"...this was the beginning of something life-changing for my fellow paddlers and me--this was Hommes du Nord, forty-two days of canoeing Canada's wild rivers and lakes."
Alex Messenger was 17 in the summer of 2005 when he set off with five friends on a 600-mile trip across Nunavut in the Canadian sub-artic. And for the first twenty-eight days all went well. They successfully navigated the white water rapids strung along the Dubawnt River and happily camped in the taiga. And Alex tried to appreciate each moment along the way.
"The purpose of a journey is to experience those things that can't be explained and to forge the memories that will never be forgotten, the ones that change you forever."
Then, on the twenty-ninth day, while traversing a ridge alone, he encounters his worst nightmare. A grizzly bear. Somehow, Alex survives the bear's attack. But he and his friends are still miles from nowhere, and with his injuries, getting home just got a lot harder.
"One of the ways an expedition tests your mettle is that it's up to you and the group to solve any problems. If you wait for help to suddenly appear, your odds are not good."
This is such a compelling biography! I loved Alex's lyrical descriptions of their canoe trip, and the river, the islands where they camped and the Inuit ruins they find along the way. And his recount of the bear attack itself is pretty chilling. He's so honest. About everything. I could not put this book down. If you love memoirs about outdoor adventure and survival, I highly recommend this one.