Book Review – Black Spruce Journals by Stewart Coffin

Black Spruce Journals; Tales Of Canoe Tripping In The Maine Woods, The Boreal Spruce Forests Of Northern Canada, And The Barren Grounds by Steward Coffin is a collection of canoe trip journals of the author’s journeys from the late 1950’s to the mid 1990’s.

It’s a dangerous book to read on during a snowy February.  It got me thinking and planning a variety of trips, and prompted me to look at my map of Quebec canoe routes for hours.  This type of behavior is always entertaining to my wife and son, and they love to ask me if I’m looking at the map again.

From the introduction:

Every summer nowadays there are dozens of trips on routes that half a century ago would have ben considered pioneering exploits, and other trips that amaze us old-timers in terms of length, duration, and difficulty.  Many are now published as books or magazine articles, some even on the web.  I have nothing of that sort to report here – no incredible feats, no great hardships, no hair-raising escapes.  What I can report, however, is relaxing around the campfire with like-minded companions on the shores of some remote lake and, in the unearthly stillness of the evening, listening to the calls of a pair of loons or, if one is really lucky, the haunting cry of a wolf coming from afar.  That’s what this book is really all about.

The style of writing is easy, and Coffin is focused on the experience of each trip.  Complementing the text are beautiful black and white photos of the various rivers.

If you like canoeing wilderness rivers and enjoy reading about northeastern Canada, this is a book you’ll want to read.

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