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Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada's Arctic

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  31 reviews
National bestseller

A thrilling odyssey through an unforgiving landscape, from "Canada's greatest living explorer."

In the spring of 2017, Adam Shoalts, bestselling author and adventurer, set off on an unprecedented solo journey across North America's greatest wilderness. A place where, in our increasingly interconnected, digital world, it's still possible to wander for
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Allen Lane
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I devour travelogues and travel adventures the way a thoroughly unadventurous stationary person might. Voraciously. So I came across this one on Netgalley and it’s advertised as written by Canada’s Indiana Jones. What? Ok, yeah, bring it. But what comes to mind trying to imagine a Canadian Indiana Jones? Like a really mild mannered, polite one? I mean, I don’t get how the comparison holds up, not based on this book anyway. This isn’t Indiana Jones, this is a guy who loves nature and solitude and ...more
Ben Gigone
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first travel log and I enjoyed it a lot. Would’ve loved to get inside Shoalts’ head a little bit more as the majority was simply describing the physicality of the trek. Adding a star because he’s a local homie and way cooler than I am.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the sort of book I love to read in bed with the wind roaring outside and the rain lashing on the window. I'm tucked up cosy and comfortable reading about an adventurer canoeing alone across the north of Canada and having to sit it out for days because the ice is too thick to break through with out damaging his canoe. I sip my tea and give thanks that people like Adam Shoalts are driven to do these things so I can read about them!

I am not in the least adventurous. I get panicked if I have
Excellent real-life adventure. Full review coming to soon and reposted here.
Brandon Forsyth
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish I liked this book more, but all I can really get to is admiration. Shoalts is everything you’d want from a modern day explorer: leaving only footprints, taking only photographs, respectful and humble to both local communities and the power of nature, all while doing some truly insane shit that helps bring awareness to larger issues. The only difficulty here is in reading page after page of portaging - if I can damn him with faint praise, Shoalts makes the interminable process of lugging ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Part personal journey, touches on history and black flies. Shoalts describes his journey in detail, but aside from it having not been done previously - there wasn't anything particularly unique about the voyage. I understand the constant peril he was in, but I thought more joy would be expressed. Perhaps this is better suited to people who don't live in Canada.

My favourite part was him talking about how awkward it was when he encountered people after being alone for so long. The part that grated
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just fascinating, in terms of both travel and writing.

I read Shoalt's Against the North twice, so I pretty much knew I'd like this. Shoalts voyages solo across northern Canada over the course of a summer. Why? Because he can. ... Okay, he is actually gathering geological and geographical information. But it is too because he can. I can't imagine anyone but him doing this. It's incredible.

And it is his writing that makes this book engrossing and readable. His diction and phrasing is so finely
Gayle Noble
Spring 2017 sees Adam Shoalts begin his incredible journey from Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory, by canoe and portaging to Baker Lake, Nunavut. He travels solo across a vast place where you can go without seeing another person for weeks, kept company only by the indigenous wildlife, trying to keep one step ahead of the encroaching winter.

It was an interesting read and a mammoth journey. I love my alone time but I'm not sure I could go so long without seeing another human being. Hats off to him.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must admit there is nothing I like reading quite as much as a real life adventure travel tale. Done well it can transport the imaginative reader to places they will never ever experience in their lifetime and connect with yearnings that many of us have to escape the trials and tribulations of an increasingly interconnected and stressful modern world. There is no doubt that bestselling author and professional adventurer Adam Shoalts achieves just that in his remarkable account of his seemingly ...more
Katherine Younkin
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adam Shoalt’s account of his canoe trip across some of the most undisturbed wilderness in Canada will create a sense of wonder and awe in the reader. Not only did Shoalt traverse thousands of miles of untamed wild land, but he also did it alone and much of the time, paddling upriver. The feat itself is remarkable, but that’s not the only thing worthy of admiration here. Center stage is the stunning land itself and through Shoalt’s descriptions and encounters with wildlife, I felt as if I was ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing solo journey across the Canadian Arctic from west to east as undertaken by the author, Adam Shoalts. The tension is created by the need to complete the 4,000 km trip in the short arctic summer where one can encounter iceburgs, grizzlies, muskox, and intense swarms of biting, stinging insects before winter quickly sets in. This had my full attention because of the descriptions and challenges in one of the last remote areas on earth where at times even existing maps weren't ...more
Chad Guarino
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Canada's "Indiana Jones" treks through Canada's arctic in Beyond the Trees, an often exciting (if sometimes repetitive) chronicle of a solo trip many deemed "impossible."

As a sucker for true survival/thrilling nature stories, I knew I had to request this as soon as I saw it on Netgalley. Shoalts does not disappoint when it comes to adventure, detailing bears running at him, poling through the Great Bear lake, and racing against the often brutal arctic weather. While Shoalts' own journey was
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a chronicle of incredible endurance and skill, a survival story of traversing one of the planet’s harshest terrains. It’s a journey that very few could do, given the immense physical and psychological stresses that it presented on an almost hourly basis - a true tale of one man against nature in all of its brutal power and beauty.

I gave it three stars because I found the book at times repetitive, with the trials faced on many days very similar to the preceding ones, which is a
Tara O'sullivan
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Beyond the Trees is Adam Shoalts’s account of his solo journey traversing Canada’s Arctic from west to east, a feat largely considered impossible. Armed with only his tent, canoe and rations, Adam sets off on an epic journey across unforgiving terrain and upriver, fighting against the current and ice most of the way. His descriptions of the landscapes he passes through and the wildlife he encounters are captivating, but at times it reads as a very literal report of his actions, where I would ...more
Oct 07, 2019 is currently reading it
As soon as I read the description of this book, I knew that I had to read it. I have not been disappointed. This is one of the best travelogues I have read. There are wonderfully descriptive passages about the Canadian Arctic's physical characteristics, fauna and flora backed up by just the right amount of human interest, such as, the history of previous travellers, and the author's physical and mental experiences. As a fellow geographer, I was amused by his assertion that, "geographers are fond ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adam Shoalts is a Canadian explorer and geographer who is fascinated with the vast unknown. Above the Trees describes his Arctic canoeing journey across Canada from the Yukon to Hudson Bay during the spring and summer of Canada’s 150th birthday. At first, since the rivers flow into the Arctic, he is forced to go against the current. He poles, portages, lines, breaks ice and hikes each day, travelling as quickly as he possibly can to reach Hudson Bay before winter sets in. Adam’s passion for the ...more
Mary Pennington
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got this book in the mail today, it’s been a really long time since I’ve read a book cover to cover in a day. I already knew the outcome of the book from following Adam’s adventures on Facebook a few years back, but even though I knew everything would be okay he still had me hanging on a thread with his various encounters with muskox, bears, and other critters. Awesome read full of adventure, challenge, and humour. Just for the record, if Adam ever did write his book about rare moss, he has ...more
David Philpott
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is not what I expected, but I suppose that is my fault. I was hoping to learn about what drives a man to spend four months alone crossing 4 000 km of Arctic tundra. But Adam didn't write so much about why. He wrote about how. This book was a detailed account of his day-to-day travel and strategies he used. If you were planning a similar trip this book would be very useful. But for me, as a casual reader, I was a little bored. Kudos to Adam though, I still struggle to believe he actual ...more
Nadine Byrne
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Real life story of a Canadian adventurist crossing the arctic on his own. I enjoyed the read and admit that I was EXHAUSTED just reading about his travels - there was so much detail of his trek that I could literally envision the arctic landscape, animal life, remoteness, and dangers of the flowing waters. I can’t imagine anyone being brave enough to take on a challenge like this. Five stars for his bravery- Four stars for his story telling.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I am not very outdoorsy but I drove through some of the Yukon and Alaska this summer, it was beautiful, wild and remote. So, when I saw this I was intrigued, I wanted to know more about this area and I did enjoy that about this book quite a bit. I think some of the story lagged a bit for me just because my own lack of outdoor exploration experience but I think my husband will love this book as he is an avid hiker/climber/camper.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Once again, Adam Shoalts has written a masterful account of his 4,000 km trek across Canada's arctic. This book was well written, though there is a one typo on page 68: "Beavers loudly slapped their tales in the water..." When printing other editions, I would encourage the editors to fix "tales" to "tails." Other than that, it was a very enjoyable book.
Shirley Bray-Mak
What a wonderful adventure! Thank you for sharing your experience and giving me a thought provoking view of the northern wilderness of Canada where I could never venture on my own. As I read I was constantly looking up maps of the lakes and rivers to get a visual map of your journey. an excellent read! Thank you!
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Earle
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A fascinating account of what would appear to be an impossible trip. Beautiful descriptions of Canada’s wildest lands. I used Google Earth while reading to get a real view of the described locations. Made it even more of a real and challenging adventure. Also found some mining sites there in the far north so as wild and vast as it is it is not untouched.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Adam's story of his 1-man trip west to east across the arctic, against the current of big rivers in some cases. A well-told adventure story, though luckily nothing dangerous occurs during his saga.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Grueling trek, but worth every step and paddle. The beauty of the country, the peaceful essence of wildness come through with every word. Will read his first book Alone Against the North next.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Canada's answer to Indiana Jones perhaps a little crazier . LOVED IT!!!
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very descriptive, easy to read absolutely captivating, good for readers just getting into non fiction
Michael Tkach
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic adventure!
Paul Mailhot
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Needed more maps
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