it all in his journal.

Peregrine Falcon

Available on AllPosters

While reading about Sam Gribley and his experiences living in the woods you may start to feel the urge to get to know nature, hiking, fishing and camping the way Sam did. The following are my recommendations for wintertime reading while preparing for a summer in the woods.

The Boy's Book of Outdoor Survival: 101 Courageous Skills for Exploring the Dangerous Wild
The Boy's Book of Outdoor Survival: 101 Courageous Skills for Exploring the Dangerous Wild

Learn survival skills that will make it possible for you to live in the wilderness.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Learn how important it is for children to get outside and experience the outdoors.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Read the story of one man's journey discovering what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail.


Reconnecting with My Side of the Mountain

Writer Steve Hendrix loved the book, "My Side of the Mountain" so much that he read it over and over again, imaging himself as the main character, Sam, living in a hollow tree in the middle of the Catskills. On the fiftieth anniversary of the publishing of the boo, Steve decided to follow the route Sam Gribley took and to camp in the same spot in upstate New York.

His first step was to ask help from Author, Jean Craighead George.

Photo Credit: The Tarantula in My Purse: and 172 Other Wild Pets

Available on Amazon

Jean Craighead George, the author of My Side of the Mountain, grew up with wild animals. Her parents were etymologists and her two brothers were the first to film grizzley bears. The Tarantula in My Purse is her autobiography which hilariously describes a life surrounded by wild animals treated as pets. It is another must read.

Postscript of utmost importance

If you buy any of the books recommended above, this page automatically makes a donation to the incredible nonprofit, Donors Choose, which helps provide classrooms and students in need with resources that our public schools often lack.

Open your child's eyes to the possibilities of imagination. Give him a copy of My Side of the Mountain and let him walk in Sam Gribley's footsteps as generations of children have for generations. Help her learn to see herself confidently sleeping in the woods and providing shelter, warmth and food for herself even in the wilderness. A book, like My Side of the Mountain, can be the key to opening a world of imagination...

Come write about your experiences camping in the mountains on Wizzley, a fun and easy place to express your opinion:

If you were to run away, where would you go? - Do you have a secret My Side of the Mountain Place that you escape to?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I loved this book as a child, read it again and again... I even imagined I could run away and live in the wild. Wonderful stuff.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I've heard of this book but never did read it. Sounds like I'd enjoy it even as an adult. Actually, I've read a number of young adult books lately that I've liked better than some of the adult books I've picked up.

    • Winter52 LM profile image

      Winter52 LM 

      6 years ago

      I have never heard of the book, but it sounds like something that I would enjoy even now but I doubt that I would ever put it into practice... not at my age lol :)

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      8 years ago from Rhode Island

      I think myself a survivalist and could handle most things but as far as safety from wild animals and such nope Ii think this sounds like a wonderful book especially for our younger and a wonderful lens

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm sure I couldn't 'survive' a week alone in the woods, much less a year, but this looks like a delightful book for youngsters -- like you and your sister -- to 'try out' things and learn about nature without giving up your basic security. An adventure to 'dream' about and imagine -- great things at any age.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I remember reading this book when my daughter read it in school. I figured I wasn't quite up to surviving alone, but I really enjoyed learning about how to do it and it seemed like a plus that my daughter read it too (in case she ever needs to survive in the wild)!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      This book made a big impression on me when I read it. I remember many incidents in the book vividly.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      This book made a big impression on me when I read it. I remember many incidents in the book vividly.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      8 years ago from Royalton

      @WhiteOak50: Thank you so much, SquidAngel. I am sure that you would love reading My Side of the Mountain when you get a chance.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      8 years ago

      I have not read this book as far as I can remember, but you did a great job with this lens!

      What an exciting experience to have a sister to share such wonderful things with. My sisters and I are like night and day. I am a true nature lover and my siblings-well, they are completely different. "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Some lovely woods with many berries and nuts and no blackflies or mosquitoes. ;)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Welcome to The Nature and the Outdoors Group


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i would like to go to the adirondacks or th catskill mountains or somewhere in the appalachians.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      9 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      This is one of my all time favorite books and one of the few that I've read more than once. I loved playing in the woods as a child, so this book feed right into my deepest fantasies!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Sounds like a wonderful book. Lensrolling to Kate Salley Palmer


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