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8,000 Miles Across Alaska

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About the author:
Jill Homer grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism in 2000. She began her career working in community weekly and daily newspapers. In 2005, she moved to Homer, Alaska, to pursue adventure in the Last Frontier. She never viewed herself as an athlete, but she was looking for a unique kind of challenge, and an esoteric sport called snow biking fit that description. A couple of years worth of (mainly mis)adventures landed her in the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational in 2008. The unforgettable experience was the genesis of her first book, Ghost Trails: Journeys Through A Lifetime.

Although she was often less than a half day in front of Tim and Loreen during her 2008 ride, she didn't officially meet Tim until she returned to Iditarod Trail in 2009. After stepping in overflow on Flathorn Lake, she developed serious frostbite on her right foot. She was holed up at the Yentna Station checkpoint, mulling whether the injury and potential consequences would prevent her from continuing in the race. Tim Hewitt approached her and said, "You know you can't go on." She still credits Tim with persuading her out of an extremely bad decision.

After moving to California and establishing a career as a freelance writer and journalist, Jill returned to Alaska in 2014 to attempt the 350-mile race to McGrath on foot with her partner, Beat. She enjoyed many memorable adventures while dragging a sled along the Iditarod Trail with Tim and Loreen, before bidding goodbye to the group in McGrath as they prepared to go on to Nome.

She currently lives in Los Altos, California.

8,000 Miles Across Alaska

A Runner's Journeys on the Iditarod Trail

Authored by Jill Lynn Homer
Authored with Tim Hewitt

In North America's Last Frontier, there are still untrammeled wildernesses where a man can stand alone in a region the size of entire states, where deep cold quiets every whisper of life and vast emptiness reigns. Alaska remains a mysterious place that, thanks to reality television, has captured the imagination of millions. Yet a minuscule fraction have acquired an understanding of the land afforded by exploring in their most vulnerable state - on foot, towing all of their supplies, wholly independent. This is the perspective of Tim Hewitt, an employment lawyer from Pennsylvania with a unique hobby - racing across Alaska on the Iditarod Trail.

What compels a man to run, walk, and trudge a thousand miles across Alaska? "Because it's there" isn't an adequate explanation. "As a challenge" or "for the adventure of it" are closer, but still too vague. The thousand-mile dog sled race on the Iditarod Trail is often called "The Last Great Race" - but there's another, more obscure race, where participants don't even have the help of dogs. The Iditarod Trail Invitational challenges cyclists, skiers, and runners to complete the distance under their own power and without much outside support. Tim Hewitt is the only person to have completed it more than three times. His actual number? An astonishing eight. Six of those, he won or tied.

But no one who sees Tim Hewitt on the street near his law firm in Pittsburgh would ever suspect that battling hurricane-force blizzards is something he does in his spare time. Fifty-nine years old with a slim build, a bright smile, and cropped gray hair, he isn't the stereotype of a grizzled Arctic explorer. He's a talented amateur runner, a father to four daughters, a husband to an equally adventurous wife, and achiever of a truly distinctive accomplishment. Far more people have reached the summit of Mount Everest than Nome under their own power, and it's incredibly unlikely that another person will ever try for eight.

"8,000 Miles Across Alaska: A Runner's Journeys on the Iditarod Trail" chronicles Tim Hewitt's adventures across Alaska - the harrowing weather conditions, breathtaking scenery, kindness of strangers, humorous misadventures, humbling setbacks and heroic victories. From fierce competition with his fellow racers, to traveling backward on the trail to ensure the safety of his wife, to battling for his own survival, Tim Hewitt has amassed a lifetime of experiences amid the harsh miles of the Iditarod Trail. This is his story.

Publication Date:
0692263365 / 9780692263365
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers

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