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Books and Wilderness Programs

Recommended Reading List

Canoeing and camping books have increased exponentially in number in the last 20 years, making an exhaustive list impossible to compile. The literature offers a huge amount of tips, techniques, and advice from which you must choose the information that works for you. Below is a list of books that are never far from my table when planning a trip, and may give you a place to start.
Path of the Paddle; Bill Mason.
Illustrated with hundreds of action photos, this is still THE classic how-to-wilderness-canoe text. Path of the Paddle covers canoeing techniques, safety, reading rapids, and paddling gear. Bill Mason’s love of the canoe and the Canadian wilderness shine through on every page. The 1995 edition, updated by Paul Mason, includes some of the newer strokes and canoe materials. (1980 Van Nostrand Reinhold, and 1984, 1995 Key Porter Books).
Song of the Paddle; Bill Mason.
This companion text to Path of the Paddle is an extensive discussion of the art of living in the wilderness. Mason discusses campsites, tents, food and cooking, wilderness repairs, ecological issues and many other subjects. His anecdotes alone, drawn from his favourite trips, are worth the price of the book. (1988 Key Porter Books).
Canoeing Wild Rivers; Cliff Jacobson.
The subtitle says it all: “A Primer to North American Expedition Paddling”. This book sums up the lessons that Cliff has learned in years of travelling on remote northern rivers, including crew choice, transportation, tents, canoes, and other gear. The treatment of travelling and camping in adverse conditions is excellent. (1989 ICS Books Inc).
At Home in the Wilderness; Beth and Dave Buckley.
An informative, well-written book on canoe camping. Drawing extensively on their trips in Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and NWT, the Buckleys have developed camping and canoeing techniques that fuse the best of the old with the best of the new. (1994 Ashford Outdoor Media)
A Journey to the Northern Ocean; Samuel Hearne.
An absolutely amazing first-person account of Samuel Hearne's 4 year quest to reach the Coppermine River from present-day Churchill on Hudson's Bay. Unlike the generations of explorers who were to seek the Northwest Passage in the years to come, Hearne travelled with the native people and largely adopted their way of life to survive. (1958 MacMillan).
The Aboriginal Rock Paintings of the Churchill River; T.E.H. Jones.
Locations, descriptions, and interpretations of some of the rock paintings you may see while canoeing in Northern Saskatchewan. (1981 Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History).
The Lonely Land; Sigurd Olson.
The tale of Olson's voyage along the Churchill River from Ile-a-la-Crosse to Cumberland House in the 1950's. Lyrically written and enriched by a deep understanding of history, this is still the best way to get a sense of the region surrounding the Churchill River today. (1961 and later editions, Alfred A. Knopf)
Shield Country; Jamie Bastedo.
A text that synthesizes biological, geological, historical, geographical, and cultural information into an easy-reading informative format that makes you want to pick up a paddle and rush out to the Canadian Shield. Largely situated in the area around Yellowknife, the information is applicable to vast areas of the Canadian boreal forest. (1994 The Arctic Institute of North America).
Freshwater Saga; Eric W. Morse.
The canoeing memoirs of Eric Morse, reflecting on his trips on the Thelon, Kazan, Taltson, and many other northern trips. Wonderfully inspiring reading! (1987 University of Toronto Press)
Wilderness Medicine; William Forgey, M.D.
A slim, yet information-packed book dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of wilderness medical problems. Light enough to pack along in a first-aid kit, yet sufficiently complete to deal with most problems you may encounter on the trail. (1994 ICS Books Inc).
Wilderness First Aid; Wayne Merry
Published by St Johns Ambulance in Ontario in 1994.
Medicine for Mountaineering, 4’th ed.; James A. Wilkerson, M.D.
A comprehensive treatment of outdoor medical conditions, and emphatically NOT just for mountaineering. This might be an appropriate reference book for a larger group. (1992 The Mountaineers).
Far From Help; Steele

Emergency Treatment and Management; T. Flint, M.D., and H.D. Cain, M.D. , now available as Flint's Emergency Treatment & Management
A very dense book, oriented towards the emergency room physician which is a valuable reference book. (1954, 58, 64, 70, 75 and later editions, W.B. Saunders Company)
Canoe and Kayak Magazine.
This is the heavyweight of the paddling magazines, with lots of trip descriptions, photos, and gear reviews. Their annual buyers guide is a good place to start when shopping around for a new canoe.
Paddler Magazine.
A fun magazine, but leaning a little bit more towards the racing, playboating, and whitewater end of things. They also publish a buyer’s guide.
Billed as ‘Canada’s canoeing and kayaking magazine’ and published by the CRCA, this is a great place to go and get inspired about tripping. Every issue features several trips including beautiful photography and essential trip information. Excellent articles on canoeing and camping technique make this magazine a pleasure to read.
Other magazines which occasionally feature articles relevant to canoe camping:
Outside, Backpacker, Canadian Geographic, Explore, and Equinox.

Wilderness Programs

Horizons Unlimited/Churchill River Canoe Outfitters

Based on the Churchill River in Missinipe, Horizons offers several clinics to prepare you for an enjoyable wilderness experience, or they can provide you with a private clinic designed especially for you.

Environmental ethics | Trip planning and preparation | Basic Wilderness First Aid
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