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Jill Fredston has traveled more than twenty thousand miles of the Arctic and sub-Arctic-backwards. With her ocean-going rowing shell and her husband, Doug Fesler, in a small boat of his own, she has disappeared every summer for years, exploring the rugged shorelines of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Norway. Carrying what they need to be self-sufficient, the two of them have battled mountainous seas and hurricane-force winds, dragged their boats across jumbles of ice, fended off grizzlies and polar bears, been serenaded by humpback whales and scrutinized by puffins, and reveled in moments of calm.
As Fredston writes, these trips are "neither a vacation nor an escape, they are a way of life." Rowing to Latitude is a lyrical, vivid celebration of these northern journeys and the insights they inspired. It is a passionate testimonial to the extraordinary grace and fragility of wild places, the power of companionship, the harsh but liberating reality of risk, the lure of discovery, and the challenges and joys of living an unconventional life.
Jill Fredston and her husband, Doug Fesler, are avalanche experts and co-directors of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center. When they are not rowing, they live near Anchorage.
“As with most trips, Rowing to Latitude rewards you when you finally get to where you're going. Fredston makes you see wilderness as a more precious commodity than you thought, and inspires you to stretch your limits physically and mentally.” —Lynne McNeil, The San Diego Union-Tribune
“An honest and self-aware woman's record of her unusual life...a shrewd analytical look at human existence as a balance of danger and joy.” —Judith Niemi, The Women's Review of Books
“Beguiling.” —Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe
“The book is far more than an adventure travel narrative. It also is deeply personal memoir and love story.” —Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune
“[Fredston] sticks to telling good stories about battling, on primitive terms, the weather, the water, the land, the animals and some of the demons that haunt us all.” —Craig Medred, Anchorage Daily New
“[Fredston] provides armchair travelers with a vivid portrait of wilderness rowing...full of intriguing personal digressions and moments of high drama.” —John Freeman, The Wall Street Journal