Paddling the Boreal Forest
Rediscovering A.P. Low
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The boreal forest of Quebec/Labrador -- some of the most rugged and isolated land in Canada -- has captivated avid canoeists for generations. In the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, the intrepid A.P. Low of the Geological Survey of Canada spent, in total, more than ten years of his working life surveying the area. Employing Aboriginal canoemen and guides, he travelled by canoe, snowshoe and sailing vessel to map and document much of this vast territory.
Challenged by the mystique of this extraordinary Canadian, canoeists Max Finkelstein and James Stone retraced Low's routes -- by their admission, their toughest canoe trip ever! Using archival sources, oral history and personal experience, they tell the story of A.P. Low and, in the process, reveal the environmental issues now facing this much threatened Canadian wilderness.
"Once again Max Finkelstein has blessed us with his incredible ability to make history of exploration come alive. Rather than sit behind a desk and try to imagine the 'misadventures' Low would have had, he goes out and duplicates them, and along the way creates a few tales of his own. This is one great read and we should be thankful that people like Max and Jim Stone exist in this world of ours."
- Kevin Callan, well-known author and canoeist
"From A.P. Low's logs and reports, Max Finkelstein and Jim Stone give vitality to that great geological surveyor. Interspersed are vivid accounts of their own challenging canoe voyages on the same rivers and portages of the boreal forest and rock in the James Bay/Ungava/Labrador country of the Cree, Innu and Inuit. What emerges is an eloquent testimonial for the wilderness canoe trip in the Canadian experience."
Bruce W. Hodgins, Emeritus Professor of History, Trent University; President, Camp Wanapitei; Member, Advisory Council, Canadian Canoe Museum
- Dundurn, November 2004
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