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Alone Across the Arctic: One Woman's Epic Journey by Dog Team Hardcover – October 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Coauthored with Dixon, a children's book author (Blueberry Shoe), this exciting memoir recounts Flowers's 2,500-mile journey across the North American Arctic, undertaken at the age of 46. Retracing in reverse a 1924 expedition led by Norwegian explorer Knud Rasmussen, Flowers and her eight sled dogs mushed from Barrow, Alaska, to Repulse Bay in Northwest Canada, becoming the first woman and the first American to do so. Fulfilling a lifelong dream and driven by an adventurous spirit forged in childhood, she left her job as a respiratory therapist and began seriously training for the expedition in 1992; the trip began in February 1993. The sled dogs, for whom the author has "tremendous respect," ranged in age from one to nine years and spring to life through descriptions of their strengths and distinct personalities. Dependent on one another for survival, Flowers details the care she took to make sure the dogs received enough food, water, rest and love for each day's travel. She recounts how her lead dog, Douggie, was able to sense the right direction even when she could not. She and her dogs battled cold, wind, storms and exhaustion on the tundra. Their isolation was broken by brief visits with settlers in the small Alaskan and Canadian communities where they rested and Flowers picked up supplies. At one point, due to unsafe summertime sea ice, she briefly considered giving up. Instead, the team rested for several months in an Inuit village and successfully completed the expedition in January 1994. Color photos.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-With a young dogsled team, no sponsors, and no spare lead dog, Flowers set out to fulfill a lifelong dream to retrace, in reverse, a 1923-24 expedition by Norwegian explorer Knud Rasmussen and two Inuit companions, who traveled the length of the North American coast by dog team. If Flowers succeeded, she would be the first female and first American to mush that route solo. Using a balanced content of narrative, journal entries, boxed information bits, and numerous photographs, Flowers, with Dixon, details the exhilarating and often harrowing journey. Journal excerpts capture much of the emotion: "My eyelashes freeze together and I can't open my eyes. I have to crawl back to the tent on my knees-and frantically claw the snow away from my eyes." Readers will be fascinated by the descriptions of her dog team, introduced individually with photographs and comments. About Roald, for example, she writes: "Though intelligent, Roald lacked confidence, which sometimes caused him to clown around rather than try his hardest." A list of equipment and supplies is included. The message of this exciting book is important. At journey's end, as she stood alone with her dogs, she summarized her emotions. "The dogs, I believe, felt it too. We'd done well, and in doing so, had won what I consider the greatest reward of all: self-respect. We carry it with us wherever we go." This is an engaging survival story with broad appeal.
Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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I was happily reading Ken Follet's most recent novel when this book arrived in our home. Because the story is about dogs, the human spirit and an amazing adventure, I started reading what it had to say. It was soon after that I decided that Mr. Follet's book could wait.
Several houurs after that, I am writng this review and suggesting, urging, imploring, anyone who has an appreciation of what is involved with staking it all in answering your life's dream to give yourselves a wonderful present and read this book.
You will learn a lot about what it takes to own and run a team of sled dogs, about what is involved in planning such an expedition and all of the pitfalls to be avoided...but more importantly, you will have your eyes opened to a corner of the human spirit that too many of us shy away from as being..too dangerous..too odd..too off the wall..which will make you assess what it is that is important in your life. We already know what is important with the author's life from reading the book. However, she did not write this book to encourage more sled dogging. The book is a beautiful metaphor about life and one's dreams and one's soul. This author found the key. So should we all. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of this most wonderful adventure.
Since writing the review that appears above, I have learned that the book was the recipient of a First Place award at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in the catagory TRAVEL ESSAY. It is well deserved and the book has goine into a second printing.
There are pictures throughout the book of the dogs and the beautiful and harsh landscapes of Arctic Alaska and Canada.
Ms Flowers has always been a loner. When she was a child her best friend was her dog. She moved to Houston but was unhappy, too hot, too big city. She was fascinated by the north and its working dogs so she moved to Alaska. She took the trip opposite from the way of earlier Arctic explorers. She mushed from Barrow, Alaska to Repulse Bay, Canada, a distance of 2,500 miles. She is so tiny, she used a lot of energy keeping herself and her dog team on track. She worked hard and so did the dogs to get across the Arctic wastelands. The map is excellent showing the journey from one point to the next and at times telling what happened along the way.
The trip took longer than planned due to so many obsticles. The expedition began on Valentines' Day, 1993. Pam and the dogs ran into blizzards. Some days were good, others she and the dogs ran into fierce winds. She cached provisions sent on ahead many to schools. To make up for the Inuits hospitality Ms. Flowers would give a presentation about the comings and goings of this trip. Along the way Pam slept in a tent, the dogs slept in the snow with barriers to protect them against the wind and cold. Then the group met with a polar bear with a cub. All were terrified but the bear seemed to know what this group was about and left them alone. For a short time Pam kept seeing bears where there were just rocks. The group was spooked for a time. Then lead dog Douggie, one of the most responsible dogs, ran off. He was found after twelve days and a lot of looking and worrying. The group came across Molly. Molly is a dog who loves to follow travellers across the Arctic. She accompanied the crew for awhile. Someone who knew Molly had her sent home.
Then came snowmelt which stopped Ms. Flowers adventures. This ice had melted, the crew couldn't coninue on. Pam didn't want to give up. She was close to the end. She and the dogs spent several months in Gjoa Haven. The Inuits were hospitable and made sure the dogs got plenty of fish. They were exhausted from the long trip and needed a break and a rest. When the ice on the Arctic Ocean froze, Flowers and crew sledded away and finished the trip on January 9, 1994 after more advantures and setbacks. And what a trip it was. It all took much bravery, daring, planning and confidence to know it would work. The dogs were great and seemed to like each others company plus that of Ms. Flowers.
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I am from Burton Valley Elementry and in third grade.You did an amazing show!I loved it!I have one of your books .I have 'Big Enough ,Anna.Read more