The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  WINTER 2003











In this issue

Front Page


Winter Packet


From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Back page




Canoelit II


In the Footsteps of Grey Owl

Journey Into the Ancient Forests

By Gary & Joanie McGuffin

McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 2002 144 pp $39.99

ISBN: 0-7710-5537-4

Gary and Joanie McGuffin continue to produce, at an alarming rate, quality books and In the Footsteps of Grey Owl is no exception.


This is primarily a photo book highlighting the superb work of Gary who truly is an artist with light. The photo reproduction is excellent and itís all done on chlorine free paper.

This book is the result of their 1997 online trip though the forests of northern Ontario. It was to have been the first half of a summer/winter pair of expeditions but family planning seemed to get in the way of things and the couple had a baby girl, Sila in 1999.

The trip began in Algonquin Park and headed north of North Bay and then due west to finish just below Sault Ste. Marie.Much of that area was frequented by Grey Owl before he headed to Saskatchewan.

As a travel narrative it is pretty tame, much of the area is surrounded by settlement but Joanie blends in the past and present in her 40 page trip summary. The rest of the book is dedicated to Garyís great pictures accompanied by the short passages from Grey Owl, primarily from his books Tales of an Empty Cabin and Men of the Last Frontier.

My favourite shot is a self-portrait of the normally shy Gary ó a beautifully warped shadow of himself against a sun-drenched granite wall.

 ó Michael Peake

The Horizontal Everest

20 Years of Canoe Camping North of 60

By Jerry Kobalenko

Penguin Books Canada 2002

277pp $35

ISBN: 0-670-89434-6

Jerry Kobalenko likes it cold. He travels in some of the most remote terrain Canada has to offer. And he does it well. But he does it without the aid of a canoe.

Kobalenko is a snow walker who has retraced his adventures on Ellesmere Island. The book is a complete and fascinating account of these trips. Heís a very good photographer but the reproduction of the black and white pictures is not great.

A big surprise is his trashing of a very well known and respected Toronto paddler who accompanied him on one trip. He only calls him by his first name but a lot of people will know who it is. And Jerry isnít very kind to him. It sounded like that trip had a special coldness all its own.

ó Michael Peake

 Winter 2003         Outfit 111 

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