Rowing to Latitude
Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge
North Point Press, October 2001
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.
“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