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

  • 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....

  • 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,...

  • 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...

  • Leigh Anne Hancock

    Raised in Alaska, I loved the adventures of Caroline and Patrick. Her writing is easy, beautifully descriptive and makes me want to continue to explore the world. The ending made me tear up as they ap...

  • Amanda

    I loved this memoir. The first few chapters had me asking myself, “how crazy ARE these people??”. But as the journey continued, I found myself longing for the wilderness described. I loved the des...

  • Julia Wilson

    Listening to this tale of endurance did not make me want to hike across the Arctic inlands but it did give me a strong appreciation for the incredible variety of bird, and animal life that is found th...

  • Jenn

    I won a copy of this book.I have a friend and his wife who love to do things like this. I wouldn't even know how to go about beginning to take a trip this epic. The book is very well written and I jus...

  • Lia Keller

    Transporting and so well written. Inspiring and beautiful. Read this book!...