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Nigel writes like he is and how he instructs: warm, genuine, w. a discerning eye and an assured grace. This is not a travelogue nor a tell-all - it's a tale of a trip interrupted, a dream deferred and then resumed. Along the way is a deepening relationship w. his future wife Kris, a woman of strength and resolve, and scores of folks who aid and intrigue them, and of course a crisp and thoughtful approach to kayaking in what a paddling companion of Jon Turk called "the wild nature".
Woven throughout is his respect for the peoples of the high Arctic. In his low key way he is forthright in his sympathy for their displacement. History sadly repeats itself as many were forced from their villages & tossed into mainstream culture without a life jacket, as it were. They endure as does the grandeur of Labrador and Ungava.
The chapter on polar bears, and the paddlers' many harrowing and sometimes humorous encounters with these frolicking yet formidable lords of the north, is alone worth the cost of the book.
"Bear, Be GONE!" indeed!
The book leaves me an inexplicable yearning for the delicate taste of wild mushrooms, the tang of small cranberries, and even, tho I rarely partake, a morning shot of strong espresso. "Stepping Stones" is a kayaking book rich w. that kind of human scaled details. They beckon the reader to explore wider vistas within themselves and in the farflung lands where the qajaq was born. A visit to nigelkayaks.com yields a sidebar "Stepping Stones" abounding with maps, color images, bibliography, etc. Well worth a few clicks.
Read this book. It's a good read, and a stepping stone itself to a little known part of our world and the very human factors - failure and triumph, poverty and power, mystery and sensibility - carven into it.
"Nakoumek", Nigel Foster, "Nakoumek"
(from the Inuit - "Thanks")
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