Adrienne Lindholm has always had a taste for wild places: open spaces, unmarked territory, "the feeling of something about to happen." After college, she moved to Alaska to try her luck as a backcountry park ranger. Nearly two decades later, her roots go deep into the Alaskan tundra, where she has built a career and a life on the edge of the wilderness. Lindholm chronicles her experience in a frank, luminous memoir, It Happened Like This.
As a greenhorn park ranger, Lindholm was unprepared for the rigors of backcountry life. She learned quickly from her fellow rangers and other new friends, many of them fellow transplants who had chased their own wanderlust to Alaska. Featuring many vivid characters (both human and animal), Lindholm's book traces her journey through a new career in an unpredictable, captivating environment. She also tells the story of meeting the man she grew to love, and her own wrestling with questions of marriage, motherhood, home under the vast northern sky. She delves into environmental issues: water and land use, the tension between preserving unspoiled wild places and providing for human enjoyment of them. The book's focus shifts midway through to Lindholm's deep ambivalence about motherhood, but she never loses sight of the awe and wonder that pulled her toward Alaska in the first place.