Before we describe
ALONE ACROSS THE ARCTCIC, a word about Pam Flowers'' most creative book -
SOJO, Memoirs of a Reluctant Sled Dog. The title is tongue-in-cheek because Sojo was anything but reluctant
and not afraid to stand up for herself. This book chronicles the life Sojo who was one of Pam''s sled dogs while on the arctic journey and is told from the dog''s perspective in a fun and funny narrative.
NOW - more about the book -
ALONE ACROSS THE ARCTIC!
Eight sled dogs and one woman set out from Barrow, Alaska, to mush 2,500 miles alone across the arctic. For nearly an entire year during this epic journey Pam and her dogs endured and dealt with intense blizzards, melting sea ice, and a polar bear. Yet in the midst of such danger, Pam also relished the time alone with her beloved dogs. Their survival---her survival---hinged on their mutual trust, respect, and love. Pam Flowers was the first woman and first American to cross the arctic alone.
A freelance writer for several outdoor magazines and a participant in Alaska''s famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Flowers here chronicles her 2500-mile, solo dogsled journey from Point Barrow, AK, to Repulse Bay in the Northwest Territory of Canada. Her journey began in the dark of winter 1993 as she sledded east following a route first taken by the fifth Thule Expedition in 1922. Even though Alaskan sled dogs are wild, bred to pull, and usually kept chained up when not hitched to a sled, Flowers developed a close relationship with each of her eight dogs (each of whose personalities she describes here). But despite all her affection, she almost had to abandon the trip when her lead dog, Douggie, ran away for 12 days. Along the way, she steadfastly endured the persistent Arctic storms and the ever-present fear of animal predators and encountered many of the people and places described in Jonathan Waterman''s ARCTIC CROSSING. Beautiful color photographs greatly enhance this delightful and well-written story of perseverance. Recommended for public libraries.―SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An inspring story, well told. --Booklist
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.―Publishers Weekly
“Pam spurned conventional rewards, entrusted her dream to eight powerful huskies, and set out alone to cross the Arctic. . . . a most extraordinary journey.” ―Sir Ranulph Fiennes, renowned adventurer “A fine armchair read . . . packed with ongoing action.”―The Bookwatch “Forget mystery novels! I couldn’t put this book down.”―Patricia McConnell, PhD, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
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.―School Library Journal
Pam Flowers on The Moth radio show: themoth.org/posts/stories/alone-across-the-arctic
Why I wrote this book.
When I was a young girl I dreamed of having my own dog team and traveling across the arctic. Of course life got in the way for a few years but finally at age 46 there I was standing alone on the outskirts of Barrow, Alaska with my 8-dog team, ready to travel 2,500 miles across the arctic to the east side of Canada. I had spent the previous decade learning to run and care for a dog team, completed the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and did several long journeys in the arctic.
Virtually no one shared my confidence that we could do this. Unable to raise any funds, I borrowed all the money I could and hoped it would be enough. People began telling me, "What are you, five feet nothing, maybe 100 pounds? You''re going to fail." "Your dogs are nothing but a bunch of clunkers." "No one thinks you can do this." It wasn''t easy. We got behind schedule right away because of a series of powerful blizzards. We had a terrifying encounter with a mother polar bear and cub. We were stranded for days on melting, shattered, drifting sea ice.
My dogs and I succeeded. I wanted to prove that my dogs and I were good enough and together we did that. But what I really got from this journey was a profound respect for my dogs and for myself. I wanted to tell my story, so I wrote this book.
As for those who doubted.....who cares what they think?
Pam Shares her adventures with dogs in six noteworthy and award-winning books published by Alaska Northwest Books, all are available on Amazon. As a visiting author, she has spoken to more than 800,000 students at over 1450 schools across America, lectured at The Smithsonian, received the Gold Medal from the Society of Woman Geographers, and was named an "Outsider of the Year" by Outside Magazine. She has participated in nine arctic expeditions, successfully completed the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, completed a winter thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and appeared three times on THE MOTH international radio show.