My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Sitner, told the class that there was no Northwest passage. At least that’s the way I remember it. I probably should have paid better attention. She was teaching us about Lewis and Clark but I missed the distinction. In my mind, I was convinced there was no waterway stretching from one side of North America to the other.
I’m embarrassed to admit how long it was before I realized that it was only a question of ice. Not even youthful fascination with the voyage of the U.S. submarine Nautilus made me realize that a passage existed, only it was covered in ice.
Fast forward to early 2013 and I happened on an article about Matt Rutherford’s successful transit of the Northwest passage on his solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas. The ice in the arctic was melting precipitously, allowing more and more boats to pass through each year.
The revelation was inspirational. With the support of wife, Kay, and commitment of my nephew Peter Fasoldt as fellow traveler, we began looking at ice charts and planning for our own 2014 attempt.