'Uphill most of the way down'
"From the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico in a canoe; through the middle of Canada and the United States, and walk less than ten miles. More miles will be traveled 'up south' than 'down-south.' A 5,200-mile expedition for some red-blooded American boy. Anemic need not apply!"
When an 18-year-old Barry Lane read this advertisement in a local newspaper during the summer of 1969, he decided to respond.
Less than a year after answering that ad, Lane found himself on a plane bound for the Arctic Circle -- and the adventure of a lifetime.
Now, nearly four decades and a doctoral degree later, the Detroit Lakes resident has chronicled that six-month adventure in a new book, co-authored with his daughter, Jodi Raisl.
The book, It's Uphill Most of the Way Down: A Journey of Adventure and Faith, was released this past Tuesday, April 7 by Oklahoma-based Tate Publishing. It is available at bookstores nationwide, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Lane, who currently serves as vice president of learning services for all four campuses of Minnesota State Community & Technical College (M-State), has made his home in Detroit Lakes for the past three years.
He decided to try chronicling his Arctic adventure when his daughter, Jodi Raisl, said, "Dad, you really ought to capture this story on paper, as a family legacy."
Raisl, a homemaker and aspiring writer who holds a degree in youth ministry from Crown College, said she would love for her son Izac to be able to read his grandfather's story someday. So they decided to work on the project together.
"I write the story, she reads it and tells me if it's good enough," said Lane, adding that Raisl acted as both his editor and business agent for this project. They have already begun work on a second book, chronicling another expedition that Lane took about three years after his Arctic adventure, in 1973.
"I think this (writing) will become my retirement vocation," said Lane. "I'm enjoying it."
He will most likely continue to collaborate with his daughter on future projects as well.
"We still love each other, so that's a pretty good sign," he said, adding with a laugh, "Writing a book with your daughter is a little like building a house with your spouse... (but) it was actually an enjoyable experience.
"It's a little hard to take criticism (especially from a family member), but it ended up being a pretty good book," he added.
Lane said his 1970 Arctic adventure included traveling over 5,200 miles by canoe, through some of the most dangerous and desolate areas of North America.
It involved doing research for the 300th anniversary of the Hudson Bay Fur Company, as well as the centennial anniversaries of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in Canada.
Highlights of his adventure included spending extensive amounts of time researching the indigenous Eskimo and Cree peoples, in effect immersing himself in their culture. He also enjoyed having the opportunity to see some of North America's most beautiful wilderness areas when they were "more remote and pristine than they are now."
One of his most harrowing adventures, Lane recalled, was being trapped in a boat on Hudson Bay during a storm that included waves crashing more than eight feet above the sides of the vessel.
"The temperature of the water was below freezing -- we didn't even carry lifejackets," he said. "I survived -- but barely."
Lane said that some of his friends who have read some of the adventures in his book said they needed to keep reminding themselves that they knew him in the present day -- i.e., that he survived.
Now that his first literary project is behind him, Lane said he is already working on a "sequel" of sorts -- detailing a 1973 research trek from Mexico to Minnesota, in anticipation of the 1976 United States Bicentennial.
"We really didn't experience the same dangers, but I developed a real appreciation and perspective for what pioneers went through when they traveled across this country," he said of that adventure.
Today, Lane added, his "new adventure" has been becoming a grandfather for the first time. Having his daughter Jodi and her husband Matt living so close (they recently moved to Dilworth) has been a wonderful experience, he said.
But it's his son, Ryan, who has inherited what Lane calls his "adventuresome spirit."
"He's 25 years old, and has been to 49 foreign countries," Lane said.