Actually, Thayer's trek was to the magnetic north pole-- the spot where the earth's magnetic field reaches the top of its arc. All magnets point to this location, except when you're standing on top if it. I would guess that a free-wheeling compass needle would point down, thus earning it the name the "dip pole." Unlike the geographic north pole, the magnetic pole is a slowly drifting target. Nevertheless its location in 1988, on an isolated island in northern Canada, became the destination for a fit, 50-year-old woman looking for a mental and physical challenge.
She was determined to face the elements and the polar bears alone but agreed to take one dog, Charlie, with her after discussing the matter with a local bear hunter. Charlie is a big part of the story.
We hear a lot about persistance these days. Sometimes it's called "grit." But what does that mean to a child? Certainly a child in temperate latitudes can imagine snow and ice as challenges. Add to that a terrain devoid of landmarks, the threat of polar bears, cracking sea ice and solitude. The addition of a single dog transfomed the experience.
Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure is an exposition of grit by two gifted women: Sally Isaacs, author and Iva Sasheva, artist.