New York City
Trail Name: School
Elected to the Explorers Club in 1993
The day after graduating from college in 1966, James Robert “J.R.” Harris loaded up his secondhand VW Beetle and headed 4,400 miles toward Circle, Alaska, at the time the northernmost point to which you could drive in the Western Hemisphere. The 22-year-old had roughly $150 he had saved, a “care package” prepared by his mother and what he recalled as a “sudden, urgent need to get away for a while, to do something different, something adventurous.” It was the beginning of more than a half-century of expeditions to the farthest reaches of the planet that have earned him admiration as one of the planet’s foremost African American explorers.