Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alaska, Arctic, and Far North Books to Read

Today, we will explore some of the must-read books about these regions. I have read many relevant books prior to, during, and after my many trips there, and recommend each of the books below.

1. The Lonely planet Alaska Guide provides a comprehensive guide for those considering a vacation in that state. The best value of this book is that you can find there all the information you need whether you're planing a family vacation, a cruise, or a back-country hiking trip. Read this book and it will help you decide on the type of trip you want to make, the destinations, and the preparation. The author, Jim DuFresne, is a known and experienced Alaska travel writer.

2. A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic by E.C. Pielou is a must if you plan an outdoors trip to the Arctic or sub-Arctic in the US (Alaska), Canada (Nunavut Territory), or Europe (Svalbard and Greenland.) Reading it at home, you'll want to pack up and go on your trip already; during your trip, it is an excellent source about the climate, the terrain, plant, bird, and wildlife. You don't have to be a naturalist to gain from this book - reading it will make you appreciate even more this wild, remote region.

3. Paddle to the Arctic will make you realize one thing: if your friends or colleagues think you're crazy by going to the Arctic, then they haven't read this book! In 1990, Don Starkell started a 3,000-mile one-man journey through the Arctic, by kayak paddled on freezing seas. He was lucky enough to survive (I won't tell you how.) I got this book from friends prior to a kayaking trip to Elesmere Island, at a time when I knew little about kayaking in the Arctic. I was wise not to read it until after I came back. Then, it made me feel like a normal, ordinary person who had just completed a fun kayaking trip in the Arctic ocean!

4. In Poles Apart: Parallel Visions of the Arctic and Antarctica you can see photos taken by Galen Rowell. Rowell is a winner of an Ansel Adams Award for wilderness photography with many books to his name. In this volume, he offers parallel visual portraits of the North and South Poles.
Now, it Should be noted that some people who have seen photos I have taken in these places have told me that I should get a book out, too. Perhaps one day! In the meanwhile, come back to my blog where I will occasionally give a sneak-peek of some of my photos.

5. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez is a wonderful book written with great sensitivity. I wish I could write as well! Mr. Lopez has traveled numerous times to the Canadian arctic, and describes in plain yet flowing language the great natural forces that shaped life in that environment for thousands of years, fostering almost magical relationships between man, animal and nature. In one of my future blogs I will give you my two cents about the hints you find for these relationships when you travel the Arctic.

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