278 pages, b/w illustrations
The chronicle of a family's first year alone in Alaskan wilderness, here is a poetic exploration into what we value in life. In 1992 Jean Aspen took her husband, Tom, and their young son to live in Alaska's interior mountains where they built a cabin from logs, hunted for food, and let the vast beauty of the Arctic close around them. Jean had faced Alaska's wilderness alone before in a life-altering experience she shared in Arctic Daughter: A Wilderness Journey.
Cut off from the rest of the world for more than a year, now her family would discover strength and beauty in their daily lives. They candidly filmed themselves and later produced a companion documentary, Arctic Son: Fulfilling the Dream, which shows on PBS stations across the nation. From an encounter with a grizzly bear at arm's length to a challenging six-hundred-mile river passage back to civilization, Arctic Son chronicles fourteen remarkable months alone in the Brooks Range. At once a portrait of courage, a lyrical odyssey, and authentic adventure, this is a family's extraordinary journey into America's last frontier.
"Jean Aspen helps us believe in the power of our dreams [...] her description of the fragile but magnificent beauty of the Arctic and the life she found there grabs your heart until you start wondering if maybe it's time to leave it all behind and follow your own dreams."
– Barbara Wieser, coauthor of Rivers Running Free: Stories of Adventurous Women
"A stirring adventure, well told. Jean Aspen and her family's journey offers hope that dreams, wilderness, and family still hold value."
– Robert Perkins, author of Into the Great Solitude
"A must read for any parent (and their children) who has ever contemplated the wonder of nature."
– Jonathan Waterman, author
"Vividly rendered [...] unflinching [...] I was grateful [...] for the directness and honesty of this author's voice."
– New York Times Book Review
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Daughter of arctic explorer Constance Helmericks, Jean Aspen began life in the wilderness. Throughout six decades, the natural world has remained central to her. Jean is the author of Arctic Daughter and Arctic Son. She and her husband, Tom Irons, live in Alaska and spend much of each year in Alaskan wilds.