National Bestseller A Thrilling Odyssey Through An Unforgiving Landscape, From Canada S Greatest Living Explorer In The Spring Of , Adam Shoalts, Bestselling Author And Adventurer, Set Off On An Unprecedented Solo Journey Across North America S Greatest Wilderness A Place Where, In Our Increasingly Interconnected, Digital World, It S Still Possible To Wander For Months Without Crossing A Single Road, Or Even See Another Human BeingBetween His Starting Point In Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory, To His Destination In Baker Lake, Nunavut, Lies A Maze Of Obstacles Shifting Ice Floes, Swollen Rivers, Fog Bound Lakes, And Gale Force Storms And Shoalts Must Time His Departure By The Breakup Of The Spring Ice, Then Sprint Across Nearly , Kilometers Of Rugged, Wild Terrain To Arrive Before Winter Closes InHe Travels Alone Up Raging Rivers That Only The Most Expert White Water Canoeists Dare Travel Even Downstream He Must Portage Across Fields Of Jagged Rocks That Stretch To The Horizon, And Navigate Labyrinths Of Swamps, Tormented By Clouds Of Mosquitoes Every Step Of The Way And The Race Against The Calendar Means That He Cannot Afford The Luxuries Of Rest, Or Of Making Mistakes Shoalts Must Trek Tirelessly, Well Into The Endless Arctic Summer Nights, At Times Not Even Pausing To EatBut His Reward Is The Adventure Of A LifetimeHeart Stopping, Wonder Filled, And Attentive To The Majesty Of The Natural World, Beyond The Trees Captures The Ache For Adventure That Afflicts Us All I devour travelogues and travel adventures the way a thoroughly unadventurous stationary person might Voraciously So I came across this one on Netgalley and it s advertised as written by Canada s Indiana Jones What Ok, yeah, bring it But what comes to mind trying to imagine a Canadian Indiana Jones Like a really mild mannered, polite one I mean, I don t get how the comparison holds up, not based on this book anyway This isn t Indiana Jones, this is a guy who loves nature and solitude and crazily demanding endurance expeditions for the sake of pushing himself and proving he can do it Which is great, but, you know, no treasures, no babes, no evil masterminds, none of that An occasional fellow canoer and a few locals here and there, but otherwise a primarily solitary trip as a way to commemorate Canada s sesquicentennial that s 150th for those forgetting their Latin national celebration So Adam Shoalts sets off to canoe across the Canadian Arctic We re talking forbidding climates, dangerous nature and at times impenetrably rugged terrain And the idea is to canoe against the current in waters where even going with the current isn t especially safe or easy And all of this done completely alone Depending on your perspective, this is either insanely exciting, insanely masochistic or plain insane But obviously, Shoalts manages to complete his mission, otherwise there wouldn t be a book about it Or there would be, but you wouldn t want to read it So the bulk of the story is a man canoeing alone It s pretty exciting considering, because Shoalts has a definite talent for writing about nature He s obviously very, very passionate about it, but there is also a cinematic quality to his descriptions But if you re thinking you re going to lean about different cultures, like the First Nation people living up north, there s barely any of that There s some historical accounts of early exploits of the area But mostly, one man, one canoe And as much as I enjoy the peace of mind nature offers, this journey was just much too much to relate to the enjoyability of it It sounded brutal and punishing in an unnecessary sort of way Maybe I don t relate to personal endurance quests that much I always found endurance magic to be the least exciting of all magic too David Blaine was so much fun before he started pushing personal limitations of whatever the f And there s also the why of it all Some of the brave and tragic souls that have boldly gone back in the day where Shoalts did recently did so for a proper reason, like discovering Northern passage or mapping out the territory What would they think of someone undergoing such punishing privations for no reason but establishing some sort of personal record I mean, I know some really get off on the idea of proving something originally deemed impossible possible, just not sure always as to why But these are just some random thoughts and I don t want it to seem like I didn t enjoy the book, because I did Surprisingly so, considering From the relative comfort of my couch it was an enjoyable, albeit somewhat bewildering, trip plus it s somewhere I d certainly never travel to on my own, so thanks to the author that s another place in the world checked out vicariously Mine is the first review here on GR, hope it s an encouraging one No idea what Indiana Jones would think about all this, Probably something along the lines of general confusion But fans of nature writing would delight in this trip Thanks Netgalley. My first travel log and I enjoyed it a lot Would ve loved to get inside Shoalts head a little bit as the majority was simply describing the physicality of the trek Adding a star because he s a local homie and way cooler than I am. This is the sort of book I love to read in bed with the wind roaring outside and the rain lashing on the window I m tucked up cosy and comfortable reading about an adventurer canoeing alone across the north of Canada and having to sit it out for days because the ice is too thick to break through with out damaging his canoe I sip my tea and give thanks that people like Adam Shoalts are driven to do these things so I can read about them I am not in the least adventurous I get panicked if I have to go to a new supermarket but I love to read about people who can push themselves beyond their limits and survive That s the main thing Mr Shoalts takes his canoe through arctic conditions as a celebration of 150 years of Canada and it is terrifying at times but it is written in a quite matter of fact way He talks about portage as if it is something added to the price of a bottle of port instead of carrying his belongings over several kilometres because the water ways are not appropriate for his canoe And its not as if he just sits there paddling and enjoying the view because a lot of it, he has to push along the bottom to manoeuvre his canoe through rough terrain.He gives a potted history of the areas he goes through and he interacts occasionally and increasingly unwillingly with fellow humans but overall this is one man and his canoe describing his journey and it is excellent.I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review. Excellent real life adventure Full review coming to TheZestQuest.com soon and reposted here. I wish I liked this book , but all I can really get to is admiration Shoalts is everything you d want from a modern day explorer leaving only footprints, taking only photographs, respectful and humble to both local communities and the power of nature, all while doing some truly insane shit that helps bring awareness to larger issues The only difficulty here is in reading page after page of portaging if I can damn him with faint praise, Shoalts makes the interminable process of lugging supplies over the same patch of territory as tough to read as it must be to do There s some absolutely magical moments in this book, like when he comes across a family of wolves, but they re few and far between. Spring 2017 sees Adam Shoalts begin his incredible journey from Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory, by canoe and portaging to Baker Lake, Nunavut He travels solo across a vast place where you can go without seeing another person for weeks, kept company only by the indigenous wildlife, trying to keep one step ahead of the encroaching winter It was an interesting read and a mammoth journey I love my alone time but I m not sure I could go so long without seeing another human being Hats off to him Although some of the minutiae was a little repetitive in places, the author has included plenty of stories about old time trappers and adventurers who tried to tame the wild land and paid with their sanity and their lives Chilling stuff Overall, well worth a read Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Penguin Random House Canada Allen Lane, for the opportunity to read an ARC. I must admit there is nothing I like reading quite as much as a real life adventure travel tale Done well it can transport the imaginative reader to places they will never ever experience in their lifetime and connect with yearnings that many of us have to escape the trials and tribulations of an increasingly interconnected and stressful modern world There is no doubt that bestselling author and professional adventurer Adam Shoalts achieves just that in his remarkable account of his seemingly impossible venture to travel 4,000 kilometres solo from west to east across Canada s arctic territory. Accompanied by his trusty canoe this would be a journey that is made largely upstream rather then downstream with all the inherent difficulties this will present as he travels across the rugged and often poorly mapped terrain The prose style is simple, direct and unadorned devoid of any superfluous meanderings much like the journey itself Along the journey he will encounter a plethora of wildlife some presenting danger including bears, wolves and muskox surprisingly it is the latter that presents the most problems There are also stories of past adventures made during the last 200 years or so, many of them leading to gruesome deaths But ultimately it is not the animals or the terrain, rivers or huge inland lakes that present the biggest challenge to the success of the venture but rather it is the weather This is a race against time to complete the journey before the onset of the fast approaching winter conditions Literally every moment counts.If nothing else I learnt a new word from the book which was portaging you will encounter it many times in this story If you would like to get lost in a real wild adventure then you will not be disappointed by this book. Just fascinating, in terms of both travel and writing.I read Shoalt s Against the North twice, so I pretty much knew I d like this Shoalts voyages solo across northern Canada over the course of a summer Why Because he can Okay, he is actually gathering geological and geographical information But it is too because he can I can t imagine anyone but him doing this It s incredible And it is his writing that makes this book engrossing and readable His diction and phrasing is so finely honed as to be virtually invisible the book just keeps moving, and it s breathtaking You d think that repeated talk of the horror of mosquitoes and cold waters and the courting of danger would grind the narrative down but Shoalts is so gifted a writer that every page of this feels fresh.If you liked this, try other Canadians Jake MacDonald Houseboat Chronicles and Grant Lawrence Desolation Sound Not the same as Shoalts, but they are also adventures of a domesticated wild. Canada s Indiana Jones treks through Canada s arctic in Beyond the Trees, an often exciting if sometimes repetitive chronicle of a solo trip many deemed impossible As a sucker for true survival thrilling nature stories, I knew I had to request this as soon as I saw it on Netgalley Shoalts does not disappoint when it comes to adventure, detailing bears running at him, poling through the Great Bear lake, and racing against the often brutal arctic weather While Shoalts own journey was fascinating, I was also appreciative that he took the time to talk about other explorers who had tried before him and their own sometimes grisly tales I don t know too much about this particular region of Canada, so these stories and his descriptive nature writing helped flesh it out and made for a immersive experience I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review My thanks to Penguin Random House Canada. Beyond the Trees is Adam Shoalts s account of his solo journey traversing Canada s Arctic from west to east, a feat largely considered impossible Armed with only his tent, canoe and rations, Adam sets off on an epic journey across unforgiving terrain and upriver, fighting against the current and ice most of the way His descriptions of the landscapes he passes through and the wildlife he encounters are captivating, but at times it reads as a very literal report of his actions, where I would have liked to learn about the emotional experience of his voyage Fans of travelogues and nature writing will really enjoy this.
- 288 pages
- Beyond the Trees
- Adam Shoalts
- 07 September 2018 Adam Shoalts