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 environme For fans of Cheryl Strayed, the gripping story of a biologist's human-powered journey from the Pacific Northwest to t...

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Title:The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds
Author:Caroline Van Hemert
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:0316414425
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages pages

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

  • Chrissie
    May 09, 2019
    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 rafted. Never did they use a motor vehicle. They traveled from Bellingham (outside Seattle...
  • Amanda
    Mar 14, 2019
    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 descriptions of wildlife and birds. I loved reading about Caroline and Pat?s relationsh...
  • Susy
    Aug 04, 2019
    This incredibly well written book is a trifecta of travel memoir, a biologist's view of the land and the personal choices of how to live a quality life with the values that are most important. I am drawn to Alaska and love visiting my family there. Through them I've met the author's ...
  • Caroline
    Mar 19, 2019
    I have loved wilderness adventure stories since I was a kid reading (and rereading) Caddie Woodlawn and My Side of the Mountain; The Sun Is a Compass is a fantastic addition to the genre. I would never dream of trekking 4,000 miles, as Van Hemert and her husband did, from the Pacific N...
  • Katelyn
    Nov 27, 2018
    Wow. I loved this nature memoir. Whenever I had a spare minute, I eagerly picked this book up. While finishing her graduate degree, Van Hemert was feeling disconnected from what had drawn her to science in the first place: observing and being in the natural world. She was spending h...
  • Julia Wilson
    Apr 02, 2019
    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 there. Author Van Hemert is an ornithologist and she appreciates every encounter with na...
  • Steve
    Jul 11, 2019
    This is a remarkable book about a remarkable journey, written by a remarkable person (and, quietly, featuring her equally remarkable spouse), with innumerable cameos of, you guessed it, remarkable people living remarkable lives in remarkable places.... But, in some ways, it's also a...
  • Diane S ☔
    Apr 04, 2019
    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. A biologist, working in a lab studying chickadees and the crooked beaks that have bee...
  • Martha☀
    May 02, 2019
    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 of the Yukon and Alaska. They use only human power to travel and no paved roads or eve...
  • Will Ansbacher
    Jul 02, 2019
    Zugunruhe or ?migration restlessness?, is that antsy pressure to get going; the author says she had it in a big way before deciding to plan for this epic voyage. I get a little jaded reading about extreme adventurers who head out, with massive amounts of sponsorship, book contr...
  • Susan Kendrick
    Jun 23, 2019
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author is a biologist who decides to embark on an epic journey with her husband. While traveling in the Arctic, she also wrestles with questions about her life work and how impending motherhood (she?s not pregnant, but is considering having childre...
  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    Apr 03, 2019
    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, she felt more uncertain than accomplished. Her years in the lab had left her feelin...
  • Brian
    Apr 10, 2019
    I enjoyed this book greatly. With "Wild", I knew some of the places hiked and I could appreciate the difficulties, but I could not relate to Cheryl. In this work, I understood better the personal struggles: with earning a PhD, decisions about children, and so I could relate much more w...
  • John
    Jun 09, 2019
    This is a great book. The author and her husband, four years married, undertake a crazy, off-the-wall journey, row boating, skiing, backpacking, packrafting, and canoeing over 4,000 miles in Alaska and Canada. They decided to start from Washington state in rowboats, rowing the first le...
  • Michael Huang
    May 16, 2019
    Making a journey that long by human power alone is a really interesting idea of the author's. You'll find out how it turns out -- spoiler alert -- they didn't die. But they did encounter some pretty aggressive bear, nasty weather, and boating/swimming accidents. For the author who ...
  • Jeanette
    May 24, 2019
    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 its "educated eyes" detail. It was appreciated and especially with the birds, just e...
  • Andrea
    May 25, 2019
    Really loved this book about getting burned out with Grad school and needing to take a break into the wilderness. Caroline told a wonderful story and loved all the birds mixed into it. The only thing missing would of been more maps and pictures. ...
  • Franziska
    Jun 01, 2019
    This book is the proof that there?s still real adventure out there: Caroline and her husband Patrick decide to cross Alaska by foot, canoe, packraft and on skis. They come across many, many wild animals, unforeseen challenges and rough weather. It?s a beautiful read for every armch...
  • Leigh Anne Hancock
    Apr 10, 2019
    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 approached Kotzebue and she sees her father. Well worth the read. ...
  • Nancy
    Mar 30, 2019
    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 4,000-mile journey she and her spouse shared over six months. The memoir transcends the ...
  • Enchanted Prose
    Mar 23, 2019
    Extreme adventure that reads like unimaginable fiction (Washington, Inside Passage and Arctic Alaska, Canadian Territories; six months 2012): If a picture is worth a thousand words, take a look at the video Caroline Van Hemert and her husband Pat Farrell shot during their six-month, mi...
  • LeeAnn
    May 20, 2019
    4.5 stars. When it comes to travel essays/memoirs, those where you feel the rhythm of ocean swells, feel the biting cold of a forded stream, feel the terror of a stalking bear, feel the wonder of caribou streaming past inches away, feel the grandeur, the beauty, and the underlying wild...
  • Lia Keller
    Apr 07, 2019
    Transporting and so well written. Inspiring and beautiful. Read this book! ...
  • Donna Hines
    May 19, 2019
    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 area of Bear Creek in the northeastern part of PA (near the Poconos) which was 30 min...
  • Jenn
    Jan 25, 2019
    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 just wanted to sit back and enjoy the ride (from the safety of my couch, of course; I...
  • Jypsy
    Feb 11, 2019
    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 valuable about themselves. It's a great story. I enjoyed it. Thanks to NetGalley for an...
  • F.
    Apr 17, 2019
    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 author?s realisation that to lighten each other?s load is a greater gift than a...
  • Katelynn
    Apr 26, 2019
    Van Hemert's writing flows with frequent vivid imagery and personal reflections. It got a tad repetitive at times, but human thoughts have a tendency to do that, and I finished the book with a real sense of her conflicts, her thought process, and her passions. Also, if you're not scien...
  • Tim Holcombe
    May 20, 2019
    This was a great read. In today?s frenetic world and constant immersive communication it is easy to lose sight of the natural world and our place within it. Juxtaposed with these daily, mostly urban realities, are the timeless and unrelenting natural processes afoot, such a caribou m...
  • TBV
    Jun 24, 2019
    4.5 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 2002 Caroline van Hemert* and her husband Pat set off on a 4,000 mile journey. However, this wasn't just any 4,000 ...