Not that we’re counting or anything, but there are 63 days left until spring. Unless you’re a Florida winter bird or a snow sports junkie, winter tends to lose its charm after the holidays. But if you think copious layers and early sunsets are bad, these tales of extreme winter adventures will make you feel cozy in comparison.
James Campbell follows the trials and tribulations of his cousin Heimo Korth, who departed Wisconsin for middle-of-nowhere Alaska in the 1970s where the main character, his wife, and their two kids live 500 miles from their nearest neighbors. If you ever wanted to know how to live like a fur trader or go sledding in temperatures cold enough to instantly freeze water, this is your tale.
For Iceland, Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer traded his keyboard for a camera, shooting snowy scenes and leaving the writing duties to his friend David Roberts. Whether you desire difficult mountain treks or lazy hikes through fields of wildflowers, this beautiful country has something for you.
Gretel Ehrlich spent nearly a decade in the isolated country of Greenland, a place that is 95 percent ice. There, she found a lonely native population that alternately grapples with freezing stretches of pitch-black winter and four months when the sun never sets. The book weaves the stories Ehrlich finds with tales from Greenland’s past, painting a portrait of a detached land and its self-sufficient people.
Let’s face it: Chances of getting to the South Pole are slim. (Zero for us; perhaps a bit better for you.) Fortunately, we have historian Ross D.E. MacPhee, who chronicled the attempts of Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. The pair embarked on separate expeditions to reach the South Pole, racing against time, weather and, most importantly, each other.
Bill Bryson takes on the Land Down Under, a place that prepares for winter as the northern hemisphere dons bikinis and board shorts. (Although, word to the wise: Sydney’s “winters” are actually both beautiful and temperate.) The author of A Walk in the Woods squeezes in plenty of reasons to jump on a flight (friendly citizens; amazing wildlife), while offering many others (deadly snakes, spiders and jellyfish) for staying on the couch with his book.