Humans have a remarkable knack for surviving harsh environments. But how do people really endure the world’s most remote and inhospitable landscapes, where nature still reigns and where the physical geography is raw and unforgiving? In Extremes, renowned geographer and travel writer Nick Middleton puts his body and mind to the test in an attempt to find the answer.
His mission is to learn how to cope with four especially horrendous habitats. Through arctic wasteland, jungle, desert, and swamp, Nick pits himself against the elements and explains the geographical conditions that conspire to produce the world’s harshest ecologies. He also discovers the various human quirks that people have evolved to make life at the edge bearable.
In northern Greenland, Nick joins a group of Inuits hunting for narwhal, crucial to the group’s survival, on the edge of fragile sea ice, while in the jungle he ventures into Congo’s tropical forest, home of the Biaka pygmies. He joins the annual crossing of the Tenere desert by the women of the Tubu tribe to collect dates and then travels to Papua, one of the least explored places on earth, to find the Kombai people, a remote group of tree house dwellers above the Asmat region’s flood plain.
Extremes is Nick Middleton’s amazing account of four of the most unwelcoming environments on earth. Can he pick up enough tips from the indigenous people of these locations to hack it at the very edge of human existence, or will his mid-latitude sensibilities forever let him down?