A Search for Personal Sanctuary
by Hap Wilson
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One hundred years ago, a young doctor from Cleveland by the name of Robert Newcomb, travelled north to a place called Temagami. It was as far north as one could travel by any modern means. Beautiful beyond any simple expletive, the Temagami wilderness was a land rich in timber, clear-water lakes, fast flowing rivers, mystery and adventure. Newcomb befriended the local Aboriginals -- the Deep Water People -- and quickly discovered the best way to explore was by canoe. Bewitched by the spirit of an interior river named after the elusive brook trout, Majamagosibi, Newcomb had a remote cabin built overlooking one of her precipitous cataracts.
The cabin remained unused for decades, save for a few passing canoeists; it changed ownership twice and slowly began to show its age. The author discovered the cabin while on a canoe trip in 1970. Like Newcomb, Hap Wilson was lured to Temagami in pursuit of adventure and personal sanctuary. That search for sanctuary took the author incredible distances by canoe and snowshoe, through near death experiences and Herculean challenges. Secretly building cabins, homesteading and working as a park ranger, Wilson finally became owner of The Cabin in 2000.
Artist, author and adventurer, Hap Wilson is perhaps best known for his ecotourism/travel guidebooks. He has led over 300 wilderness expeditions in Canada, and served as actor Pierce Brosnan's personal outdoor trainer for the feature film Grey Owl."This is a complex and fascinating story, beautifully told. At first, it draws us in because the author appears to be living the life we all dream of-a simpler life, close to nature, free from the stress and strain of our consumer culture. But the reality, with its myriad challenges, is what holds our attention and gives the book its substance."
- Judith Ruan, Muskoka Magazine
- Dundurn, November 2005
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