By Conor Mihell
Paddling to Winter by Julie Buckles (Raven Productions, $17.95)
Julie Buckles and Charly Ray lived the dream of many paddlers, making a 2,700-mile honeymoon journey in a homemade wood-canvas canoe from their home in Minnesota to northern Saskatchewan, where they spent the winter on Wollaston Lake. Once a self-proclaimed city girl, Buckles recounts how she fell in love with Ray, an outdoorsman, and learned to thrive in the wilderness. Her sharp, witty prose brings the expedition to life with humor and passion in a story of love and discovery that will relate to all readers.
A Thelon Odyssey by W.H.B. Hoare (McGahern-Stewart Publishing, $24.95)
In 1928-29, W.H.B. “Billy” Hoare was tasked by the Canadian Department of the Interior to survey the boundaries of the newly created Thelon Game Sanctuary, a 9.6-million-acre wildlife oasis straddling the border of present-day Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Hoare traveled by dogsled and canoe into this immense wilderness, and his brief, hardscrabble memories of the trail speak of the challenges of northern exploration before the advent of floatplanes and modern maps. A Thelon Odyssey is the latest title in Ottawa-based McGahern-Stewart Publishing’s Forgotten Northern Classics series, and is a worthy read for anyone intrigued by the “Old North” or pondering an expedition of their own on the Thelon River.
Wild Florida Adventures by Doug Alderson (Earthways Press, $14.95)
Florida often gets overlooked by adventure seekers because of its reputation of condos and theme parks. Outdoor writer Doug Alderson, the man behind the state’s ambitious 1,500-mile circumnavigational water trail, proves there’s much more to Florida than meets the eye. In his new book, Alderson recounts the adventures and misadventures of a marathon paddle through the Florida Keys, tracing crystalline spring-fed rivers, and hiking through swamps. There’s a magic to Alderson’s humble, passionate storytelling and keen sense of awareness that will inspire readers to embark on their own journeys of discovery in the Sunshine State.
Temagami Trip Companion—Obabika Loop and Maple Mountain (Friends of Temagami, $18)
On the heels of its debut 2012 Adventure Planning Map, which documented 2,500 miles of canoe routes in central Ontario, the nonprofit Friends of Temagami have produced a waterproof map of two of the region’s most popular five-day canoe trips. The Temagami Trip Companion maps out portages, campsites and points of natural and cultural interest at a scale of 1:50,000—perfect for on the water navigation. The Obabika Lake loop explores the ancient white pine forests that made Temagami famous, and the Maple Mountain route has minimal portaging and is canoe- and sea kayak-friendly. Dozens of side-trips are also shown — better mete out your vacation days carefully.