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Moving Waters: Adventures on Northern Rivers by Sam Cook (116pp., Stone Ridge Press, Wrenshall, MN, 2007)
Sam Cook shares his experiences canoeing and camping throughout the Canadian provinces and Northern Territories. Once he was on such a trip, usually dropped off by float plane, he was totally without outside assistance or support until his scheduled pick-up on a lake a couple weeks later and a few hundred miles away. He had encounters with grizzly bears, shares numerous fishing stories, was confronted with unexpected experiences with raging rapids, other wildlife, the beauty of nature in its most pristine conditions, and much more. It’s a short book with a large color photo section in the middle that is meant more to whet your appetite for similar adventures of your own rather than an exhaustive telling of his stories.
Early in the book is one of the best written descriptions of the angst he feels before the start of every such trip. He thought for some time it was unique to him, that maybe there was something wrong with him. Why would he feel such deep guilt for trying to do something he enjoys? Some honest discussions around the campfires revealed the feelings weren’t unique. He looked forward to the trip, enjoyed the preparation and anticipation, but also felt, even if his family preferred to stay at home because they didn’t share his enthusiasm, that he was being selfish. He knew he had earned the chance to pursue a personal interest, but still feared he was being unfair to his wife at home dealing with the daily routine or problems. The conflicts would even detract from the enjoyment of the trip, especially in the early stages before the daily challenges of survival demanded his attention. If you too have experienced this, you may appreciate his honest look at this problem.