Alaska to Nunavut: The Great Rivers
Neil Hartling & Terry Parker
Key Porter, 2003 (2003)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
lipping through some of the spectacular scenic photos (taken by Terry Parker) in
Alaska to Nunavut
made me want to book a trip and start packing immediately. At the beginning is a quote from Pierre Elliott Trudeau speaking of the need to prevent any changes '
that will diminish the essential beauty of this country.
hen Neil Hartling tells us that '
Canada has been described as a country designed to be traveled by canoe
' and speaks lyrically about its '
'. He introduces the northern wilderness and its indigenous cultures, for whom '
story telling is the ointment of the healer.
' Each chapter is devoted to one of the great rivers (in a style that is more travelogue than travel literature) - South Nahanni, Alsek, Tatshenshini, Firth, Snake, Wind, Stikine, Burnside, Coppermine, and Horton River.
here are maps, river statistics, history, a description of the course of the river, and images of wildllife (such as Dall's sheep) as well as of landcapes. The picture of Virginia Falls is particularly impressive, the waterfall split by a center spire - apparently it is nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls. A '
' is informative, as is the discussion of a website where
(Inuvialuit for caribou) migration can be monitored. The whitewater experience looks exhilerating.
earn about beavers, why rivers meander, about the history of the Twin Otter airplane, or the relatively recent formation of the Nunavut territory. There's a great deal in here, aside from the natural beauty of the great rivers which the author calls '
among the most magnificent sights on this planet.
' He ends by advocating vigilance to protect the future of the northern rivers and includes many references for further reading.
Alaska to Nunavut
is almost (but of course never really) as good as taking the journey down these rivers - perfect for the armchair traveler or for anyone who's thinking of visiting the far north. The author quotes an apt Robert W. Service verse, which ends '
There's a land oh it beckons and beckons, / And I want to go back - and I will.
' It certainly beckons from these pages.
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