The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

For fans of Cheryl Strayed, the gripping story of a biologist's human-powered journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic to rediscover her love of birds, nature, and adventure.

During graduate school, as she conducted experiments on the peculiarly misshapen beaks of chickadees, ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert began to feel stifled in the isolated, sterile environment of the lab. Worried that she was losing her passion for the scientific research she once loved, she was compelled to experience wildness again, to be guided by the sounds of birds and to follow the trails of animals.

In March of 2012 she and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe. Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace -- migrating birds silhouetted against the moon, the steamy breath of caribou, and the bond that comes from sharing such experiences.
A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, the book explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of creatures whose daily survival is nothing short of miraculous. It is a journey through the heart, the mind, and some of the wildest places left in North America.

In the end, The Sun Is a Compass is a love letter to nature, an inspiring story of endurance, and a beautifully written testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Title:The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds
ISBN:9780316414425

    The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds Reviews

  • Marita

    4.5 dazzling stars"No" I said "I'm not going to read you now. Simply a quick peek..." Haha, a quick peek and I was hooked. In fact I found this book unputdownable. In March 2012 Caroline van Hemert* a...

  • Diane S ?

    4.5 I love reading adventure stories, especially ones set in cold climates. This is a book that contained so many beautiful descriptions of nature and wildlife, that I could have read it indefinitely....

  • Chrissie

    The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds chronicles the author’s and her husband’s journey from March 17 to September 5, 2012. They hiked and skied, rowed, canoed and raft...

  • Nancy

    I love a good adventure story and if it involves ice I'm in. Caroline Van Hemert's memoir The Sun is a Compass is a beautiful and thoughtful exposition on her love of the Alaskan wilderness and the 4,...

  • Martha?

    I love an armchair adventure and this one is wild beyond imagination. Within the tight window of Spring/Summer 2012, Caroline and Pat travel from Bellingham, WA, up the coast of BC and into the wilds ...

  • Jeanette

    Others have said it better in review. It's a travelogue of a unique and daring experience. Sincerely, I wanted to like it more than I actually did. The language is at times exquisite and awesome in it...

  • Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: Lovely - full of beautiful nature writing, incredible adventures, fun facts, and moving personal stories.When Caroline Van Hemert finished her PhD, studying beak deformities in chickadees, s...

  • F.

    4.5 stars Trekking 4000 miles across Alaska. It’s a wonderful and thoughtful adventure. and it shows how much survival is luck rather than any cunning or skill.One of my favourite moments is the aut...

  • Jypsy

    The Sun is a Compass is an adventure story. It's a true story of an incredible journey that is dangerous across Alaska. I always like this type of story because the characters always learn something v...

  • Donna Hines

    Perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, birds of fancy admirers.I loved this story from the second I read it and couldn't put it down.I grew up with a variety of boats on a lake in rural are...