He’s as bad ass on the water as he is with words. Jon Turk, who was named one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Adventurers of the Year for his circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island with Erik Boomer, recently released Crocodiles and Ice, “a scientist/adventurer’s journey into a Consciousness Revolution based on a deep, reciprocal communication with the Earth.”
Crocodiles and Ice is a memoir, a classic narrative where the central character, Turk, takes a physical and emotional journey, struggling to find a sane and compassionate home in a world that initially doesn’t make sense. “And then it all makes sense,” he says. “Because there is a path, or many paths, that make sense. The journey could take place anywhere: in a prison cell, or a vegetable garden. In my case, it takes place on a world stage, in prisons, oceans, mountains, and icefields.
While the book highlights Turk’s award-winning polar expedition circumnavigating Ellesmere Island, as well as other, lesser known passages, “More critically,” he says, “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.”
Throughout the book Turk weaves in tales and stories from 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.
“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,” he says.
He also addresses the question of why explore?, which is perhaps best answered by a testimonial given by alpinist Conrad Anker. “These questions are at the root of human existence,” says Anker. “In an age when adventure is a sales tool, Jon Turk looks into the meaning of wild places. How have these sacred places transformed the individual and society? With first-hand experience ranging from the tropics to the arctic, he shares the importance of finding the wild in our daily lives. An important read as our society collides headlong into an over-subscribed world.”
Environmentalist and author (The Golden Spruce, The Tiger, and Jaguar’s Children) John Vaillant agrees: “I don’t know of any other committed explorer who approaches the world and its inhabitants like Jon Turk. His journeys and encounters embody a unique combination of physical audacity, deep humility, and extraordinary trust in what comes – the ingredients of wisdom, and of real adventure.”