Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon by John Hildebrand

By John Hildebrand

“John Hildebrand units out in a canoe . . . to discover the nice riverway of northwestern Canada and Alaska. . . . The geography is heavily rendered and the characters particularly sharply drawn. the rustic is packed with mad dropouts at river fish camps, good-hearted women within the cities, sullen natives in tumbledown villages, cranky old-timers, poor drunks and worse moralizers who dwell off the wild panorama and its considerable assets. . . . this can be a high-quality paintings, and Hildebrand is a positive writer.”—Charles E. Little, Wilderness

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It was the same ruined cabin I had ducked into that afternoon to escape the rain. Back in the present, Ida said she was feeling tired and limped back to her room. I heard the television switch on as Frank Goulter walked me out to the yard. He asked when I was getting back on the river. " "When you hit Five Finger Rapids, take the right channel. " The party of Germans who perished in Five Finger Rapids two years before had attempted the middle channel and capsized their canoes. One managed to cling to his canoe, then tried to save his pack and lost his life with the others.

We shook hands at the door. Wearing a tartan shirt and bolo tie, he was a big, ruddy man, but trim for someone in his eighties. It was the day after the Camerons' fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. Bouquets and cards were arranged on the living room side tables. There were crochet covers on the easy chairs and the usual northern landscapes in oil hanging from the walls. An exercise bike stood in the center of the room. As we sat down, Cameron's v,Tife, Martha, called from the dining room. " But that's exactly what I'd come for.

She'd looked very appealing in her woolen camping outfit. I stretched out on the bed and fell asleep reading a book called Healing Yourself. In the middle of the night I awoke to find a shaggy white cat draped around my neck like a scarf. Gordon Irwin Cameron lived in a tidy house across the river with a mountain ash growing in the yard and potted geraniums on the front steps. We shook hands at the door. Wearing a tartan shirt and bolo tie, he was a big, ruddy man, but trim for someone in his eighties.

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