When It’s Cold Outside, Read True-Life Adventure

Sea Legs by Kathleen CraneDon’t Let the Weather or Physical Limitations Keep You From the Experience

I love to read and this especially cold winter has made it easier to stay inside and curl up with a good book.

My favorite genre is true-life adventure — where someone is breaking the mold and following their inner voice to lead the life that satisfies their soul.  I feel like I am there doing it with them.

So, if you are a lover of adventure but are unable to physically explore the outdoors (due to weather or physical limitations), whether it be the Arctic Ocean or Sharps Chapel, don’t despair.  There are plenty of great adventure books out there to feed your soul.  And it is always a treat when I find a book where the adventurer is a woman.

Such is the case with the book “Sea Legs”, Tales of a Woman Oceanographer, by Kathleen Crane.  I picked it up for a quarter at a library sale.  This is the autobiography of Kathleen Crane, one of the first women oceanographers out of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.  She tells how her quest for freedom led her to the sea and her research of deep-sea underwater volcanoes (hard to believe today, but people did not know they existed until she discovered the evidence), and ultimately to dives using deep-sea mini-subs in searches for the Titanic and some of the first scientific expeditions of the Arctic.  She even was in the running to be one of the first female astronauts, along with Sally Ride, who eventually won out.

Global Warming – A Little Less Mysterious Now

In fact, it is because of the explanation of her work in the Arctic that I actually felt that I understood a little more about how this global warming thing actually works. In her words:

“The dynamics of the Arctic Ocean are known to affect the entire climate of the earth.  Large quantities of freshwater flow into the Arctic through rivers and runoff from neighboring continents.  The balance of fresh (light) and salt (heavy) water controls the rates and magnitude of sinking surface water down into the deeper parts of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea.  This sinking, deepwater process is enhanced when winter approaches, ice forms on the sea surface, and heavy brine layer collects below.  The heavy brine sinks rapidly.  To replace the deepwater formation, shallow tropical water is drawn up to the Arctic from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean forming the Gulf Stream.  This vast warm ocean current bathes Europe and keeps its climate temperate.  Should anything happen to the freshwater-saltwater balance, deepwater could stop forming, forcing a shutdown in the Gulf Stream.  Europe could be plunged into a mini-ice age.    Ironically, as the climate changes through global warming, more freshwater may pour off of the melting sea ice and out of rivers in Canada and Russia, feeding the Northwest passage and the North Atlantic Ocean with masses of buoyant surface water.  Buoyant water will not sink.  As the earth warms, Europe could cool rapidly.”

Thank goodness for people with insatiable curiosity, like Kathleen Crane, whose discoveries help shed a little light and start to tie together some of the world’s infinite unknowns.  I always feel so fortunate when I stumble upon something that lights up a new thought path.

Here are some true-life adventure books that I’ve loved:

  • Beyond the Deep – The Deadly Descent into the World’s Most Treacherous Cave, by William Stone and Barbara Am Ende
  • Never Turn Back – The Life of Whitewater Pioneer Walt Blackadar, by Ron Watters
  • At Home in the Woods – How 2 young people forsook civilization to live the life of Thoreau in the Canadian Wilderness, by Vena & Bradford Angier
  • A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella L. Bird
  • The Dirty Life – On Farming, Food, and Love, by Kristin Kimball
  • The Buffalo Head, by R.M. Patterson
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place – 28-year old gets trapped in a narrow canyon and amputates his arm after 6 days, by Aron Ralston
  • The Long Walk – The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, by Slavomir Rawicz
  • Alive – Sixteen Men, Seventy-two Days, and Insurmountable Odds — the Classic Adventure of Survival in the Andes, by Piers Paul Read
  • Staying Alive! – 117 days adrift – the incredible sage of a courageous couple who outwitted death at sea for a longer period than any humans ever have, by Maurice and Maralyn Bailey
  • Below Another Sky – A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father, by Rick Ridgeway
  • Confederates in the Attic – Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil Way, by Tony Horwitz
  • Nothing Daunted – The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West, by Dorothy Wickenden
  • River House – a Memoir, by Sarahlee Lawrence

Life is an Adventure!