Adventurer and sea kayaker Jon Turk has a new book coming out in September. Amazon is now taking preorders. The book, called Crocodiles and Ice: A Journey in the Deep Wild, ties together several of Jon’s expeditions under the theme of a “journey into a Consciousness Revolution based on a deep, reciprocal communication with the Earth.” The book covers Jon’s circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island, which is the trip that won him National Geographics Adventurer of the Year, and several other trips as well.
Here’s the description:
Crocodiles and Ice is a scientist/adventurer’s journey into a Consciousness Revolution based on a deep, reciprocal communication with the Earth. The book highlights my award winning polar expedition circumnavigating Ellesmere Island, as well as other, lesser known passages. But, more critically, I tell the story of my lifelong journey from suburban Connecticut into a passion for Deep Wild, an ancient passage, repeated — in one form or another — countless times, and ignored just as often.
I invite my readers to listen to our Stone-Age ancestors, the poets of the ’60s, a wolf that lingers, a Siberian shaman, a Chinese bicycle nomad, a lonely Tlingit warrior laying down to die in a storm, and the landscapes themselves. Because beyond the wondrous and seductive opulence of our oil-soaked, internet-crazed, consumer-oriented society, there lies a glorious and sustainable lifestyle that is based on Deep Wild as a foundation of solace, sanity, compassion, and hope.
Jon’s stories are gripping and often blend together science, history, mythology and adventure. My favorite book of his is In the Wake of the Jomon: Stone Age Mariners and a Voyage Across the Pacific. It recounts his kayaking trip from Japan to Alaska. His book The Raven’s Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness is also a fascinating read. It contains one of the most memorable scenes from any adventure book that I’ve read. In the scene, a pin in his hip has broken and he meets a medicine woman who forces him to strip and stand on one leg in the Raven’s pose. While Jon balances, the woman kneels and blows on him. He eventually is healed and continues on his trip. The medicine woman also gave him a drum which he managed to smuggle out of the country.
After The Raven’s Gift came out, I took a class from Jon at the North House Folk School. At the start of the class, before introductions Jon walked from person to person, snipped a piece of our hair and burned it in a bowl. We knew we were in for a wild class after that. During the class, we stood on the shore of Lake Superior on a cold November day — the wave pools frozen — and created an altar. During its creation, Jon asked us to go into the woods and find something that represented a topic of his choice. After we found the item, we brought it back, told the group about what it represented and then circled the altar and placed the item on the altar. At the end of the altar creation, there was a pile of items found in the woods. During the middle of the class, Jon told us to find something to represent our pain. I was recovering from a kayaking injury, so I found a broken stick. When I explained my injury and why the stick represented it, Jon’s eyes lit up and he taught the group the Raven’s pose. We all stood on one leg and held the Raven’s pose on the winter-wind-whipped shore of Lake Superior. Jon had the group return to the pose several times.
After the altar was created, Jon had us outline and animal effigy with rope in a boat ramp parking lot. The parking lot is a popular place for locals to come and watch the waves on the lake, so taking up the parking lot was going to guarantee that some people wouldn’t want to use it. After we created the shape of a moose, Jon pulled out the drum that the medicine woman had given him and started drumming. We danced around the shape of the moose in a line with Jon in the lead and the drum beating a steady beat. During our dance, a pickup truck on a lift kit pulled up. They looked at us and then stepped on the gas, whipped a u-turn while throwing gravel into the air.
The class was one of the most memorable classes that I’ve taken, and if he comes back to Grand Marais I hope to take one of his classes again. I’d love to do a journal writing or writing class with him. I’m so looking forward to his new book. You won’t be disappointed if you read one of his books.
Jon Turk Reading List
- Crocodiles and Ice: A Journey in the Deep Wild
- In the Wake of the Jomon: Stone Age Mariners and a Voyage Across the Pacific
- The Raven’s Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness
- Cold Oceans: Adventures in Kayak, Rowboat, and Dogsled