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04/22/2022 09:24AM  
It's April, which means we're in that strange in between time. To help pass the time, I like to read and listen to audiobooks.

I want to hear your best canoe country book recommendations. I know this topic has been discussed before, but I figured it would be fun to rehash.

I'll start:

Canoeing with the Cree - Eric Sevaried. This is a classic and must read. The story of two young men's canoe trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay

Cache Lake Country - John J. Rowlands. The ultimate book for anybody who's wished they could go back in time and live in the north woods.

Father Water, Mother Woods - Gary Paulsen. Great stories about growing up in the north woods.

The Company - Steven R. Brown. Incredible history of the Hudson Bay Company, the fur trade, and the area generally.

Hudson Bay Bound - Natalie Warren. The modern story of two young women who recreate Sevaried's trip.

 
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pastorjsackett
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04/22/2022 09:35AM  
Distant Fires? That's the book where the young guys retrace "Canoeing with the Cree." Pretty good.

"The River Why" by David James Duncan is about fishing, but not canoes. Still an all time favorite book.

"A Year in the Boundary Waters"

Love hearing about books.
 
tumblehome
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04/22/2022 09:39AM  
Canoeing with the Cree is fantastic.

Another one is Undaunted Courage. The story of Lewis and Clark. You will never see the United States the same after you read it. Lots of accounts about what this place was like before colonial settlement west of the Mississippi.


Tom
 
YetiJedi
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04/22/2022 10:08AM  
Recently completed reading "Braving It" about a father and daughter in the Alaskan wilderness. Excellent read, from my perspective as a daughter dad.
 
04/22/2022 10:22AM  
tumblehome: "Canoeing with the Cree is fantastic.

Another one is Undaunted Courage. The story of Lewis and Clark. You will never see the United States the same after you read it. Lots of accounts about what this place was like before colonial settlement west of the Mississippi.

Tom"

I love Undaunted Courage, it was a great book and made history easy to absorb and fun to read. I also liked his book about the railroad construction, and Crazy Horse vs. Custer.
 
04/22/2022 03:02PM  
I'll add "Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods". It is a book with 2 stories of 2 different people who got lost in the BWCA; one on the Man chain of lakes in the Q and one on the Kek trail (if i remember correctly). This book has stood out to me for years because I brought it with me as my reading material only to realize, while in my tent one night, that I was not only camping on one of the lakes where one of the people were found, but possibly at the same campsite.
 
04/22/2022 07:13PM  
For some historical reading about the area:

Trapping the Boundary Waters: A Tenderfoot in the Border Country, 1919-1920 by Charles Ira Cook

The Voyageur’s Highway: Minnesota’s Border Lake Land by Grace Lee Nute
 
04/22/2022 08:56PM  
Sleeping Island: A Journey to the Edge of the Barrens by P.G. Downes. A fascinating man with a minimalist tripping style describing the changing north .
 
YetiJedi
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04/22/2022 09:01PM  
Alone Against the North. Good read about the first known expedition down a river in Alaska...solo, no less.
 
YetiJedi
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04/22/2022 09:03PM  
RT: "I'll add "Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods". It is a book with 2 stories of 2 different people who got lost in the BWCA; one on the Man chain of lakes in the Q and one on the Kek trail (if i remember correctly). This book has stood out to me for years because I brought it with me as my reading material only to realize, while in my tent one night, that I was not only camping on one of the lakes where one of the people were found, but possibly at the same campsite."


Agreed. Good read and powerful reminder of just how quickly things can get seriously dangerous even for experienced trippers. Not sure I would recommend it be read while tripping...but good for you!
 
TaylorRN
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04/22/2022 09:21PM  
This year I’ve read:

Paddling to Winter by julie buckles - a 3k mile journey from Wisconsin to the Arctic ocean

Canoeing with the Cree

The Lonely Land by Sigurd Olsen

The lure of the Labrador Wild

Dangerous river

All were fantastic!
 
ledhead
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04/22/2022 11:13PM  
The Grace of the Wild
-Paul Gruchow
 
Minnesotian
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04/23/2022 12:23AM  
ledhead: "The Grace of the Wild
-Paul Gruchow"


Very nice choice. I second it.
 
tumblehome
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04/23/2022 06:58AM  
TaylorRN: "This year I’ve read: The Lure of the Labrador Wild "

Unbelievable story. I won’t give away the ending. :(

 
04/23/2022 07:06AM  
If you liked The Lure of the Labrador Wild, you should also read The Long Labrador Trail and A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador. You may also be interested in Great Heart.
 
jillpine
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04/23/2022 08:06AM  
boonie: "If you liked The Lure of the Labrador Wild, you should also read The Long Labrador Trail and A Woman's Way Through Unknown Labrador. You may also be interested in Great Heart. "

+1!
 
04/23/2022 08:22AM  
YetiJedi: "
RT: "I'll add "Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods". It is a book with 2 stories of 2 different people who got lost in the BWCA; one on the Man chain of lakes in the Q and one on the Kek trail (if i remember correctly). This book has stood out to me for years because I brought it with me as my reading material only to realize, while in my tent one night, that I was not only camping on one of the lakes where one of the people were found, but possibly at the same campsite."



Agreed. Good read and powerful reminder of just how quickly things can get seriously dangerous even for experienced trippers. Not sure I would recommend it be read while tripping...but good for you!"


I agree. I couldn’t put it down because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. At first it bugged me that it kept bouncing back and forth between stores, but I ended up actually liking that.

It was the Pow Wow Trail where the hiker got lost.

The author was at the Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais for a book signing of another book one time when I was there. It was a lot of fun talking to him about Lost in the Wild.
 
gonorth1
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04/23/2022 10:01AM  
+1 Especially given the fact these trips were taken more than 100 years ago.

While not in a canoe, instead in human powered, handmade rowing craft, The Doing of the Thing is filled with fascinating accounts of the first solo descent through the Grand Canyon as well as a trip across North America, from Oregon to NY City via rivers and the Eire Canal. A trip which cannot easily be replicated today given our past penchant for damming rivers.
 
04/23/2022 12:48PM  
YetiJedi: "Alone Against the North. Good read about the first known expedition down a river in Alaska...solo,
no less."

Actually it was about Adam Shoalts solo expedition down the Again river in Canada which flows into Hudson Bay. But yes, awsome read. And I'll throw these out there as well.
Beyond the trees - Adam Shoalts
Man and Dog - Justin Barbour
Alone on the Shield - Kirk Landers
River of Fire and Dance of the Deadmen - Hap Wilson
 
04/23/2022 07:26PM  
Mawson's Will.
 
Maiingan
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04/24/2022 01:08PM  
Voices from the Rapids

Down from Basswood: Voices of the Boundary Waters
 
04/24/2022 02:17PM  
noahj

Canoeing with the Cree - Eric Sevaried. This is a classic and must read. The story of two young men's canoe trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay "

I have a first copy of the book with his real name of Arnold Sevareid. Eric is his middle name and stage name. Great book!
 
04/24/2022 06:32PM  
I highly recommend:

Her Island: The Story of Quetico's Longest Serving Interior Ranger

The life of Janice Matichuk, the longest serving interior ranger in the history of the Quetico.

 
04/25/2022 03:16AM  
Maiingan: "Voices from the Rapids


Down from Basswood: Voices of the Boundary Waters"

+1
 
MikeinMpls
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04/25/2022 10:24AM  
Without a doubt, IMHO: Cache Lake Country. I first read it when I was 12, and have read it at least 10 times. A timber cruiser writes about his life in the woods. Lots of history about logging, logging camps, animals, the seasons, cabin life, and friendship. All told in 12 chapters: January through December. And...this guy was the original McGuyver...he could make what he needed out of what he had.

I tried his raspberry shrub recipe once. Not too bad.

And, I've adopted several simple woodscraft skills described by Mr. Rowlands.

Mike
 
04/27/2022 05:23PM  
+ 1 on Hudson Bay Bound, Canoeing with the Cree, and Lost in the Wild.

I’ll add to it Gunflint Burning, the story of the Ham Lake Fire. Really interesting. It’s by the same author as Lost in the Wild.

If you’re looking for fiction, any of the William Kent Krueger “Cork O’Conner” series books are super fun/easy to read.
 
gravelroad
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04/27/2022 08:17PM  
HighnDry: "Mawson's Will."


Good cure for those inclined to whine about the slow passing of winter this time around. ;-)
 
04/27/2022 10:07PM  
The story of Jerry Pushcar's canoe trip from New Orleans up the Mississippi and winter in a dilapidated rental house in Minnesota, resume canoeing and winter in a cabin near native people before continuing the canoe adventure to Nome Alaska.

Wild and crazy trip done in the mid 1970's. Too bad it's not on audio.

Waters Beneath My Feet
 
SunrisePaddler
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04/03/2023 10:04PM  
Reviving this thread from last April to add a book just published by the Univ. of Minnesota Press. Thought it'd be my tripping read this spring/summer but I'm finding it difficult to put it down. Fascinating biography of John and Tchi-Ki-Wis Linklater.

Title: Making the Carry: The Lives of John and Tchi-Ki-Wis Linklater
Author: Timothy Cochrane

--------

John Linklater, of Anishinaabeg, Cree, and Scottish ancestry, and his wife, Tchi-Ki-Wis, of the Lac La Croix First Nation, lived in the canoe and border country of Ontario and Minnesota from the 1870s until the 1930s. During that time, the couple experienced radical upheavals in the Quetico–Superior region, including the cutting of white and red pine forests, the creation of Indian reserves/reservations and conservation areas, and the rise of towns, tourism, and mining. With broad geographical sweep, historical significance, and biographical depth, Making the Carry tells their story, overlooked for far too long.

John Linklater, a renowned game warden and skilled woodsman, was also the bearer of traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous heritage, both of which he was deeply committed to teaching others. He was sought by professors, newspaper reporters, museum personnel, and conservationists—among them Sigurd Olson, who considered Linklater a mentor. Tchi-Ki-Wis, an extraordinary craftswoman, made a sweeping array of necessary yet beautiful objects, from sled dog harnesses to moose calls to birch bark canoes. She was an expert weaver of large Anishinaabeg cedar bark mats with complicated geometric designs, a virtually lost art.

Making the Carry traces the routes by which the couple came to live on Basswood Lake on the international border. John’s Métis ancestors with deep Hudson’s Bay Company roots originally came from Orkney Islands, Scotland, by way of Hudson Bay and Red River, or what is now Winnipeg. His family lived in Manitoba, northwest Ontario, northern Minnesota, and, in the case of John and Tchi-Ki-Wis, on Isle Royale. A journey through little-known Canadian history, the book provides an intimate portrait of Métis people.

Complete with rarely seen photographs of activities from dog mushing to guiding to lumbering, as well as of many objects made by Tchi-Ki-Wis, such as canoes, moccasins, and cedar mats, Making the Carry is a window on a traditional way of life and a restoration of two fascinating Indigenous people to their rightful place in our collective past.
 
pastorjsackett
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04/07/2023 07:51AM  
A few years back I was commuting and listened to more audio books. I really enjoyed "Fire Season: Notes from a Wilderness Lookout" by Phillip Connors.

Also my neighbor loaned me "A Place in the Woods" and that was good too.
 
04/07/2023 10:48AM  
Thanks for reviving this thread. Needed some new titles I haven't read for the upcoming paddling season.

One thing I can thank this extra-long winter for was some more time to read.
I read:

A Year in the Wilderness - Amy & Dave Freeman

Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log - Stephen Wilbers

The Grace of the Wild - Paul Gruchow

Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters-Quetico Wilderness - Greg Breining

White Indian Boy - Duane Lund

 
jdlunde
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04/07/2023 01:49PM  
Maybe this is a bit too obvious, but "The streams and rivers of Minnesota" by Tom Waters is one of my faves. It was first published in the early 80's and offers great insight into the various waterways in Minnesota. Also pretty cool to see him predict certain issues, decades in advance.
 
06/20/2023 03:55PM  
I'm not going for another two months so looking to read some.
Right now i'm reading "North American Canoe Country" by Calvin Rutstrum.
Is anyone familiar with it. It has an inscription on the inside to "Tony" from "John Macbride" that says
"Calvin Rutstum knows a lot about things it's a lot of fun to know a lot about. I hope you agree."
It is interesting to go back before Kevlar hulls and synthetic fabrics.
Where an aluminum boat was considered ultra-light. it goes through the various canoes from solo up to the 20 person (not foot!) "Montreal Canoe". They even had a section on outboard motors. The provisions list for short trips calls for "4 lbs of food per man per day when using fresh, common, domestic, raw fresh food"


It's basically a guidebook from 1964. It's got some great illustrations too!

And while I got your attention, I'm going to the Man Lakes in The Q this trip. Are there any books on the history of that area? or who the men were?
Thanks
 
MikeinMpls
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06/20/2023 04:58PM  
My post from 2022, and I still feel as strong about this book as I did when I was 12!:

Without a doubt, IMHO: Cache Lake Country. I first read it when I was 12, and have read it at least 10 times. A timber cruiser writes about his life in the woods. Lots of history about logging, logging camps, animals, the seasons, cabin life, and friendship. All told in 12 chapters: January through December. And...this guy was the original McGuyver...he could make what he needed out of what he had.

I tried his raspberry shrub recipe once. Not too bad.

And, I've adopted several simple woodscraft skills described by Mr. Rowlands.

Mike
 
bronxpaddler
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06/21/2023 06:48AM  
I would strongly recommend the Sigurd Olson biography by David Backes.
A beautiful, enjoyable, book about the person and the place.
A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson, By David Backes
 
gravelroad
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06/21/2023 06:17PM  
BonzSF: "I'm not going for another two months so looking to read some.
Right now i'm reading "North American Canoe Country" by Calvin Rutstrum.
Is anyone familiar with it. It has an inscription on the inside to "Tony" from "John Macbride" that says
"Calvin Rutstum knows a lot about things it's a lot of fun to know a lot about. I hope you agree."
It is interesting to go back before Kevlar hulls and synthetic fabrics.
Where an aluminum boat was considered ultra-light. it goes through the various canoes from solo up to the 20 person (not foot!) "Montreal Canoe". They even had a section on outboard motors. The provisions list for short trips calls for "4 lbs of food per man per day when using fresh, common, domestic, raw fresh food"


It's basically a guidebook from 1964. It's got some great illustrations too!

And while I got your attention, I'm going to the Man Lakes in The Q this trip. Are there any books on the history of that area? or who the men were?
Thanks"


Calvin Rutstrum was a leading outdoor writer. His ”Paradise Below Zero” got me started on winter camping.


Calvin Rutstrum
 
bottomtothetap
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06/22/2023 08:09AM  
"A Season for Wilderness", by Michael Furtman
It recounts a summer he and his wife spent as volunteers for the USFS in a cabin near Lower Basswood Falls on Crooked Lake. I found the book fascinating and made a point to find the cabin when I was camping one time near LBF. Unfortunately, the cabin had burned down due to some careless squatters a year or two before I came through and all I was able to find was the old foundation. On the other hand, I was able to encounter a couple of young USFS rangers there who were happy to show me around in the nearby USFS boathouse that still exists. They had not heard of the cabin and it was fun taking them to the remains and telling them about Furtman's book.
 
06/22/2023 12:22PM  
For young adults Mrs. Mike is a good read.
 
RunningFox
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06/24/2023 11:40PM  
“Saving Quetico Superior: A Land Set Apart” by R.Newell Searle. This book tells the remarkable history of the struggle to preserve the boundary waters and Quetico from industrialization and commercialization.

I found this book to be fascinating and it made me appreciate even more the BW and Q. We’re lucky we didn’t lose out to those that wanted to exploit this area for profit, although the battle continues.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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06/27/2023 04:17PM  
Per the recommendations of this thread and some other book threads on here, I picked up Lost in The Wild and Canoeing With The Cree over the weekend and I am pretty excited to read them both.
 
06/27/2023 04:48PM  
I recently read the 29th day, surviving a grizzly bear attack on a 42 day canoe trip in northern Canada. The people in the book are from Camp Menogyn, and the author currently lives in Duluth.

It is very good.

The 29th Day
 
TuscaroraBorealis
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06/28/2023 06:51AM  
I'll add "Portage into the past" by J. Arnold Bolz
 
06/28/2023 04:29PM  
bottomtothetap: ""A Season for Wilderness", by Michael Furtman
It recounts a summer he and his wife spent as volunteers for the USFS in a cabin near Lower Basswood Falls on Crooked Lake. I found the book fascinating and made a point to find the cabin when I was camping one time near LBF. Unfortunately, the cabin had burned down due to some careless squatters a year or two before I came through and all I was able to find was the old foundation. On the other hand, I was able to encounter a couple of young USFS rangers there who were happy to show me around in the nearby USFS boathouse that still exists. They had not heard of the cabin and it was fun taking them to the remains and telling them about Furtman's book."


I just finished "A Season for Wilderness" this week and really enjoyed it!

Sorry to hear that the cabin is gone.

I picked this up at the Ely Library Book Sale which happens twice per year... highly recommend this if you are in Ely on the day.
 
06/28/2023 06:08PM  
I'm curious if anyone has read "Justin Cody's Race to Survival" by Cliff Jacobson.

From what I understand it's been introduced to many younger students after teachers have read it. Is it more written toward teens in mind or an enjoyable read for all ages?
 
SunrisePaddler
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06/28/2023 08:57PM  
okinaw55: "I'm curious if anyone has read "Justin Cody's Race to Survival" by Cliff Jacobson."


I bought it for my kids (and me) and really wanted to enjoy it. None of us really did. Was long enough ago that I can’t recall the specific reasons. As they say, YMMV.
 
SunrisePaddler
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06/28/2023 09:05PM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "I'll add "Portage into the past" by J. Arnold Bolz"


+1
 
MichiganMan
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02/21/2024 09:35PM  
Maiingan: "Voices from the Rapids


Down from Basswood: Voices of the Boundary Waters"


Just read Down from Basswood. Totally not what I expected, yet totally riveting. Makes you think of that country in a whole different light. And maybe think of Sigurd Olsen in a whole different light too, lol.
 
chessie
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02/22/2024 09:07AM  
A beautifully put together book is "Border Country: The Northwoods Canoe Journals of Howard Greene 1906-1916, by Martha Greene Phillips, U of M Press, 2017.
 
02/22/2024 11:06AM  
Disappointment River by Brian Castner.

Epic trip down the Deh Cho originally completed by Sir Alexander MacKenzie in 1789. Replicated by Castner in an effort to capture one of many struggles for HBC and NW fur traders to find a passage to the Pacific, i.e. the Nortwest Passage .
 
Chieflonewatie
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02/22/2024 11:24AM  
A wonderful country by Bill Maggie. It’s historic and hilarious.
 
gravelroad
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02/22/2024 08:55PM  
"A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner (U.S. Interpreter at the Saut de Ste. Marie) ; During Thirty Years Residence Among the Indians in the Interior of North America"

John Tanner was kidnapped as a young boy by Native Americans and eventually came under the care of an Anishanaabe woman. He spent much of his life in locations within and adjacent to what eventually became the BWCAW and Voyageurs National Park. His firsthand accounts of finding daily sustenance (and not finding it), year-round travel and more make this an invaluable resource.

The book is available free of charge in various electronic versions and can be purchased in bound form as well.
 
MichiganMan
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02/25/2024 07:33AM  
Chieflonewatie: "A wonderful country by Bill Maggie. It’s historic and hilarious."


Agreed on that one. Good read. Bill's name shows up in Down from Basswood as well, but he isn't a main focus.
 
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