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Upwards: The Story of the First Woman to Solo Thru-Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
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Upwards: The Story of the First Woman to Solo Thru-Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  16 reviews
At age 53, the author journeyed 740 miles in a small canoe, becoming the first woman to solo thru-paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Upwards is her uplifting story of finding the inner strength and faith to achieve a dream, set amid the rich tapestry of the history, wildlife, landscapes, and people of New England.
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 19th 2017 by Maine Authors Publishing
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Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
once again i have surprised myself by really liking a book that didnt sound like it would be my cup of tea!! i highly recommend this one.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Laurie Chandler’s Upwards is one of just a handful of canoe-based adventure memoirs that I have read. My primary interest is long distance backpacking and while I have read dozens of journal-adapted hiking books, this is one water-based adventure story that definitely makes the cut. The book has already earned placement in northeast US wilderness canoeing writing-after all, Laurie is now the first woman to solo thru-paddle (and portage) all 740 miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail ( NFCT) a
Mike Mikulski
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always like a well told story about a through hike or journey. This summer while reading a blog written by Katina Daanen on her paddle down the Wisconsin River from source to the Mississippi, I learned that she had written a guide book on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail a 740 mile water trail from the Adirondacks in New York to the Ft. Kent, Maine at the far northern portion of the state. Looking at Daanen's guide book on-line, I came across Laurie Apgar Chandler's book on her solo, unassisted ...more
Joe Geronimo
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
What can I say, I loved this book! I myself have a passion for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and have paddled small sections of it. Laurie's writing is inspiring and invokes the true passion of the water, wilderness and human spirit.

When our world seems bleak at times Laurie's adventure, her faith coupled by friendships both new and old, along with the many trail angels she encountered have restored my belief that their is still good in our world. I loved the sense of small town America. The
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very inspiring and well written book. I did not know about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail before reading this. After reading it, it's on my list of future adventures to be had.

The challenges that the author faced, both during her journey on the NFCT, and in the larger journey through life, provide inspiration to anyone looking for perseverance. The way Laurie interacts with nature, the respect for it that is put into these pages, and the research she put into capturing the history of the pla
John Geary
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a paddler who loves adventurous canoe trips, what’s not (for me) to love about this book?
It tells the story of the first woman to solo the entire length of the 750-mile Northern Forest Canoe Route through four states and one province. It’s a true adventure, one much better than many fictional adventures, I think. I can certainly find myself relating to many of the issues and situations and experiences she dealt with during her long paddle.
One of the other things I like about this book is the
Megan Chandler
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, so I was pleasantly surprised by Upwards. Beyond a memoir, it's a well-woven story of NFCT history, the logistics of navigating the trail, and a wonderful cast of characters met in the course of 750 miles. Upwards is an honest portrayal of an outdoorswoman's lifestyle, one marked by the highs and lows of a simple life on the trail and the joys to be discovered there. I suggest reading this book in the still of winter, curled up next to a fire. A modern take on ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly engrossing book. I’ve enjoyed books by through hikers, and thought I would find this through-paddler’s to be the same. But it actually had a quite different feel and stirred in me different emotions. The author didn’t share long-winded stories, go for cheap laughs, or wax poetic for chapters; she simply told the story of her journey with interesting background and info sprinkled in. I long for the peace and simplicity being truly in nature brings, and this woman shared th ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Upwards was a great winter read, as I wait for the ice to clear from the rivers and lakes in Maine. Near the book's end, Laurie writes, "More [NFCT paddlers] will share their journeys and their stories will be new and yet the same." I felt this very much as I read along with Laurie's thru-paddle and at the same time remembered parts of my own (I thru-paddled in 2006 with a friend). Whether you have paddled the NFCT, aspire to, or simply like to read about a good adventure, you'll enjoy Upwards, ...more
Irene Drago
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I believe that Upwards is the book everyone should read before they set out to make an impossible dream come true. Laurie Apgar Chandler's words are incredibly genuine. I found myself rooting for her every stroke and every footstep of her 740 miles of canoe travel and 67 portages. This beautifully written memoir, appeals to daring men and women everywhere. All of her chapters begin with inspiring quotes. I found my favorite at the top of Chapter 4: " You will never do anything in this world with ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Memoir" (if that's the right word?)/non-fiction book about the first woman to solo paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (interconnected waterways from New York to Fort Kent ME (tippy top of the state). This was a great read - told in a very straightforward, non-sensationalized manner. A "quiet" book, if that's the right word that let the strength of the story and the endurance required to complete this solo paddle shine through. I felt like I was right there along side the narrator for the en ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a wanna-be outdoors woman who lives on the edge of the Adirondack Park and who has a daughter who lives in Maine, this book was a joy to read! I so admire Laurie's commitment to acheive her goals, coupled with a touch of spirtual prose that lifted my spirit and made me smile. Congratulations Laurie on a job well done and thank you for sharing your journey with your readers! ...more
Amy Carlson
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Intriguing to learn about the NFCT, so different from the bwca. enjoyed seeing her appreciation of the world thru which she paddled, especially the Maine sections where it became more wild and remote. Impressive accomplishment!
Mary Bausch
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a casual, fair-weather paddler, I loved reading this book! Who cannot be impressed by Ms. Chandler's meticulous two year prep and training for such strenuous trek alone on upstream rivers, lakes and many long portages! She freely and honestly shares her fears, setbacks as well her persistence and will to complete the trail. Read this!! ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! I could definitely relate with the author since I began my own section paddle of NYS just a week before she began her through paddle. Laurie brought it all back to me and made me feel that I was back on the trail.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a journal, she did that along the way, but a kind of memoir of this amazing journey she completed on her own. Part history, part travel guide, part refections on life. Delightful to read.
George Smith
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Nov 18, 2017
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Laurie Apgar Chandler's love for wilderness paddling blossomed after 40, when she moved to Maine with her two children. Inspired to write by the beauty of the woods and waters, she began journaling, drawing inspiration from her work in forestry and education, and her faith. In the summer of 2015, at 53, Laurie became the first woman to solo thru-paddle New England's 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe ...more

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