Canoe across large lakes, up and down rivers and rapids; labour over portages and through a miasma of blackflies; bask in the golden evenings of the Subarctic. In this account of an 800-mile canoe trip – which begins at Reindeer Lake on the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border, continues into Nunavut past the treeline, and ends on Hudson Bay – Peter Kazaks conveys the experience of being in the north by describing the daily details that bring the trip to life. He captures the flavour of an extended wilderness canoe trip and reflects on living in unfettered wilderness. The reader will also grasp something of the serene beauty of the barren lands and begin to understand why its intoxicating nature keeps drawing some back.
The first half of the trip, essentially from Reindeer Lake to Nueltin Lake, retraces P.G. Downes' voyage described in his classic Sleeping Island. Next the four men of this expedition, led by George Luste, entered the barren lands and followed the Thlewiaza River, the Kognak River, South Henik Lake and the Maguse River north and east to the shore of Hudson Bay. These lands, seldom visited, are close to a true wilderness – one of the few remaining ones.
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