Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart

Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart

4.4 9
by Lynn Schooler
     
 

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Lynn Schooler had recently lost a dear friend and was feeling his marriage slipping away from him when he set out on a daring journey-first by boat, then on foot-into the Alaskan wilderness to clear his head. His solo expedition, recounted in Walking Home, is filled with the awe and danger of being on one's own in the wild, being battered by the elements and

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Overview

Lynn Schooler had recently lost a dear friend and was feeling his marriage slipping away from him when he set out on a daring journey-first by boat, then on foot-into the Alaskan wilderness to clear his head. His solo expedition, recounted in Walking Home, is filled with the awe and danger of being on one's own in the wild, being battered by the elements and even, for two harrowing days, becoming the terrified quarry of a grizzly bear.

But the formidable, lonely landscape is also rich with human stories-of trappers, explorers, marooned sailors, and hermits, as well as the myths of the region's Tlingit Indians. Relating his journey, Schooler creates a conversation between the human and the natural, the past and the present, to investigate-on a remote and uninhabited shore-what it means to be not only part of nature's wild web, but also a member of a human community in the flow of history.

Lynn Schooler is the critically acclaimed author of The Blue Bear and The Last Shot. He has lived in Alaska for almost forty years, working as a commercial fisherman, shipwright, wilderness guide, and award-winning wildlife photographer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Having lived in Alaska for 40 years, working as a commercial fisherman, shipwright, wilderness guide and wildlife photographer, Juneau resident Schooler (The Blue Bear) set out in 2007 on a solo trip through his adopted state, in part to get away from his failing marriage. Jettisoning the pontification and redundancy that can weigh down man-against-nature stories, Schooler's account boils over with adventure and exploration: there are rivers to cross, glaciers to maneuver, a trek through "boulder hell," eerie mountainscapes, and a panoply of spooky histories to recount. An escape of sorts, Schooler's journey proves a harrowing diversion, related with nail-biting immediacy: "the current heaving against my legs was getting stronger with every step... What at first might seem manageable becomes suddenly and startlingly on the verge of taking control, like the slow, easy coils of an anaconda becoming a muscular squeeze." A bear encounter is so frightening as to be exhausting, culminating in his decision to sleep outside with an escape route already carved out: "There was no way I was going to spend the night in the tent... wrapped in a sleeping bag like a burrito." Armchair adventurers will be captivated.
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Kirkus Reviews
An outdoorsman ventures alone into remote territory. Schooler (The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War, 2005, etc.) narrates his journey along the western side of Mount Fairweather in Alaska, a trek that completed, in combination with earlier adventures, his circumnavigation of the mountain. An accomplished wilderness guide, the author builds a dramatic mood and some suspense into his tale with steady pacing and vivid scene-setting. He uses history and natural history to describe the enormously challenging elements that he faced-ice-filled bays to be entered from seaward, rivers to be forded, formidable, rocky terrain to be crossed, bears to be carefully and respectfully avoided. His descriptions of the terrain are peopled with indigenous tribes and earlier explorers and settlers, and even a 500-year-old body found in the ice. The tale is further enriched by pointed observations about the natural world, such as how various species of birds made it their home and what they must do to survive such extreme conditions. These notes are interesting but also serve to dramatize the tests that Schooler faced along his way, including an encounter with a grizzly that stalks him part of the way. Without sentimentality or self-pity, he also writes about personal losses and struggles that occurred before his journey and how they motivated him to set off into the wilderness in lieu of working on other pressing projects, including a partially finished house he was building for himself and his increasingly distant wife. A rich account of a man's solo adventure into the wilderness, and what he learned about that place and himself.Author appearances in the Pacific Northwest
From the Publisher

“A rich account of a man's solo adventure into the wilderness, and what he learned about that place and himself.” —Kirkus

“Schooler reclaims the state's true wilderness aesthetic in his chronicle of a solo trip along the southeast coastal region. He infuses his personal story with astute observations about the area's history…Schooler shares his hiking experiences in a style reminiscent of Richard Nelson and Barry Lopez. It is in the artful blend of the intimate and the historical that Schooler's prose truly sings, and his resistance to hyperbole should appeal to fans of natural history. Schooler is the real deal and he proves it on every gorgeous page.” —Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596916739
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.01(d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Schooler is the critically acclaimed author of The Blue Bear and The Last Shot. He has lived in Alaska for almost forty years, working as a commercial fisherman, shipwright, wilderness guide, and award-winning wildlife photographer.

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Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Lisa_W More than 1 year ago
This book sat with me for weeks after I read it. I literally felt guilty when reading other novels because my mind was still planted deep within Lynn Schooler's latest book. His writing and his experiences touched me and took me back to a land that has always been close to my heart. His knowledge of Alaska, it's gifts and dangers along with the wildlife was incredible. His ability to tie his adventure in with the personal issues he was dealing with is unlike anything I've ever read. I rarely read books twice, but this one will be reread. I also recommend Blue Bear which he wrote prior to this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read first 70 pages and found myself feeling let down lynn is a great writer but I thought I purchased a book on his own personal adventuesNOT explorers from hundreds of years ago If I wanted a history lesson I would have purchased a book specific to that Stoped reading book at this juncture
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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43BankerJB More than 1 year ago
This book shows the struggles both physical and mental that the author went through in his journey. He took a great chance to do it alone at his age, in the wilds of Alaska. He risked being injured with no one to come to his aid. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an incredible mental and emotional journey you have taken your readers (including me) on. You have taken this journey physically while I for one have had the privilege of seeing it all through your writings. In the world of art, Thomas Kincaid has been called the “Painter of Light” and justly so. Now you have opened up a new inner perspective on my part to be ~~~ Lynn Schooler, “Master of Literary Visual Art.” Thank you so much for Sharing Vern Quimby
Buffalojim More than 1 year ago
You step into Lynn Schooler's boots when you read this book. You don't get told about it, you live it, see it like he sees it, feel it like he feels it. A first class wilderness experience with some natural history thrown in to feed your curiosity and remind you that the wild parts of our state and country are not for the timid. Read it once for the story; then read it again for the feeling all over again. Home is where Lynn's heart is and your's will be too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting book but the ending comes quickly. Enjoyed reading about the history of the area.