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A lyrical memoir that interweaves wilderness, homeland, cultural connections, historical figures, humor, and gritty experiences across northern Alaska, Arctic Traverse: A Thousand-Mile Summer of Trekking the Brooks Range takes readers along on a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
From the award-winning author of Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon comes an intimate exploration of Alaska’s northernmost mountain range with observations on Indigenous cultures, conservation, and intense cross-country travel, all shaped by respect for the land. Follow author Michael Engelhard through tussock-studded tundra for a remarkable tale of bear encounters and white-knuckled river moments, as well as poetic reflections on a vast, untamed landscape. A trained anthropologist, Engelhard evokes classic writers like Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, and Ellen Meloy with profound dives into human and natural history and vivid meditations on Alaskan wildlife, flora, and geology. When he embarked on this thru-hike, fewer people had completed it solo in a single push than had dived to the floor of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of Earth’s oceans.
Much more than a captivating account of a human-powered solo thru-hike and float, Arctic Traverse illuminates the spirit of Alaska, drawing on encounters with Indigenous elders, guided clients, scientists, and others as well as on Engelhard’s long-held dream and his experiences of the land itself.

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