There are few books that I have been more upset to finish than Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Artic’s Edge. Jill Fredston eloquently relates her story of fortitude and endurance as she ROWS (in an ocean-rowing shell) over 20,000 miles with her husband (in an ocean kayak) through the Artic and Sub-Artic, traveling from Seattle past Juneau, the length of the Yukon to Nome, the length of the Mackenzie and the entire northern coast of Alaska, around Spitzenberg, the coast of Norway, the western coast of Greenland, the entire coast of Labrador. These Alaskan avalanche experts, researchers and rescue trainers spend their entire summers at sea, covering impressive distances.
Although there is plenty of adventure, Rowing to Latitude almost lacks the human-vs.-nature vibe due in large part to Jill Fredston’s writing style, which seamlessly transitions from heartfelt to frank to witty to poetic. Both descriptive and introspective, Jill details her journeys over rugged landscapes while relating the lessons that she learns on the way. “By the time I had reached the sea, I knew that I could do far worse than to live life like the Yukon: Keep moving but find places to slow down. Don’t go straight at the expense of meandering. Nurture others; accommodate both change and tradition. Savor the element of surprise. Be gracious, accepting, resilient.”
This book is fit for armchair travelers, rowers, kayakers, married couples, adventure seekers, and anyone who gains self-knowledge by experiencing nature.
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