Superfluous Matter
Books - Discovering Eden by Alex M. Hall

The guide for my recent canoe trip, owner of Canoe Arctic, was a man named Alex Hall. He's spent over forty years paddling in the Arctic and over thirty of those years leading guided canoe trips like mine. He is widely recognized as the leading authority on the Thelon River and surrounding region.

In 2003 he published a memoir of his experiences and although it is now out of print I was able to get a copy directly from him (signed and dated with a personal note). Upon returning to civilization I sat down to read the book and was instantly transported back to the tundra. Even though I was able to get a good idea of his general awesomeness on the trip, I didn't realize the scope of his experience until reading his book.

His first trip in 1971 was only the eleventh "recreational" canoe trip on the Thelon river. In 1973, he and a friend spent 77 days paddling over 1850 kilometres from the northern border of Saskatchewan all the way to the Arctic Ocean. He's been back and forth on many northern river systems more often than any living person. He has also spent countless hours successfully campaigning against mining companies trying to open up mines in some of the protected areas. This was my guide and at over 70 years of age he's still amazing.

The book is a perfect reminder of my trip and I'm so glad to have a copy. If you're interested in reading it, the Toronto Public Library has a few or if you're lucky I might loan you mine. It's very engaging and almost certainly gives a better feel for the tundra than the trip journal I'll eventually write.

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