Caroline Van Hemert's Epic 4000-Mile Trek Into the Alaskan Wilds

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In March of 2012, Caroline Van Hemert and her husband, Pat, set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic. They travelled by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe — but never used a motorized vehicle.

For over six months they encountered many harrowing dangers — including a hungry bear, swarms of mosquitos, and days without food. But they also saw the beauty and wonder of the natural world in ways that would forever transform their lives.

This incredible journey is captured in Caroline’s stunning new book, The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey Into the Alaskan Wilds.

Caroline holds a Ph.D. in wildlife biology and an M.A. in creative writing and currently works as a research biologist for the USGS Alaska Science Center. She regularly publishes and speaks about her scientific research, which has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, Birding, and Scientific American.

She joined me from her home in balmy Anchorage, Alaska.

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Jonathan Small