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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2007, 9:40 pm 
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Location: Kitchener Ontario
The canoeing season is winding down ( for some of us), and a few of you may be looking for reading material for the winter.

This is a list that I originally compiled for Richard's "WildRec.com" project.... Thought I may as well post it here so that people can use it if they wish. Enjoy ! :D

Book List

1) "The Incomplete Anglers"

A Canadian classic. The story of a trip to Algonquin Park by two would be trout fishermen in the early 1940's. Winner of the Governor General's award for humour in 1944. Illustration by Frank Carmichael of the Group of 7. Written in an ironic style of humour that is rarely heard today, "The Incomplete Anglers" is a true delight to read, and will be especially entertaining to those familiar with Algonquin Park. Worth the effort to find an original edition, with Carmichael's illustration on the dust jacket ( Check E-bay)

About the Author : John D. Robins

Ex-school teacher and indifferent marksmanship instructor in WWI. Hailed from Ontario. Funny guy, with a PHD in something or other.

2) "Deliverance"


Four friends set out on a four day trip on a wild river in the American South-East. So much better than the film, the novel unfolds as the four begin their descent of the soon-to-be-dammed river in search of....deliverance. A classic piece of canoeing fiction.

About the Author
James Dickey won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1966.In that same year he was appointed Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. Begun in 1962, but only published in 1970, Deliverance was his first novel.

3)"Travels in Canoe Country"

Canoeing for the mind. Author Paul Gruchow takes us on a journey to the BWCA.... a journey of discovery more internal than external. Divided into the Latin prayers of the day ( Lauds, Matins, Prime....Vespers, Compline) Gruchow weaves an infinitely readable argument for wild places as the well of inspiration for all mankind. A must read for those who approach their canoeing with reverence.(Warning: Not for gear-heads or speed demons)

About the Author
Paul Gruchow lives in Minnesota and is the author of several books of essays and nature writing, including "Journal of a Praire Year" and " The Neccessity of Empty Places"


Highly Recommended....check e-bay

4) "Wintergreen: Reflections from Loon Lake"


Monte Hummel writes about the seasons of the year from the vantage of his cabin on Loon Lake. In the tradition of " A Sand County Almanac", this wonderful book encourages each Canadian to be stewards of the land. A great read in a tent or by the fireplace. Highly recommended.

About the Author
Monte Hummel is the president of the World Wildlife Fund ( Canada)and one of Canada's foremost naturalists.

Sigurd Olson was an outspoken proponent of "no- fly zones and no- motors" in what became the BWCA in Northern Minnesota. He was a teacher, writer and activist who for most of his adult life exposed North Americans to his vision of wilderness through articles and 9 books.

The Books of Sigurd Olson:

5) "Open Horizons"

Sigurd Olson's(slightly fictionalized) autobiography. Based on the theme that " Life is a series of open horizons", the 11 chapters trace the evolution of Olson's wilderness theology and the events that made him the guru of the late 60's back-to-the-earth movement.

6) "The Singing Wilderness"

Sigurd Olson's first, and some say best , book of essays set in his favourite " Quetico-Superior " wilderness of Minnesota/Ontario. Arranged by seasons, the essays allow you to see nature through Olson's eyes as he spins tales of canoes, ducks, campfires and trout. A classic.


7) "Listening Point"


Sigurd Olson's second book of essays. This one is based on the thoughts that are generated by the purchase of a piece of land near Ely, Minn.; a place for writing and reflection he calls "Listening Point". Another must read for Olson fans, and those who use wilderness as a parchment to write their own dreams.

8) "Reflections from the North Country"


Sigurd Olson's most personal, thoughtful book. The ultimate statement of what he came to call his "Wilderness Theology". The 28 essays collected here reveal a man who spent his life pondering the "big questions".... and who realized that some of them may never be answered.

9) "Runes of the North"


A rune is a tale of magic and mystery...... and to Sigurd Olson, the "North" is full of them. Divided into two sections: Le Beau Pays ( the Beautiful Country) and the Pays d'en Haut ( The North Country), the book weaves woodland lore and the haunting appeal of the wilderness in 20 essays from Olson's master pen.

10) "The Lonely Land"

Canoeing in the days before Gore-Tex, Kevlar or MSR. Olson and his group ( the Voyageurs) tackle the Churchill/Sturgeon-Weir route in Saskatchewan in the early 1960's. Along the way, Olson pays homage to the Voyageurs of old, and to the men such as David Thompson and Alexander Henry of the North-West Company who pioneered these routes for the fur trade. Some jarring notes.... disposing of cans in the middle of Northern lakes, for example. Olson and his gang, however,(all middle aged!) tackle the challenge in wood/canvas and cotton, and do remarkably well.


11) "The Hidden Forest"


Working with photographer Les Blacklock, Olson produced an introduction for the common man to what was, at the time, a new concept - ecology.... the "hidden" forest.


12) "Sigurd F Olson's Wilderness Days"


A new essay introduces each of the four sections of this book ( Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) which include material drawn from Olson's previous writing. A good introduction to Olson's wilderness views.

13) "Of Time and Place"

Olson's final book, released posthumously. A collection of "experiences brought together in a lifetime of search for meaning"

See Also:

14) "A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F Olson"


The definitive biography of Olson, who battled to create the BWCA, and became a guru of the North American environmental movement.

About the Author
The only author to be provided with extensive access to Olson's personal papers by his wife, David Backes is also the author of "Canoe Country: An Embattled Wilderness" and " The Wilderness Companion"


15) Cache Lake Country: Life in the North Woods

"There is a Cache Lake for everyone, but it won't be beside a four lane highway, nor will there be a clear trail leading to it". So says John Rowlands in the introduction to the 1959 " Wilderness Edition" of "Cache Lake Country". Arranged by season, the book contains a wealth of "back woods" know how on everything from cabin building to building bird houses and a portable buck saw. A great read for those January nights when the canoe days of summer seem a long, long way away.

About the Author
John Rowlands spent 6 years prospecting the gold and silver country south of Hudson Bay and was a surveyor and miner in Cobalt. "Cache Lake Country" was written about the Shining Tree area of Northern Ontario, and published in 1947.

16) "North American Canoe Country"

Obviously dated because of its 1964 publication, but a fascinating look at the old way of outfitting a canoe trip. Rustrum's book examined every aspect of canoeing and canoe trip planning.

About the Author
Calvin Rustrum was born in Hobart, Indiana. Forced by circumstance to leave school at the end of the seventh grade, he educated himself by reading 25 to 50 books a year. He spend six months a year in the wilderness, and the remainder of the year at his home in Minnesota writing.

The books of Grey Owl
Born Archie Belaney in Hastings, England in 1888. Died Lake Ajawaan, Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, 1938. Noted author and canoeist, he was among the first to focus attention on the plight of Canada's national animal, the beaver, and it's rapidly declining population due to centuries of trapping.

17) Pilgrims of the Wild
Grey Owl's (fictional) biography. The story of how he took two orphaned beaver kitts and raised them with the help of his wife, Anahareo.Only after his death in 1938 was the true story of his early life revealed. Still a very worthwhile read, for details of his early life in Canada and his motivation for giving up trapping and turning to writing as a source of income.

18 ) Tales of an Empty Cabin

Grey Owl's finest book. Especially interesting to canoeists for it's descriptions of early life and canoeing on the Mississauga River in Ontario.

19) Men of the last Frontier

Grey Owl's first book,( Working Title: The Vanishing Frontier), it uses stories of hunting, canoeing, and trapping in the early part of the 20th century to paint a picture of a vanishing way of life. First published in England in 1931, more recent editions are available in paperback from Macmillan in Canada.

20)The Adventures of Sajo and the Beaver People

A highly recommended childrens book.....

There are also many books ABOUT Archie Belaney. The best may well be:


21) Wilderness Man: The Strange story of Grey Owl

The definitive biography of Grey Owl ( Archie Belaney), the Englishman who came to Canada as a youth, posed as a Native for the rest of his life, and saved the Beaver from possible extinction.
About the Author:

Lovat Dickson was a Canadian who's greatest claim to fame may well be as Grey Owl's publisher and Biographer. He wrote two books on Grey Owl, " Half Breed" in the early 1940's and "Wilderness Man" in 1973. It is this last book which will be remembered as the definitive story of Grey Owl's life.

Another very strong entry is:

22) From the Land of Shadows: The Making of Grey Owl by Donald Smith

Donald Smith is a professor of History at the University of Calgary, and a heck of a nice guy!






23) Paddle to the Amazon

The ultimate endurance trip . Don Starkell and his son Dana travel over 12 000 miles by canoe from Winnipeg to the Amazon over a 2 year period. The story of their journey is compelling and will, perhaps, lead you to ask; " What the hell were they thinking?" Uplifting.

About the Author
Best known as the author of "Paddle to the Amazon", Starkell has also written about his adventures in the Canadian Arctic. He hails from Winnipeg.

See also Paddle to the Arctic about a trip through the NorthWest Passage by kayak, and a companion piece about the same trip( Written by Victoria Jason) called "Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak". The latter paints a less than flattering picture of Starkell, who (I believe) , lost all his fingers and toes to frostbite on the trip.

24) "Canoeing With the Cree"

The story of Eric Sevareid and Walter Port's 2,250 mile canoe trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in 1930. After traveling for 14 weeks, the duo arrived at Hudson Bay just before winter freeze-up.

About the Author
Arnold Eric Sevareid left on a 2,250 mile canoe trip in 1930 with Walter C. Port. The newspaper articles they wrote as they traveled formed the basis for "Canoeing with the Cree." These stories in turn helped Sevareid get a job as a copy boy with the Minneapolis Journal, beginning a distinguished career in journalism.

25) "Freshwater Saga"

Subtitled the "Memoirs of a Lifetime of Wilderness Canoeing in Canada." Eric Morse [1904-1986] was one of the first people to engage in, and publicize wilderness paddling. During his lifetime he paddled from Hudson Bay to the Yukon and from Winnipeg to the Arctic Ociatn. This book is his memoirs describing those trips with his paddling group ... "The Voyageurs"

About the Author
Eric W. Morse. [1904-1986] was national director of the Association of Canadian Clubs from 1949 to his retirement in 1971. During his lifetime he paddled through much of Canada's wilderness, with a particular fondness for the Arctic. He described many of the historic routes in his book "Fur Trade Routes of Canada: Then and Now"

26) "Into the Great Solitude"

In 1834 British Navy Captain George Back explored one of North Americal's most remote rivers - a fierce trail of cascading whitewater and blue windswept lakes - thorugh a vast Canadian tundrea to the Arctic Circle. More than fourteen decades later Robert Perkins retraced Back's journey in a canoe trip that would challenge his courage and skill, as well as his understanding of the world and his place in it. Travelin alone in the "ever deepening" quiet, with only falcons, wolves and a grizzly bear for company, Perkins found himself pulled into a remarkable test of body and soul, and into an agonizing quest to find his meaning as explorer and as man.

About the Author

Robert Perkins has also written other canoeing books, including what to me is a superior one called "Against Straight Lines" about his experiences solo tripping in the Torngat region of Labrador

27) "Where Rivers Run"

Where Rivers Run is the record of a remarkable odyssey across Canada by water. To fulfill their dream of traveling from sea to sea in a canoe, wilderness adventurers Joanie and Gary McGuffin, recently married, set out from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two years, 6,000 miles and 10 million paddle strokes later, they reached the open waters of the Beaufort Sea. Along the way they faced hardships as they challenged many fo this country's most dangerous rivers. But in the process of realizing their dream, the McGuffins discovered a Canada that few ever see.

About the Authors
Gary and Joanie McGuffin have hiked the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, scaled mountains in the Ecuadorian Andes, sea-kayaked Greenland’s fjords, and cycled along Canada’s most rugged northern trails. Their other books include Superior: Journeys on an Inland Sea, which won the 1996 Great Lakes Booksellers Award; Paddle Your Own Canoe; and the best-selling Where Rivers Run. Gary and Joanie live on the shores of Lake Superior in Goulais River, Ontario.

28) "The Canoe and White Water"


Far more than a primer on white water canoe techniques, " The Canoe and White Water" sets the sport in the context of history, technology, geology and physics. An essential introduction to an important part of Canadian Heritage. Very readable !

About the Author
C E S Franks was a member of the Dept. of Political Studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario as of the date of writing(1977)

29) "Goodbye to a River"


John Graves returned to the Brazos River in Texas one October in the late 1950's to say goodbye....... goodbye to a river that he had known since his youth. A river about to be dammed. His story of the river, her people and their history, is told throughout as he drifts and paddles through a land rich in the story of the authentic American west. A modern American Classic "Didn't you get lonesome?", he was asked. "Not exactly. I had a dog"


About the Author
John Graves was born and raised in Texas. Over the years he contributed articles to The Atlantic, Esquire and other magazines. He taught English, and wrote" The Water Hustlers" for the Sierra Club in 1971

30) Birchbark Canoe: Life among the Algonquin

Discover the dying art of birchbark canoe building as seen through the eyes of someone who is passionate about it. In this book David Gidmark tells the story fo the building of a traditional birchbark canoe and his apprenticeship learning the skills and the language of the Algonquin of Western Quebec.

Through learning how to do (how to strip the bark from the tree, fashion gunwales from the cedar logs, carve the ribs with a crooked knife and sew the huge sheets of bark on the frame with spruce root) David Gidmark learns how to see the wilderness and relate to it in Algonquin ways that are very different from ours. As his knowledge increases, so does his respect for the culture and wisdom of native peoples.

About the Author
For ten years, David Gidmark has lived deep in the woods of Quebec. He teaches canoe building in Wisconsin, New York, Tahiti and Quebec.

31) Walden

Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854) is a book of many distinctions: within American literature it stands as a defining text, and is perhaps the greatest expression of the spirit of New England Transcendentalism, one of the nations most fruitful and characteristic intellectual strains; as nature writing, it is one of the world's most revered and imitated masterpieces, and continues to inform debate concerning environmentalism and conservation issues,; and as an expression of moral idealism, it advocates a standard of existence that has inspired readers of widely varying circumstances (including Tolstoy and Gandhi) to improve their lives.

About the Author
Naturalist, essayist and early environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) was one for whom nature was a religion. In communing with the natural world, he wished to "live deliberately, to front only the essentials facts of life, and ... learn what it had to teach." Toward that end Thoreau build a cabin on the shores of Walden Pond in the spring of 1845 - on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson - outside Concored, Massachusets. There he observed nature, farmed, built fences, surveyed and made entries in his journal.

32) The New Way of the Wilderness

Calvin Rustrum's famous "how-to" book written (as the book puts it) to "enable anyone in this modern age to prepare a wilderness journey or a camping trip without confusion in the choice of equipment or method of procedure." Obviously somewhat dated, but still a classic.

About the Author
Calvin Rustrum was born in Hobart, Indiana. Forced by circumstance to leave school at the end of the seventh grade, he educated himself by reading 25 to 50 books a year. He spend six months a year in the wilderness, and the remainder of the year at his home in Minnesota writing.

33) "French River: Canoeing the River of the Stick Wavers"


French River: Canoeing the River of the Stick Wavers is the first book to document the exhilarating days of exploration, adventure and trade on the French River system and to feature historic canoe routes and recommended canoe trips for the modern canoeist. In this engaging and comprehensive look at one of Canada's most historically important rivers, Toni Harting combines in-depth research with his wealth of canoeing and guiding experience, and his own photography and maps with the intriguing sketches and maps of the early explorers, to create a dramatic new addition to North American canoe literature.

About the Author
Toni Harting is a freelance writer and photographer who specializes in canoe-related topics. He has contributed articles and photographs to a variety of publications and since 1985 has been the editor of Nastawgan, the quarterly journal of the Wilderness Canoe Association. He is widely recognized as the leading authority on the French River and is thought to be the world's most published canoeing photographer.

34) Desert Solitaire

I would be remiss not to mention the GREAT Edward Abbey...

Abbey writes about his experiences (which sometimes include water!)in the great deserts of the American Southwest. His classic "Desert Solitaire" was written in 1968, and manages to say more about man's place in the 20th century wilderness than most writers could say in 20 books. A curmudgeonly character (and perhaps something of a misogynist?) Abbey who (to my knowledge) has never canoed says more about the meaning of canoeing than any canoeist I've ever read> A must read!!!!!!!

About the author

Edward Abbey spent his adult years in the American southwest, and wrote many books, including the fictional "Monkey Wrench Gang" (about eco-terrorists)and several other books of non-fiction essays. They are all worth the read! His biography ( by James Bishop Jr) is called "Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist - The life and legacy of Edward Abbey".

35) The books of Sam Cook.....

Camp Sites, Quiet Magic Up North, and Friendship Fires are four books of essays by Minnesota newspaper columnist Sam Cook. A disciple of the great Sig Olson, Cook is able to weave magic tales about canoes, hunting, canvas tents, fishing, and woodsmoke into something as comfortable as an old sweater. An easy read for those winter nights when you want to be ....up north!

About the Author

Sam Cook lived for a time in Ely, Minnesota, with his wife Phyllis. He wrote ( still writes?) for the Duluth News Tribune.

36) Chips from a Wilderness Log

The legendary Calvin Rustrum writes in his autobiography about the 60 years he spent in the "North Woods". It transports you into " the vast North American forests that still remain and lets you hear the whispers of the rapids and the call of the loon. Highly recommended!!!

About the Author

Rustrum was the consummate outdoorsman. He also wrote The Wilderness Cabin, Paradise below Zero ( about winter camping), North American Canoe country and Once Upon a Wilderness.

37) Across the Sub-Arctics of Canada

J.W. Tyrrell's epic tale of a canoe trip across the Barrens to Hudson's Bay in the late 1890's. Great Photos, bugs, poor food, Inuit and Natives, and Peterborough canoes. What more can you ask for ?????

39) Sleeping Island

Sub-titled "The story of one man's travels in the Great Barren Lands of the Canadian North", this 1943 offering is again a taste of "the old ways"....wood-canvas, mosquitoes, woodsmoke and wool. Essential reading! Covers much of the same geographic territory as Farley Mowat's recent "No Man's River"

About the Author

P.G. Downes was an American graduate of Harvard, whose 1939 trip to a Canadian North that was even then in its last years of isolation was the inspiration for "Sleeping Island".


40) The Leonidas Hubbard Trilogy.........

The Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillan Wallace

Author Wallace takes us inside the ill-fated excursion into the unmapped Labrador interior in 1903 which ended in the death by starvation of one of Wallace's companions on the trip, Leonidas Hubbard.Upon his return to civilization, Wallace penned "The Lure of the Labrador Wild" in tribute to his friend. Hubbards wife took offence to the portrayal of her husband in the book, and set off a year later to complete her husbands "mission'. Wallace set off the same summer to complete the 1st expeditions route, and the tale of this competition between the two is told in Davidson and Rugge's classic " Great Heart - the History of a Labrador Adventure".

Further insite into the events of the early 1900's can be gained from Wallace’s less popular sequel to the original " Lure...", called
"The Long Labrador Trail"


All are classics of their kind. Highly recommended!!!

41) The Survival of the Bark Canoe

John McPhee's classic story of Henri Vaillancourt who, in the 1970's, became obsessed with making birchbark canoes.... despite rarely paddling them. Clearly a flawed hero, Vaillancourt has all of the idiosyncrasies of a man devoted to a skill whose time has long past. Eminently readable !

About the Author

John McPhee has written several classic books, including The Control of Nature ( required reading in a post Katrina world) and Encounters with the Arch Druid, about America's environmental Movement. McPhee writes for the New Yorker Magazine

42) Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age


This is a book that has helped shape my personal outlook on canoeing ethics in our modern age. The story of a trip on the Horton River in the footsteps of Franklin and others....but with a Satellite phone... The temptation to use it leads to interesting struggles between the two members of the expedition. A must read in our increasingly wired world!


About the Author

Ted Kerasote writes outdoor essays for the likes of Audubon, Outside, and National Geographic.

43) From a Wooden Canoe : Reflections on Canoeing, Camping and Classic Equipment
Author Jerry Dennic (who, ironically, does not own a wooden canoe!)writes of the things that make the outdoor experience special to him: the things worth keeping, from pocket knives to cast iron skillets. A celebration of the good things and simple pleasures to be treasured in the outdoors. This book, along with "Out there" (reviewed above)and the books of Sig Olson, Grey Owl and Bill Mason and Edward Abbey, have helped form the basis of my own personal canoeing creed.

About the Author

Jerry Dennis writes for Smithsonian, Sports Afield and the New York Times. He lives in Michigan.

44) Of Wolves and Men

The best Wildlife book I have ever read. The story of our relationship with the wild animal we should perhaps respect the most, but whom we continue to persecute even today (check e-bay for wolf pelts...you won't have trouble finding them).Lopez has written a masterpiece about the true symbol (along with the Grizzly) of the North American Wilderness.

About the Author

Barry Lopez is also the author of the highly recommended Arctic Dreams, and is a winner of the National Book Award


45) The Wolf's Head: Writing Lake Superior

No lake perhaps more symbolizes the Canadian near- North than the greatest lake - Superior. (Okay, more than 1/2 of it is in the USA....but that doesn't count! ). It is a lake of mystery, romantic vision, and tragedy, thick with the history of Canada's development towards nationhood, and of the Native People who loved and revered the vast inland ocean. Author Peter Unwin traces Superior from its earliest appearances in our collective conscience down to the modern day, and in so doing opens a window into a past many of us are unaware existed.

About the Author

Peter Unwin was originally from England and has traveled extensively in Canada's north. He is a regular contributor to "The Beaver"

46) " The Voyageur" and " The Voyageur Highway"

The Canadian history magazine " The Beaver" called " The Voyageur" by Dr Grace Nute of Hamlin University " The definitive work...on the French Canadians who manned the great canoes of the fur trade." It, along with the companion " The Voyageur Highway", dispel every myth about these illiterate, hard working, heavy drinking "knights" of the early Canadian fur trade "highway"

Very much the long distance truck drivers of their day, the voyageurs still live large in the Canadian psyche, the equivalent perhaps of the 'gunslingers" of the American west. The fact that they played a commercial rather than violent role in Canadian history speaks perhaps to one of the roots of what it means to be Canadian.

Although published in 1931 and 1941 respectively, new editions are available.

47) "The Company of Adventurers" and "Caesars of the Wilderness"

In my mind, every Canadian should be required to read the works of Pierre Berton, Grey Owl, Bill Mason, Sigurd Olson, and.....these two fantastic volumes on the history of the Hudson's Bay Company (and its rival, the North West Company). The real history of Canada north of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Lowlands lies in these easy to read "popular" histories of the HBC by Canadian author and journalist Peter C Newman. The characters contained within, both Native and European, (Samuel Hearne, David Thompson, Alexander Mackenzie, George Simpson et al) are brought to life, warts and all. To understand Canada, you need to understand " The Company" and why HBC was often said to stand for "Here Before Christ"

Essential!!!

48) Bill Mason looms over the Canadian canoeing landscape like a favourite Uncle.... we've all heard of him, seen his films, and in some way owe him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering " Path of the Paddle" and "Song of the Paddle" books and films. His other films include "Waterwalker", "Paddle to the Sea", and the lesser known but outstanding "Death of a Legend", about wolves and their treatment at the hands of man.

You just can't go wrong buying a Bill Mason book, or ordering his films from the National Film Board of Canada website (they are now on DVD)

James Raffan (himself a legend in canoeing circles and now curator of the Canadian Canoe Museum)has written Bill Mason's biography, entitled "Fire in the Bones- Bill Mason and the Canadian Canoeing Tradition". A must read for any Bill Mason fan.

49) "Winterdance"

Gary Paulson is an author of popular novels for young adults ( Hatchet is a favourite with the GR 5 - 6 crowd).

He also races in the Iditarod...

Winterdance is the story of his first Iditarod run.

"There are only a handful of indispensable dog books...Winterdance belongs among those classics....It is beautiful and funny and it is about men and dogs...and their souls" (Washington Post)

Where else can you read about someone projectile vomiting from skunk spray, then cry a few pages later as you see the essential life force in all living things brought to the fore with grace, dignity and pathos?

Read this book !

50) "The Man who Walked Through Time" and " The Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher"

The man who walked through time is the story of Colin Fletcher, the first man to hike through the length of the Grand Canyon. Having previously walked the length of California ( described in his book " The Thousand Mile Summer")Fletcher was physically ready for the task, but perhaps unprepared for the inner changes that the trip brought about. An inspiring story for the backpacker in all of us.

The Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher is a series of short stories about the joy of hiking throughout the wilderness areas of N America. Full of reflection on the nature of wilderness and its place in the modern world, the book is enjoyable even to those ( like myself) who never backpack.

Both books are highly recommended !!!

51) "The Lost Grizzlies" by Rick Bass

I was beginning to think that I would never find another wilderness/canoeing book as compelling as the classics by Sig Olson or Edward Abbey.

I was wrong.

The Lost Grizzlies: A search for survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado is a compelling , heart wrenching, and at times downright creepy tale of the search for any remnant of the indigenous Grizzly population of the San Juan mountains in Colorado. A spiritual quest, a camping tale, and the challenge to replace the shredded ball-bearings in the wheel of a VW Rabbit all rolled into one.

I couldn't put it down.

52) "Blue Rooms" and "Stone Work" by John Jerome

One is a book about water: lakes....rivers...the "Blue Rooms". The other is a book about the art and Philosophy of building walls in stone. Both are beautifully written, and worth cherishing. By the end of each, your appreciation of water....and stone...will be just that little bit deeper. While it is easy to see what "Blue Rooms" has to do with canoeing (although an American, he does have a chapter on the French River), what about "Stone Work"?

Read it and you'll see!

53) The Starship and the Canoe by Kenneth Brower

The story of a father and a son with two distinct approaches to life....the son builds kayaks, the father builds spacecraft. They search for the meaning of life, each in their own way....one in the stars, one in the sea.” Neither a wilderness survival manual or a book of Blueprints. It is one of those rare books that are impossible to define: The kind that seeks YOU in time"

Written in 1978....leaves you wanting an update !!!!

_________________
Dave

"The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten." Sigurd Olson, 1956


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 6:28 am 
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Thanks, Dave.
A great reference
Bob

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morning sun, it's good for the soul


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 6:55 am 
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maddogbob wrote:
Thanks, Dave.
A great reference


Watersong,

Awesome reference!!!! Thanks for sharing! :clap: :P

Lilydipper


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 7:14 am 
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Watersong has an ongoing book list which you can view at...

Watersong's Book List

Speaking of which, Watersong, anything new to add there?


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 Post subject: Favorite Canoeing Books
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 7:50 am 
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I would add "Blackflies and Whitewater" by Tony Sloan. Mostly about canoeing in Pontiac County Quebec


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 7:54 am 
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And,

"The Canoe... A Living Tradition", John Jennings.... Firefly Books.

Sundown


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 7:58 am 
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I could add The Cabin by Hap Wilson, Paddle to the Arctic by Don Starkell and Deep Water by james Raffan to that excellent list.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 8:33 am 
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Nice list...I cold add several more, but one of my favorites is "The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America" by Edwin Tappan Adney and Howard Chapelle. If you don't know of this book, I would say it is a must read.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 9:27 am 
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Actually, I have almost all of the books you suggest above....Paddle to the Arctic is mention with Paddle to the Amazon. The Tappan Adney book is coming, along with the new one about him.

Deep Water I have read but don't have a copy of. The Cabin I have and plan to add.The Canoe: A living Tradition sits with my oversize "coffee table" books...almost none of which are included (yet?)

BlackFlies and Whitewater I will have to find!!!!!!

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 10:11 am 
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I have read many of the books listed not nearly enough. I will add a book I have and think it is a great read.
Ocean to Ocean
by George M. Grant.
It is about Sanford Fleming's expedition through Canada in 1872.
From the cover of Ocean to Ocean.
" Father of Standard Time, founder of the Royal Canadian Institute, designer of the country's first stamp, author, artist and town planner, Sir Sanford Fleming can rightly be called a Renaissance man. As Engineer-in-Chief of the proposed transcontinental railway, he was determined to cross the country in order to find the best route.
Fleming chose the minister of his church, Rev. George M. Grant, to serve as his secretary and provide a record of the expedition's progress. Like Fleming, Grant was one of the "muscular Christians" of the Victorian age. The two shared a love of the outdoors, a belief in the importance of physical fitness and perhaps most of all, the concept of progress. During the summer and early autumn of 1872, their party travelled first by train then steamer, canoe, wagon and horseback, making their way from Halifax to Victoria.
A best seller in 1873, Ocean to Ocean is a carefully crafted detailed account of the trek. Grant looks at the newly created Dominion and the promise of the railway with a sense of wonder coupled with great enthusiasm. Indeed, the book became something of a propaganda tool for the MacDonald government.

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 11:39 am 
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I read "Ocean to Ocean" up to the point they left Fort Willian ( Thunder Bay). Certainly gives a different perspective on cross Canada travel !


You know, the title of the post is 53 reviews....it was not meant to be all encompassing :wink:

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 Post subject: Blackflies & Whitewater
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 1:59 pm 
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Watersong;

It was published by McClelland & Stewart in 1977
ISBN: 0-7710-8210-x
Author A. Tony Sloan


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 2:51 pm 
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Watersong wrote:
You know, the title of the post is 53 reviews....it was not meant to be all encompassing :wink:
It's like herding cats, eh? :lol:

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2007, 3:08 pm 
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I highly recommend these two books;

CANOEING A CONTINENT: ON THE TRAIL OF ALEXANDER MACKENZIE

By Max Finkelstein

More than just a travelogue of a canoe trip across Canada, this is an account that crosses more than two centuries. It is an exploration into the heart and mind of Alexander Mackenzie, the explorer, and Max Finkelstein, the "Voyageur-in-Training." Using Mackenzie's journals and his own journal writings, the author creates a view of the land from two vantage points.
The author retraced the route of Alexander Mackenzie across North America from Ottawa through to Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, and paddled the Blackwater, Fraser and Peace Rivers, completing the trip in 1999. This route is the most significant water trail in North America, and perhaps the world.

PADDLING THE BOREAL FOREST: REDISCOVERING A.P. LOW

By Max Finkelstein and James Stone

A.P. Low (1861-1942) was one of North America''s most significant, but possibly least known, explorers. He criss-crossed the Labrador Peninsula from James Bay to Ungava, and to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, through some of the most rugged country on the continent, at that time considered one of the largest "unknown" areas in the world. To this day, no human has travelled more in this region, or given more knowledge of its geology, peoples, wildlife, geography and vegetation to the scientific community and to the world at large.

About the Authors

Max Finkelstein works as a communications specialist with the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS), Canada's national program for river conservation. When he is not writing about, speaking about or otherwise promoting Canada's river heritage, he can usually be found paddling on a river. He has covered more than 20,000 km (over 12,000 miles) throughout Canada, Africa and Australia. His most recent undertaking was to retrace Alexander Mackenzie's historic crossing of North America. His next endeavour is to retrace the explorations of geologist A.P. Low from Labrador to James Bay.

Max lives in Ottawa on the shores of the Ottawa River with his wife, Connie. They are introducing their new son, Isaac Thelon, to a life of travelling on and learning about rivers.

James Stone works as an economist at the Department of International Trade Canada. He first rediscovered A.P. Low while a student at Queen’s University and kept the idea of writing the biography of this man in the back of his mind since that time. Jim has varied northern experience, including geodetic mapping in northern Quebec and the Yukon, canoeing the Nahanni, the Hanbury/Thelon rivers, and now the Eastmain and Rupert rivers with Max Finkelstein.

His spouse Michaela and sons Adam and Benjamin have been highly supportive of his northern leanings and may yet go on a northern trip with him.

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 Post subject: ahhhhh helllllllllll!!!
PostPosted: September 29th, 2007, 1:25 pm 
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Damnit! Just when I thought my book case was big enough you had to pull this stunt! :D
Thanks for a few new picks. I was suprised you didnt have any Alan Kessleheims in your collection (so I've added them here for you). To me his books are classic paddling books and he writes more vivid than Sig and Muir hands down. Anyway./
Enjoy this list.
Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year Alan S. Kesselheim

Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year FROM THE CRITICS Publishers Weekly With his companion Marypat, Kesselheim paddled 2000 miles through the Canadian wilderness, a 14-month odyssey that began on the Athabaska River near Jasper (Alberta) and ended at Baker Lake, an Inuit settlement in the Northwest Territories west of Hudson Bay. After nine weeks the pair arrived at the eastern end of Lake Athabaska where they planned to spend the winter as caretakers at a fishing camp; the nearest human habitation was a Chipewyan village an hour away by snowmobile. The second summer, Kesselheim's brother and his wife joined the couple for the trip north across the Barrenlands. Very few people have made this journey in modern times, and no wonder--fierce winds, rain (24 out of 35 days for this party), insect hordes, frequent and difficult portages, extremes of temperature offer a severe challenge to the hardiest traveler. Kesselheim gives a marvelous picture of the Canadian north; he conveys the risks and rewards of wilderness travel in fine style. (Oct.)
Library Journal This story is of an expedition deep into the Canadian wilderness. Two people, the author and his companion (now wife), Marypat Zitzer, paddle their canoe from near Jasper, Alberta along the Athabasca River to Baker Lake in Canada's northwest territories. The trip covers 2000 miles and 14 months. It is not only a story of the journey through the wilderness, but also of an introspective journey of each traveler's discovery of insights, achievements, and perceptions.

Going Inside- Alan Kesselheim
Going inside: A Couple's Journey of Renewal into the North


Tired of the frantic activity of society, and, more troubling, growing tired of each other (and their inability to have a child), Alan Kesselheim and Marypat Zitzer decide to take unusual steps to avert a crisis in their marriage. They escape on a year-long canoeing expedition. They begin paddling at Grand Cache, Alberta, on the Smoky River. Following old fur-trade routes, they travel northeast, to the far end of Lake Athabaska. Their first summer's paddling done, they dig in for a long, lonely winter in a tiny cabin in a deserted fishing camp. It is here that Marypat discovers, against all expectations, that she is pregnant. When the thaw comes, they resolve to press on into the Northwest Territories, north of the tree line and beyond the reach of medical help, to try to reach Baker Lake - although, assuming all goes well, Marypat will be heavily pregnant by the time they reach their destination ... The heart of Going Inside is not the adventure of white-water rapids or the ferocious storms and numbing cold, but rather Alan Kesselheim's deep joy at the beauty and healing power of the natural world - discovering fresh wolf tracks, looking an otter in the face, observing the ever-changing character of a river each day, seeing the slow stirring of the natural world as the hard grip of a northern winter begins to ease. In this environment, what seemed important back in civilization becomes trivial, and the natural cycle, so easily ignored when insulated by modern living, becomes profound.

Threading the Currents: A Paddler's Passion for Water- Alan Kesselheim

Over the past twenty-five years, Alan Kesselheim has spent countless hours paddling along the blue veins of the continent. He has taken trips ranging from afternoon jaunts to year-long journeys, from social outings to white-knuckle adventures, in landscapes stretching from the canyons of the Rio Grande to the shores of Hudson Bay. In Threading the Currents, he explores how his great love of the outdoors and his intense passion for paddling have shaped his life. In a lively and engaging style, Kesselheim describes the highlights of his paddling trips with friends, family, and lovers. Some, like being stranded naked alongside a river, are humorous. Some, like being stalked for more than a mile by a determined bear, are frightening. Others, like his and his wife's surprise conception of their first child during a fourteen-month trek through the Canadian Arctic, are poignant. But all speak to the heart of things - to love and friendship, birth and death, anger and forgiveness, to the elemental joys and sorrows of life.


Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak- Victoria Jason
During the summer of 1991 Victoria Jason embarked on a journey together with Don Starkell (author of the bestselling Paddle to the Amazon) and Fred Reffler to kayak the Northwest Passage, starting at Churchill, Manitoba and aiming to reach Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea. When she set out in 1991, Victoria, already a grandmother of two, had only been kayaking for a year and was still recovering from the second of two strokes. Her 7,500 kilometre journey lasted four years. In the first year, Fred Reffler dropped out due to an injury, and Victoria suffered serious internal bleeding from ulcers. The second year Victoria and Don reached Gjoa Haven together, hauling their kayaks by sled, but Victoria was forced to drop out there, suffering from edema (muscle breakdown) caused by excessive fatigue. Don Starkell continued alone, reaching the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, where he was rescued by authorities suffering from severe frostbite which resulted in the loss of all his fingers and parts of four toes. Their first two summers together were also a time of tension and conflict between Victoria and Don. Not content with failure, Victoria returned North the following two years and completed her triumphant journey alone from west to east, paddling from Fort Providence on the Mackenzie River to Paulatuk in 1993, and from Paulatuk to Gjoa Haven in 1994. Among the Inuit people she became known as the Kabloona (the Inuktituk word for stranger) in the Yellow Kayak.
Cold Summer Wind- C Klein
One Incredible Journey- Clayton Klein and Verlen Kruger Recaps the first cross of N. America from Montreal to the Bering sea in one season.

Down the Wild River North- Constance Helmerick


Great Heart- John Rugge
This book recounts the intertwined fates of three expeditions to Labrador at the turn of the century. In 1903 Leonidas Hubbard, Dillon Wallace, and George Easton mounted an overland trek that was eventually defeated by weather, terrain, and poor preparation. Hubbard perished. Seeking to vindicate her husband, Minna Hubbard set out to replicate the failed journey with the help of Easton, even as Wallace planned a similar attempt. The authors reconstruct the stories of the first expedition and its vying successors from the participants' journals and diaries, and use some fictional devices. An unusual tale based on historical fact, this should enjoy a wide audience.

Lure of the Labrador Wild- Dillon Wallace
First published in 1905, this is the true story of two American adventurers' expedition into the interior of Labrador. The original goal was missed, and the ensuing story of the adventure is fascinating.

40,000 Miles by Canoe- John Voss
A great glimpse into the past in this story of a young adventurer who would later become the famous CBS commentator. A well written account of this long canoe trip that took the young Sevareid and his companion through the northern US and Canada. A great read for young and old alike. Would make a great summer read as well !

Dangerous River-Adventure on the Nahanni- RM Patterson
In the mid-1920s Raymond M. Patterson left a comfortable position with the Bank of England for a life in with wilds of Canada. Here, he hunted, trapped, fished and prospected his way along the rivers he would later write about. This spellbinding book, his most famous account, chronicles his two journeys down the treacherous Nahanni River between the Yukon and the Mackenzie River, spurred on by his irrepressible lust for adventure and his quest for gold. The New Yorker called this "a truly enchanting book."

Ultimate Canoe Challenge- Brand Frentz
Verlen Kruger and Steve Landick came up with the idea of a canoe trip that would surpass all others, and they did it. Paddling their canoes or carrying them on the connecting land passages, they toured North America, from Montana to Manhattan, from New Orleans to the Arctic Ocean, from Baja California to home in Lansing, Michigan.
They mastered wild storms on the ocean, often paddled 75-100 miles or more in a day, shot through deadly rapids going downstream, and paddled up several major rivers, reaching the climax by going up the Grand Canyon. Again and again they were warned, "It can't be done" or "You'll never make it", but each time they rose to the challenge and kept going, finally completing a canoe trip of 28,000 miles that lasted three and a half years and was appropriately named The Ultimate Canoe Challenge. This is the story as Verlen lived it.


A thousand miles in a Rob Roy Canoe- John Macgregor A classic!

Toward Magnetic North: The Oberholtzer-Magee 1912 Canoe Journey to Hudson Bay
Oberholtzer Foundation, Ernest C. Oberholtzer


Three Seasons in the Wind: 950 Kilometres by Canoe Down Northern Canada's Thelon River
Kathleen Pitt, Michael D. Pitt

Step outside the pressures of modern life, and join Michael and Kathleen's quest for beauty, solitude and adventure as they travel alone across the Barren Grounds of Canada. Their journey begins camped amid the decaying ice of a new Arctic spring, and ends 37 days later as they harvest blueberries before a final descent to Baker Lake at the head of Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson Bay.
Simply, yet eloquently written, Three Seasons In The Wind transports the reader's imagination to the very banks of the magical Thelon River. By so doing, your heart will awaken to an ancient, nomadic lifestyle of physical challenge and timeless joy that is available to all who dare to pursue their dreams in Canada's pristine Northern landscape.

Two in a Red Canoe: Our Journey Down the Yukon Matt Hage
The Yukon River remains one of the last and greatest wild, unspoiled rivers in North America. The name alone sparks a sense of romance and adventure.
Traveling in a red canoe named "Lucille," Megan Baldino and Matt Hage embarked on an exciting, summerlong voyage down the "mighty Yukon," from its headwaters at Lake Laberge in western Canada, along 2,000 westward-trending miles, toward the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska.
Join them in this modern-day version of The African Queen meets Two in the Far North as they share a river's-eye-view of life and land. Visiting intriguing stops along the route including landmarks of the Klondike gold rush, a modern-day Canadian caveman and Native American villages, the couple recorded their romantic (and sometimes harrowing) ninety-day adventure through Matt's photography, separate journal entries, and research notes.
The Yukon River remains one of the last and greatest wild, unspoiled rivers in North America. The name alone sparks a sense of romance and adventure.Traveling in a red canoe named "Lucille," Megan Baldino and Matt Hage embarked on an exciting, summerlong voyage down the "mighty Yukon," from its headwaters at Lake Laberge in western Canada, along 2,000 westward-tring miles, toward the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska. Join them in this modern-day version of The African Queen meets Two in the Far North as they share a river's-eye-view of life and land. Visiting intriguing stops along the route including landmarks of the Klondike gold rush, a modern-day Canadian caveman and Native American villages, the couple recorded their romantic (and sometimes harrowing) ninety-day adventure through Matt's photography, separate journal entries, and research notes.

Mississippi Solo: A River Quest Eddy L. Harris
Never having canoed before, and with the loan of a friend's boat, Eddy L. Harris sets out to row the length of the Mississippi River--alone. Beautifully captured is the river's culture, the character of its people, as well as a man's remarkable spirit. FROM THE PUBLISHER Since the publication of his first book, Mississippi Solo, Eddy L. Harris has been praised for his travel writing. In this exciting reissue of his classic travelogue, readers will come to treasure the rich insightful prose that is as textured as the Mississippi River itself. They will be taken by the hand by an adventurer whose lifelong dream is to canoe the length of this mighty river, from Minnesota to New Orleans. The trip's dangers were legion for a Black man traveling alone, paddling from "where there ain't no black folks to where they still don't like us much." Barge waives loom large, wild dogs roam the wooded shores, and, in the Arkansas dusk, two shotgun-toting bigots nearly bring the author's dream to a bloody . Sustaining him through the hard weeks of paddling were the hundreds of people who reached out to share a small piece of his challenge. Mississippi Solo is a big, rollicking, brilliant book, a wonderful piece of American adventure, and an unforgettable story of a man testing his own limits.

All things are Possible: 100,000 miles by Paddle ; The Verlen Kruger Story.[/b] By Phil Peterson Jr.
The is about epic paddler Verlen Kruger. The book has hundreds of color pictures which is more than any other paddling book I've ever seen. A Great account of a plumbing contrator and father of 9 kids who never had been in a canoe till he was in his 40's then went on to paddle over 140,000kms including two trips of 30,000kms. You can get a personalized signed copy by Phil at http://www.verlenkruger.com

The SEcret Knowledge of Water: Craig Child YOU will look at water in a new way once you read this incredible book. It is unreal. Magical and spiritual. Wow!


Cold Summer Wind- C Klein
One Incredible Journey- Clayton Klein and Verlen Kruger

Down the Wild River North- Constance Helmerick


Great Heart- John Rugge
This book recounts the intertwined fates of three expeditions to Labrador at the turn of the century. In 1903 Leonidas Hubbard, Dillon Wallace, and George Easton mounted an overland trek that was eventually defeated by weather, terrain, and poor preparation. Hubbard perished. Seeking to vindicate her husband, Minna Hubbard set out to replicate the failed journey with the help of Easton, even as Wallace planned a similar attempt. The authors reconstruct the stories of the first expedition and its vying successors from the participants' journals and diaries, and use some fictional devices. An unusual tale based on historical fact, this should enjoy a wide audience.

Lure of the Labrador Wild- Dillon Wallace
First published in 1905, this is the true story of two American adventurers' expedition into the interior of Labrador. The original goal was missed, and the ensuing story of the adventure is fascinating.


40,000 Miles by Canoe- John Voss
A great glimpse into the past in this story of a young adventurer who would later become the famous CBS commentator. A well written account of this long canoe trip that took the young Sevareid and his companion through the northern US and Canada. A great read for young and old alike. Would make a great summer read as well !

Dangerous River-Adventure on the Nahanni- RM Patterson
In the mid-1920s Raymond M. Patterson left a comfortable position with the Bank of England for a life in with wilds of Canada. Here, he hunted, trapped, fished and prospected his way along the rivers he would later write about. This spellbinding book, his most famous account, chronicles his two journeys down the treacherous Nahanni River between the Yukon and the Mackenzie River, spurred on by his irrepressible lust for adventure and his quest for gold. The New Yorker called this "a truly enchanting book."


A thousand miles in a Rob Roy Canoe- John Macgregor A classic!

Toward Magnetic North: The Oberholtzer-Magee 1912 Canoe Journey to Hudson Bay
Oberholtzer Foundation, Ernest C. Oberholtzer



Three Seasons in the Wind: 950 Kilometres by Canoe Down Northern Canada's Thelon River
Kathleen Pitt, Michael D. Pitt
Step outside the pressures of modern life, and join Michael and Kathleen's quest for beauty, solitude and adventure as they travel alone across the Barren Grounds of Canada. Their journey begins camped amid the decaying ice of a new Arctic spring, and ends 37 days later as they harvest blueberries before a final descent to Baker Lake at the head of Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson Bay.
Simply, yet eloquently written, Three Seasons In The Wind transports the reader's imagination to the very banks of the magical Thelon River. By so doing, your heart will awaken to an ancient, nomadic lifestyle of physical challenge and timeless joy that is available to all who dare to pursue their dreams in Canada's pristine Northern landscape.

Two in a Red Canoe: Our Journey Down the Yukon Matt Hage
The Yukon River remains one of the last and greatest wild, unspoiled rivers in North America. The name alone sparks a sense of romance and adventure.
Traveling in a red canoe named "Lucille," Megan Baldino and Matt Hage embarked on an exciting, summerlong voyage down the "mighty Yukon," from its headwaters at Lake Laberge in western Canada, along 2,000 westward-trending miles, toward the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska.
Join them in this modern-day version of The African Queen meets Two in the Far North as they share a river's-eye-view of life and land. Visiting intriguing stops along the route including landmarks of the Klondike gold rush, a modern-day Canadian caveman and Native American villages, the couple recorded their romantic (and sometimes harrowing) ninety-day adventure through Matt's photography, separate journal entries, and research notes.
The Yukon River remains one of the last and greatest wild, unspoiled rivers in North America. The name alone sparks a sense of romance and adventure.Traveling in a red canoe named "Lucille," Megan Baldino and Matt Hage embarked on an exciting, summerlong voyage down the "mighty Yukon," from its headwaters at Lake Laberge in western Canada, along 2,000 westward-tring miles, toward the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska. Join them in this modern-day version of The African Queen meets Two in the Far North as they share a river's-eye-view of life and land. Visiting intriguing stops along the route including landmarks of the Klondike gold rush, a modern-day Canadian caveman and Native American villages, the couple recorded their romantic (and sometimes harrowing) ninety-day adventure through Matt's photography, separate journal entries, and research notes.

Mississippi Solo: A River Quest Eddy L. Harris
Never having canoed before, and with the loan of a friend's boat, Eddy L. Harris sets out to row the length of the Mississippi River--alone. Beautifully captured is the river's culture, the character of its people, as well as a man's remarkable spirit. FROM THE PUBLISHER Since the publication of his first book, Mississippi Solo, Eddy L. Harris has been praised for his travel writing. In this exciting reissue of his classic travelogue, readers will come to treasure the rich insightful prose that is as textured as the Mississippi River itself. They will be taken by the hand by an adventurer whose lifelong dream is to canoe the length of this mighty river, from Minnesota to New Orleans. The trip's dangers were legion for a Black man traveling alone, paddling from "where there ain't no black folks to where they still don't like us much." Barge waives loom large, wild dogs roam the wooded shores, and, in the Arkansas dusk, two shotgun-toting bigots nearly bring the author's dream to a bloody . Sustaining him through the hard weeks of paddling were the hundreds of people who reached out to share a small piece of his challenge. Mississippi Solo is a big, rollicking, brilliant book, a wonderful piece of American adventure, and an unforgettable story of a man testing his own limits.


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