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A rich and revelatory memoir of a young woman reclaiming her courage in the stark landscapes of the north. By the time Blair Braverman was eighteen, she had left her home in California, moved to arctic Norway to learn to drive sled dogs, and found work as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Determined to carve out a life as a “tough girl”—a young woman who confronts danger without apology—she slowly developed the strength and resilience the landscape demanded of her. By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube brilliantly recounts Braverman’s adventures in Norway and Alaska. Settling into her new surroundings, Braverman was often terrified that she would lose control of her dog team and crash her sled, or be attacked by a polar bear, or get lost on the tundra. Above all, she worried that, unlike the other, gutsier people alongside her, she wasn’t cut out for life on the frontier. But no matter how out of place she felt, one thing was clear: she was hooked on the North. On the brink of adulthood, Braverman was determined to prove that her fears did not define her—and so she resolved to embrace the wilderness and make it her own. Assured, honest, and lyrical, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube paints a powerful portrait of self-reliance in the face of extraordinary circumstance. Braverman endures physical exhaustion, survives being buried alive in an ice cave, and drives her dogs through a whiteout blizzard to escape crooked police. Through it all, she grapples with love and violence—navigating a grievous relationship with a fellow musher, and adapting to the expectations of her Norwegian neighbors—as she negotiates the complex demands of being a young woman in a man’s land. Weaving fast-paced adventure writing and ethnographic journalism with elegantly wrought reflections on identity, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube captures the triumphs and the perils of Braverman’s journey to self-discovery and independence in a landscape that is as beautiful as it is unforgiving.
A rich and revelatory memoir of a young woman confronting her fears and finding home in the North. Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: By the time she was nineteen, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube charts Blair’s endeavor to become a “tough girl”—someone who courts danger in an attempt to become fearless. As she ventures into a ruthless arctic landscape, Blair faces down physical exhaustion—being buried alive in an ice cave, and driving a dogsled across the tundra through a whiteout blizzard in order to avoid corrupt police—and grapples with both love and violence as she negotiates the complex demands of being a young woman in a man’s land. Brilliantly original and bracingly honest, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube captures the triumphs and the perils of the journey to self-discovery and independence in a landscape that is as beautiful as it is unforgiving.
Newly married and established in her career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, Maggie Downs quits her job, sells her belongings, and embarks on the solo trip of a lifetime: Her mother's. As a child, Maggie Downs often doubted that she would ever possess the courage to visit the destinations her mother dreamed of one day seeing. "You are braver than you think," her mother always insisted. That statement would guide her as, over the course of one year, Downs backpacked through seventeen countries-visiting all the places her mother, struck with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, could not visit herself-encountering some of the world's most striking locales while confronting the slow loss of her mother. Interweaving travelogue with family memories, Braver Than You Think takes the reader hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, white-water rafting on the Nile, volunteering at a monkey sanctuary in Bolivia, praying at an ashram in India, and fleeing the Arab Spring in Egypt. By embarking on an international journey, Downs learned to make every moment count-traveling around the globe and home again, losing a parent while discovering the world. Perfect for fans of adventure memoirs like Wild and Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, Braver Than You Think explores grief and loss with tenderness, clarity, and humor, and offers a truly incredible roadmap to coping with the unimaginable.
A memoir of heartbreak, thousand-mile races, the endless Alaskan wilderness and many, many dogs from one of only a handful of women to have completed both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod. In 2009, after a crippling divorce that left her heartbroken and directionless, Kristin decided to accept an offer to live at a friend's cabin outside of Denali National Park in Alaska for a few months. In exchange for housing, she would take care of her friend's eight sled dogs. That winter, she learned that she was tougher than she ever knew. She learned how to survive in one of the most remote places on earth and she learned she was strong enough to be alone. She fell in love twice: first with running sled dogs, and then with Andy, a gentle man who had himself moved to Alaska to heal a broken heart. Kristin and Andy married and started a sled dog kennel. While this work was enormously satisfying, Kristin became determined to complete the Iditarod -- the 1,000-mile dogsled race from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast. THIS MUCH COUNTRY is the story of renewal and transformation. It's about journeying across a wild and unpredictable landscape and finding inner peace, courage and a true home. It's about pushing boundaries and overcoming paralyzing fears. "THIS MUCH COUNTRY is the next best thing to stepping on the runners of your own dogsled. A gorgeous, intimate story of wildness and belonging."--Blair Braverman, author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube
For twelve years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it. In this graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of her and others’ extraordinary careers, Lankford unveils a world in which park rangers struggle to maintain their idealism in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a comrade killed while holding that thin green line between protecting the park from the people, the people from the park, and the people from each other. Ranger Confidential is the story behind the scenery of the nation’s crown jewels—Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smokies, Denali. In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE RBC TAYLOR PRIZE "Every day on a bike trip is like the one before--but it is also completely different, or perhaps you are different, woken up in new ways by the mile." As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved--that of a generalist explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and philosopher--had gone extinct. From her small-town home in Ontario, it seemed as if Marco Polo, Magellan and their like had long ago mapped the whole earth. So she vowed to become a scientist and go to Mars. To pass the time before she could launch into outer space, Kate set off by bicycle down a short section of the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel Yule, then settled down to study at Oxford and MIT. Eventually the truth dawned on her: an explorer, in any day and age, is by definition the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. And Harris had soared most fully out of bounds right here on Earth, travelling a bygone trading route on her bicycle. So she quit the laboratory and hit the Silk Road again with Mel, this time determined to bike it from the beginning to end. Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer before her, Kate Harris offers a travel narrative at once exuberant and meditative, wry and rapturous. Weaving adventure and deep reflection with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of a world that, like the self and like the stars, can never be fully mapped.
A collection of personal stories and reflections based on the memoirs of Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits. Honouring High Places is a compelling collection of highlights from Junko Tabei's stirring life that she considered important, inspiring and interesting to mountaineering culture. Until now, her works have been available only in Japanese, and RMB is honoured to be sharing these profound and moving stories with the English-speaking world for the first time. The collection opens on Mount Everest, where the first all-women's expedition is met with disaster but pushes on against all odds. The story then shifts to the early years of Tabei's life and reflects on her countryside childhood as a frail girl with no talent for sport, and cultural expectations that ignored her passion for mountains. With reminiscences of the early days of female climbers on Everest, the deaths of fellow mountaineers, Tabei's pursuit of Mount Tomur, a cancer diagnosis, and efforts to restore a love for nature in the surviving youth of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, this beautifully curated collection of essays captures the essence of a notable time and the strength of character of one of the 20th and 21st centuries' female mountaineering pioneers.
Sparked by the opportunity to explore his personal passions, David Kroese turns away from a rewarding yet languishing career and begins the adventure of a lifetime. What happens next evolves into a tour of all four hundred-plus units in America's National Park System -- a perfect way to celebrate the 2016 National Park Service centennial. The Centennial: A Journey Through America's National Park System details David's compelling centennial explorations to 387 parks in 360 days. The story continues through December 2017, when he becomes one of fewer than fifty people known to have visited all 417 national parks. His personal expedition is a poignant exploration into quintessential America as told through its historical and natural wonders. Delve into diverse locations from Hawaii to the Rockies, New England to the Caribbean, Charleston to the California desert, Alaska to American Samoa. Join David and experience the inherent marvels within America's unique landscape and fascinating history, revealed in engaging context, poetic descriptions, and heartfelt appreciation. The Centennial: A Journey Through America's National Park System is an odyssey of self discovery and fulfillment through the nation's soul.
Finalist for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario's 2016 Young Authors Award Shortlisted for the 2017 Louise de Kiriline Award for Nonfiction The age of exploration is not over. When Adam Shoalts ventured into the largest unexplored wilderness on the planet, he hoped to set foot where no one had ever gone before. What he discovered surprised even him. Shoalts was no stranger to the wilderness. He had hacked his way through jungles and swamp, had stared down polar bears and climbed mountains. But one spot on the map called out to him irresistibly: the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a trackless expanse of muskeg and lonely rivers, caribou and wolf—an Amazon of the north, parts of which to this day remain unexplored. Cutting through this forbidding landscape is a river no explorer, trapper, or canoeist had left any record of paddling. It was this river that Shoalts was obsessively determined to explore. It took him several attempts, and years of research. But finally, alone, he found the headwaters of the mysterious river. He believed he had discovered what he had set out to find. But the adventure had just begun. Unexpected dangers awaited him downstream. Gripping and often poetic, Alone Against the North is a classic adventure story of single-minded obsession, physical hardship, and the restless sense of wonder that every explorer has in common. But what does exploration mean in an age when satellite imagery of even the remotest corner of the planet is available to anyone with a phone? Is there anything left to explore? What Shoalts discovered as he paddled downriver was a series of unmapped waterfalls that could easily have killed him. Just as astonishing was the media reaction when he got back to civilization. He was crowned “Canada’s Indiana Jones” and appeared on morning television. He was feted by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and congratulated by the Governor General. People were enthralled by Shoalts’s proof that the world is bigger than we think. Shoalts’s story makes it clear that the world can become known only by getting out of our cars and armchairs, and setting out into the unknown, where every step is different from the one before, and something you may never have imagined lies around the next curve in the river.