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A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski
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A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The adventures of a young, idealistic couple who choose to reduce their world down to just two small packs and the next 100 yards in front of them.
In June 2007, Erin McKittrick and her husband, Hig, embarked on a 4,000-mile expedition from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands, traveling solely by human power. This is the story of their unprecedented trek along the northwestern
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Paperback, 221 pages
Published October 19th 2009 by Mountaineers Books (first published 2009)
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Amity
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
First off, you need to realize that I am friends with Erin and Hig. So I am both biased and more familiar with this story than most readers. I kept up with their blog, Groundtruthtrekking.org regularly during this trip. So, yes, I am definitely biased. But I really appreciate Erin's straight forward writing approach. Her honesty. And how she portrays their thoughts and wonders along this road less travelled. It is a quick read. Fascinating. And I hope inspires others to look at the world around ...more
Mosco
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: viaggi
7/10
Il racconto parte un po' lento poi scorre via veloce. L'autrice, una tipa tostissima, non la fa troppo lunga, anzi a volte piacerebbe saperne un po' di più. E' bello seguire la loro marcia con google earth e cercando foto dei posti da loro descritti in rete. Quello che mi ha più colpita però non sono le descrizioni della meravigliosa natura che attraversano o delle tempeste di neve, vento, marosi, orsi che devono affrontare. Sono le considerazioni sulle evidenti tracce del cambiamento climat
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Amy
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting story about a woman who walked, paddled or skied with her husband from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The problem is that the journey is the most interesting part about the book. It is lacking in theme, development, reflection; it reads much like a scattered, condensed diary entry. Every once and a while we get a glimpse of Erin's feelings about what she sees and experiences. However she tends to shy away from the most reflective moments. It seems like she ...more
Happyreader
The packraft is the star of this journey. A little 5 lb inflatable vessel that seems to be indestructible, ferrying them across treacherous, ice-filled bays and wild river rapids, yet conveniently fitting into their packs or serving as a snow sled/box spring when they were on dry land. And the bears!! Apparently, all you have to do is talk a bear down and they’ll lumber off (but don’t set up camp on their walking paths).

This couple makes a great team. The year-long 4,172 mile trek by foot, packr
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Jen
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Right up there with some of the best adventure books I've read. This trek makes some of the more well-known thru-hikes seem tame in comparison. I was sucked in and enthralled immediately. I have an even greater urge to visit Alaska now that I've read this book (and it was already pretty big!).
Chiara Pignanelli
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great book for a challenging experience. I'm curious to read more about the environmental changes already taking place at that time.
I really can't wait to go to Alaska even more than I did before.
Krista
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, but it felt really rushed. I was hoping for a more detailed look at the trip- what a typical day looks like, what they packed, pictures of their custom gear, why they were using custom gear, etc. I liked reading about areas that are near where I live, but I have never been to.
Maria Benner
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has great potential, it documents an epic journey, but leaves out a lot of details.
Caitlin
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book for the second time. It's a great book.
Judy Detzel
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing journey, great read.
Lori
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book as I was browsing the Kindle store, and I thought it sounded interesting. After I downloaded it, I realized that I know people who know Erin (author) and her husband (Hig). They've traveled to and through Juneau several times, and it's actually surprising that I haven't met them yet. As I read through their journey, I was able to talk to my boss about his perspective on their year-long trip. He is one of the "hosts" Erin and Hig mention by name in the book. Having that personal ...more
Natasha
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to McKittrick while reading an article in NYT's Home and Garden section. It featured their yurt in Soldovia, Alaska. The Article was titled "Broadband, Yes. Toilet, No." It featured Erin McKittrick, her husband and their infant son. It was a fun article and mentioned the book Erin just wrote about their 4,000 mile trek from Seattle to Alaska. Their walk/paddle/ski trip took just over a year. It is an incredible adventure. I can't imagine walking for a year through the wint ...more
Owen Curtsinger
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is among many to represent a new kind of "outdoor adventure" writing. For Mckittrick, it's not about man versus the extreme conditions that nature heaps upon us. It's about a personal exploration and appreciation for lesser-known (and subsequently greater-risk) places that many important and extraordinary people call home. Her writing is observant and informative, and breathes new life into the gender-biased and overplayed "man vs wild" stories that saturate this genre. At some points ...more
Kathy
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot of books about people hiking, exploring and traveling in Alaska but never a book where a couple walked, skied and boated 4000 miles from Seattle to Unimak Island, the first island in the Aleutian chain. I completely admire their endurance and spirit - I don't think too many couples could do this. This book is very well written, not only covering their adventures and the stupendous scenery but explores what is happening in various ecosystems and communities along the way. Lastly, ...more
Deb
Apr 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Yikes! I seriously disliked this book. I disliked everything about it beginning with the tiny difficult to read font that was chosen to the way the author rambled on in such extreme detail of things that I thought I would die of boredom. After such details I longed desperately for a picture of the place or plant or whatever she was trying to describe but the book has no pictures of anything except the blurry undecipherable picture at the beginning of each chapter. Apparently neither she nor her ...more
Tina
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it


I love reading books about women who step out of societies box and push themselves to explore and discover. It's so encouraging. This book borders on a diary vs. what it seems like she thinks she should be saying. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it was more of the personal journey emotionally than knowing facts about the areas, but that's just my personal taste. I also had seen a Banff film fest version of this book, so I already knew what was going to happen - which made me a bit lax
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Annaliese
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't live in the woods but I have always loved to do so vicariously. I read most of this while camping in cold damp weather but reading the winter section gave me a whole new appreciation of what (two special) humans can huddle through and appreciate. A great book to read when your life is full of change because it serves as a potent reminder of how little we actually need (physically) to get by, and how renewing time spent in natural settings can be. I follow their blog at groundtruthtrekkin ...more
Yvonne Leutwyler
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Erin tells the story of a fantastic journey without the fluff usually encountered in similar adventure books. She is humble without being annoying, in awe but not exaggerating, critical without offense, persevering without bragging, and funny in subtle ways. Most of all, she and Hig are two tough cookies. I have utmost respect for their traveling the backcountry of Alaska by non-motorized means.
I wished there were more pictures in the book, but I discovered lots of photos and more on their blog
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Maria
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
20120921 My partner and I are huge fans of the documentary made about this year-long trekking adventure ("Journey on the Wild Coast" http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Mo...), so I was excited when I saw that there was a companion book. However, there is a lot less heart in the book than the film. What I loved about the documentary was the human story. This book focuses more on ecological issues and gorgeous, detailed descriptions of the landscape. It was well-written and compelling enough to fi ...more
Jeffrey
While the trip fascinated me, the journal was just OK. I am not sure why I didn't totally love it, but I really didn't. It didn't fall into the whole introspective journal, thankfully, but it wasn't the most interesting travel journal either. I didn't really ever laugh, maybe that was it. I like to laugh when I read travel journals. There were amusing parts, but nothing that made me laugh. It was very scientifically stated and described, probably because the author is a scientist.

I would still r
...more
Betsy
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book of bold adventure, which was really a tale of simply moving and living day to day through the land and over the water for thousands of miles. As the author said, they faced many difficulties, but never all at one time. And many days were just spent quietly traveling and surviving. My feet hurt and my back ached reading about their journey, but I also saw the beauty and wonder of the wild areas they traveled through. I wish the photos in the book were better quality, b ...more
Kim
The journey McKittrick and her husband take from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands, all without motors, is fascinating. While her narration style is pretty cut and dry, simply reporting what they did and saw without flourishes, I appreciated that she didn't stretch each hardship into pages of hard to follow details that many nature adventure writers do. I learned some about (the sad state of) Canadian forestry politics, and the Alaskan coastline. Not the most entertaining book I've read lately, bu ...more
Henry
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like the book but I feel it had trouble deciding what it should be. The framing is Erin and Hig's journey from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands. While it has many pretty descriptions throughout the book, the rarely devote any sizable entry to a specific location. One of the common themes throughout is how natural resource harvesting impacts the area, but likewise these are mentioned largely in passing. At times it was also hard to get a sense of the passage of time. Even with these drawbacks, I ...more
Lyndsey
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This book really warms up in the second half. At first the emphasis is so much on the journey and the pacific north west is the main character rather than the two humans telling the story, but the author reveals more and more insights and personal feelings as the book goes on and by the end i'd really really warmed to them and their story.

I just wish the book had allowed us to 'know' erin and hig a little more in the first few chapters.
Nick
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-reads
Great book about a couple that walks from their home in Seattle, WA over 4,000 miles to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The journey takes over a year, but the book does a great job fo moving quickly and only covering the important stuff. Would have loved to hear more of the emergency situations, embarassing moments, and some of the inside jokes that Erin and Hig shared over this time. But seriously, this book boosts my wanderlust into hyperdrive. Time to talk to the wife :) ~NR
Brooklyn Newcomb
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Overall an inspiring crazy tale of a husband and wife completing an near impossible feat that most would deem crazy. Got me excited for my own trail adventures (while also making me feel like a whimp). Subtle humor throughout which made the people likable. With that said the book got a lite preachy for me. Both are enviomentalists, and biased rants about how the environment is being destroyed took away from the adventure of what hey were doing.
K2 -----
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you've ever lives in the PNW and dreaded winter time weather or the 300+ days without sunshine, read this book and you will stop feeling sorry for yourself.

This young over educated couple walked from Seattle up the Alaska and lived to tell the tale. Although at points I wanted to know more I enjoyed the book. You may have read the NYT article about their lives entitled something like Wi-Fi but no Toilet.
Kris
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
"We launched, paddling softly into the mystery."

"Out here, everything was open, and the weather was the fabric of the world."

"Not all of our days could be extraordinary. But our lives still could be."

I followed Erin's blog when she and Hig first walked from Seattle to the Aleutians. I have no idea what took me so long to read her book, but I loved it.
Rachel
Jan 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Boy, from Alaska, meets Girl, from Seattle, at a liberal arts college in Minnesota (of course!). They go on many AK adventures, including the ultimate....taking a year to hike get from Seattle to the Alaskan Peninsula. Filled with wonderful descriptions of the wilderness that I like to call home :-)
Dianna Hintze
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
This book is fascinating, well written, and very descriptive however I was constantly asking myself why they wanted to do this. That probably says more about me than them but I guess I like my adventure in a book and can't really relate to the desire to walk 4,000 miles or climb mountains etc. That said, read the book, it is good.
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Erin McKittrick grew up in Seattle, exploring the nearby Cascade Mountains with her family. She met her husband Hig at Carleton College, where she graduated with a BA in Biology in 2001. That summer, they took off on their first major Alaskan adventure together, and haven't looked back since then. Erin has a master's degree in Molecular Biology. In addition to writing, she works as a photographer, ...more
“Not all of our days could be extraordinary. But our lives still could be.” 4 likes
“Out here, everything was open, and the weather was the fabric of the world.” 3 likes
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