UpNorthica’s Gift Guide: Recommended Reads



Give the gift of a great outdoors book!

We’ve put together a batch of books that you will enjoy giving to your dearest. Stories of folks who made their living in the bush. Stories of rough whitewater and long, arduous trips. Stories of heat-stopping encounters with wildlife. Helpful guides for winter sports and solo paddling. Great stuff to get lost in.

Cache Lake Country: Life in the Northwoods
John J. Rowlands
In the early 40′s Rowland set out to survey timber in northern Maine. After setting off into an unknown country of lakes and forest in his canoe, he came upon the “boyhood lake of my dreams”. He didn’t leave. He proceeded to build a cabin there and befriend a Indian who patiently taught him many bushcraft skills. The seasonal format of his chapters are filled with engaging stories, diagrams of home made moccasins, a cutaway of his underground food cache and other delightful images of bushcraft, animals and woods.


Going Inside: A Couple’s Journey of Renewal into the North.

Alan S. Kesselheim
After years of not being able to get pregnant, their marriage rattled, author Alan Kesselheim and his wife, MaryPat decided to get away from their urban life and head north. They prepare and plan a year long paddle though Canada that will take them over 2,000 miles through forest, tundra and grassy plains. Their journey starts on the flooded banks of the Smokey River in southern Alberta. Their destination is a remote, native village in Nunavut. No strangers to paddling great distances, they embarked on a similar journey five years prior. Remembering of how fulfilling and healthy that trip was for their bodies, minds and spirits, they hope that this latest expedition will bring them closer and renew them individually and as a couple.

Kipawa River Chronicles
Scott Sorensen
A light, engaging story about a family living in the remote woods of western Quebec where the Kipawa River drains into massive Lake Temiskaming. Author Scott came to the area as a young man in the 70′s to work and kayak some of the most technical whitewater in the region. He provides interesting accounts of battling the weather on Lake Temiskaming in various watercraft, monster sized trout and pike. His family welcomes interesting characters to their shores. Sorensen writes about the issues the Kipawa River faces when a hydo-electric company starts to assess the river for a possible diversion. It’s a classic case of the local community, whitewater enthusiasts, and environmentalists versus a large company pushing for a quick resolution.

White Woods, Quiet Trails: Exploring Minnesota’s North Shore in Winter
Andrew Slade
The sights and sounds of a wintery landscape are best encountered on skis or snowshoes. In his guide, Andrew Slade lists over 900 kilometers of cross-country ski trails between Duluth and Thunder Bay. He includes information on more than 200 miles of snowshoe trails. There are also great options for trekking along side frozen rivers. He also provides expert advice on safe winter travel.


On The Edge Of Nowhere
James Huntington
Imagine yourself a child, living in the remote Kuskokwim region of Alaska on the banks of a river with your dad and brother, trapping and making ends meet. Such was the life of Jimmy Huntington who grew up with harrowing encounters with hibernating bears, angry wolf packs, raging rivers and sled dogs. Each chapter gathers gripping tales from childhood, and then later as an adult of life, often alone, in the wilderness. His constant fight to survive is incredible and is the stuff of legends.


River Stories
Rob Kesselring
Expert paddler, Rob Kesselring has put together a compilation of some of his best paddling stories, be it in the northwest territories of Canada or the Boundary Waters. Stories of unmarked rapids, bear encounters, broken body parts, camp food and getting caught naked at the worst moments, will keep you pining for more.


Basic Essentials of Solo Canoeing
Cliff Jacobson
In his second edition, outdoor writer and paddler, Cliff Jacobson offers practical insight for those interested in planning their own solo trip. He provides guidance for choosing a solo canoe, ideas on outfitting your canoe, and the best strokes for solo canoeists. A good nuts and bolts of what you need to know before your paddle hits the water. His knowledge will appeal to both the novice or experienced paddler.


Twelve Owls
Laura Erickson
Don’t forget the wee ones. Kids and adults alike will love the rich illustrations by local artist, Betsy Bowen. Her carefully crafted woodcuts depict iconic northern imagery. This newly released book provides details about the variety owls that call northern Minnesota home.

Feature Images: Cache Lake Country

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2 Responses to UpNorthica’s Gift Guide: Recommended Reads

  1. Chris says:

    I am a huge fan of Rowland’s “Cache Lake Country”. I found my copy while attending the University of Idaho. One day I was leaving the library and the had a cart of books for sale for a dollar each. I was floored when they were selling it. Made my day! Thanks for this post. I need some good winter reads!

  2. Pam says:

    That’s great, Chris! Our introduction to that book was by way of a vintage copy in an antique shop. Something about the older edition makes it more special. Enjoy!

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