3.5 stars. I liked learning more about the Swiss guide history, and it certainly seems appropriate that the authors chose to center the story around E3.5 stars. I liked learning more about the Swiss guide history, and it certainly seems appropriate that the authors chose to center the story around Edward Feuz, Jr. I grew up in Golden, so it was great to get some insight around Golden back in his day, as well as the relationship between CPR and the guides. There's a lot of insight one can gain from a book like this, as opposed to something short and more terse. Lots of these tales I'd heard before, but I was after more than just the big tales, and the book succeeded in that.
What I didn't care for was the constant style of the book. The constant employment of stereotypes, and what today we'd call essentialism. Perhaps all the Swiss Guides really were very similar in their conservatism, patriotism, etc, and so perhaps I'm just a product of my age, but the constant oversimplification of individuals grates on me, and I experience this with older generations quite often. "Like any good Swiss patriot, so-and-so of course ____." That sort of thing. I'd be interested to know who did most of the writing of the book. I haven't read enough of Putnam to know for sure, but it doesn't seem familiar, so perhaps it was Kauffman.
The book is fairly celebratory, but even as someone who wanted to approach the subject with a critical mind (I'm no proponent of guides), I was able to read between the lines enough to get what I was after.
As this currently seems to be the only book focusing on the Swiss guides, I could recommend it somewhat, despite the aspects that I didn't like about it....more
I'm not a fan of Canadian nationalism, its founding myths, CP Rail, colonialism, sled-dog cruelty, or racism. So I'm scratching my head a bit as to whI'm not a fan of Canadian nationalism, its founding myths, CP Rail, colonialism, sled-dog cruelty, or racism. So I'm scratching my head a bit as to why I decided to read this book. I guess I thought there'd be a bit more than just a desperate tale of survival. And even if that's all there was, I'd have still hoped the journal entries would've been somewhat enthralling.
Don't get me wrong, the authors have certainly done a great job in compiling for the first time all of these resources. I have a general interest in the Northern Rockies, though I haven't traveled on foot there yet. Perhaps more familiarity with the area in questions would've tipped the scales a bit towards making this a more worthwhile read.
The two main characters (Jarvis and Hanington) just aren't particularly worthy of sympathy, mostly for their treatment of the dogs and indians. There is certainly an enthusiasm for exploration between them, but this being a rushed winter trip that doesn't go spectacularly well, it just doesn't really stand out for me. ...more
3.5 stars. Started out pretty great, though the quality of the meanderings vary. Lots of food for thought, even if I didn't agree with it all. I'd rec3.5 stars. Started out pretty great, though the quality of the meanderings vary. Lots of food for thought, even if I didn't agree with it all. I'd recommend it....more
Pass. Or rather, I wish I had. I found myself too curious about the nitty gritty details and ended up reading it to the end. The vaguely christian, exPass. Or rather, I wish I had. I found myself too curious about the nitty gritty details and ended up reading it to the end. The vaguely christian, explicitly new age approach just takes over the whole book. The serendipity, the platitudes, the it-must-be-destiny, the animism, was all pretty overwhelming and had me doubting the recollection of events. The writing isn't great and the dialogue felt forced. And the fact that she ends up owning her own eco business has me doubting things as well. Perhaps that's a bit harsh, but plainly said, this book just isn't for anyone who would shy away from over-romanticizing nature.
The Stars, the Snow, the Fire by John Haines is much more lyrical and transporting. Chris Czajkowski is also much easier to swallow. On the Edge of Nowhere by James Huntington has more entertaining stories. This book does have the most bare bones, starting from scratch aspect to it, and if you're specifically interested in the BC coast, then perhaps this book is worth swallowing your pride for, but otherwise, maybe just watch the Dick Proenneke movie....more
3.5 stars. It took me 10 months to read this book part-time. Because of that, I certainly lost the narrative somewhat, but I'm not sure it'd be all th3.5 stars. It took me 10 months to read this book part-time. Because of that, I certainly lost the narrative somewhat, but I'm not sure it'd be all that easy to follow anyways. I still don't understand how the book is laid out. There's several different historical accounts (3-5?) plus the author's own journey. I'm not sure if the author moves forward chronologically or geographically. As well, it seemed like dates were rarely given so you never really knew what month the action was taking place in.
I'd quite liked The Dangerous River by Patterson as well and highly recommend it. Anyways, the writing in this book is quite good, the details given are occasionally too much, but if you're interested in the area, give it a shot. Perhaps the most intriguing element is that this was written long before the Peace was ever even talked about being dammed, so reading about how it was before then is both enchanting and also, enraging. EDIT: I waited until finishing the book to do a Google Earth flyover and look for photos of Black Canyon. It turns out Black Canyon, the single biggest draw to the area for Patterson, was flooded by the Williston Reservoir....more
I became aware of John Clarke through trip reports I'd read and it was clear pretty early on that he was a remarkable guy. I wasn't sure if I wanWhew!
I became aware of John Clarke through trip reports I'd read and it was clear pretty early on that he was a remarkable guy. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read a whole book about him, but figured there'd be at least enough descriptions of the remote parts of the Coast Range to keep me going. And while the book absolutely provides a lot of great passages about the mountains, I wasn't too far into the book before I realized that John was absolutely worth writing a book about. I'd previously read Kathryn Bridge's book about the Mundays to become familiar with coastal exploration, so that helped with context as well.
The writing is great all through and everything is well balanced, just the right amount of detail about the trips, letting John speak for himself, chapters about other events in his life, etc. As far as the book goes, I'd highly recommend it and I'd regularly tell friends about events in the book as I was reading them.
But it's hard to write a review of this book without just wanting to talk about John the whole time. He is absolutely one of the most unique people I've ever read about. Incredibly inspiring and I know I won't be able to help trying to imitate his personality in all sorts of ways. He just seems to overflow with exuberance and passion and it's clear towards the end when you start to hear all the testimonials from people that this was a guy who changed peoples lives ALL THE TIME.
I chose to read this book at a certain milestone in my own hiking career and I'm very glad I did. This has helped cement my intention to continue to push my comfort zone and to spend as much time in the mountains as possible. I think this is a great book for anyone to read who has these sorts of passions, but not many people to go on trips with. Anyways, before I keep babbling, I'll leave it there. BUT READ THIS BOOK!...more
I'd read The Weekender Effect(same author) previously, and was a bit skeptical about reading another one of his books, as his political analysis was fI'd read The Weekender Effect(same author) previously, and was a bit skeptical about reading another one of his books, as his political analysis was far too shallow for me, and he wasn't critical enough, in my opinion. This being a more scientific book and the only one I found on the topic, I decided to give it a shot. I found it decent at the beginning, with some real wake-up call anecdotes that I hadn't heard before that were worth reading. Getting up to speed on Canada's drinking water systems, and understanding the water sources, fluctuations, and prospects were great too. Overall though, he's a bit of a blow-hard. Redundant at times, not critical enough of tourism, national parks, etc. Worth skimming though, especially if the topic interests you....more
I selectively picked a few chapters to read of this book, so I won't give it an overall rating, but if I had to, probably 3 stars.
Aside from the misleI selectively picked a few chapters to read of this book, so I won't give it an overall rating, but if I had to, probably 3 stars.
Aside from the misleading premise, I found the book to be decent. Divided into sections containing ethnographic info on the First Nations of the Martime, West Coast, Plains, etc was helpful, but the premise of the book seemed to be a thought exercise of what it would be like had the first contact with Aboriginal people in Canada gone much better. This is almost never elaborated upon, except in a dismissive way at the end of the book. So while the book held value for me, it's not what I'd expected.
Also, I found some troubling generalizations, suggesting that there were no extinctions of animals during Aboriginal history in North America, and that there were now gender inequalities, both of which I'm under the impression that the opposite is true in some cases (though a minority, I'm assuming?)....more
Overall, I quite liked this book. Entertaining to read, and of course I feel like I finally have a proper understanding of the beetle phenomena. I totOverall, I quite liked this book. Entertaining to read, and of course I feel like I finally have a proper understanding of the beetle phenomena. I totally agree with Nikiforuk's analysis of the forest industry and in fact, feel like he could have been even MORE damning of it at times. My only problem with the book was the occasional metaphor that felt a bit overdramatic, and redundant. He occasionally repeats himself, although it's not too big of a problem. I'll definitely read some more from him in the future....more
I'd wanted to read The Last Wild Wolves, but this appeared to be the updated edition, and judging by the epilogue at the end of the book, I'd definiteI'd wanted to read The Last Wild Wolves, but this appeared to be the updated edition, and judging by the epilogue at the end of the book, I'd definitely recommend trying to get your hands on this edition. Great read. Not incredible writing, but not bad either. Not too preachy (for me anyways) or redundant. The immersion into the territory is great, lots to learn, and these wolves really are fascinating. Great short read....more