‘Dreaming of the North’ Book List – 2021 Edition

Five books to set you dreaming of the north. Dive in to the 2021 edition of our annual book list! 

With the snows of winter now here, days are short in the North. As we sit by the fire in Whitehorse and reflect on the stack of books that inspired us this year, we wanted to share some of our favourites with you!

Nothing beats supporting local and this holiday season we certainly encourage you to support your local bookstore!

Horizon by Barry Lopez

Like many people, my first introduction to Barry Lopez’s vivid prose was in his classic Of Wolves and Men. For those who love the North country it became a classic as we examined our understanding of the Arctic, and ecology in general. 

Christmas 2020 saw me gifted with what would be Barry Lopez’s last book, as he passed away shortly after its publication. 

Horizon is at once an inspiring and haunting collection of essays. As usual Lopez humbly places himself inside the big picture and provides us all with a framework on which to stare into our uncertain ecological future. 

“To go in search of what once was is to postpone the difficulty of living with what is.”

Barry Lopez, Horizon

With each page I found myself grateful for what we have in places like the Nahanni, Firth, and Alsek’s valleys where what remains is as untouched and grand as ever! 

The Big Open: Unsupported Across Tibet’s Chang Tang by Rick Ridgeway

The Big Open is a tale of an unconventional adventure undertaken by a group who were not only concerned about the conservation of wild space, but in understanding aging, their place within society, and the world at large. As we all look to travel freely once again I know I found myself both inspired to continue moving on a large scale, but also grateful for the simple ability to walk through the world out my front door. 

A line that resonated with me in particular could have been written about witnessing the Porcupine Caribou Migration in the Yukon’s Ivvavik National Park.

“We gaze at this spectacle in silence, and I offer mute thanksgiving to the circumstances in my life that have allowed me to be standing on top of this hill at this moment, with three close friends, paying homage to this epochal migration that, like a tide pulled by the gravity of the seasons has flooded and ebbed across this plain year before year.”

Do Glaciers Listen? By Julie Cruikshank

For those who wish to look at the world from another perspective I highly recommend Do Glaciers Listen. 

As a Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Dr. Cruikshank delves deep into the world view and relationship to the land of the First Nations that have made their home in the region surrounding the St. Elias Mountains of British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska. 

For those who have travelled, or are still dreaming of exploring, the Tatshenshini or Alsek Rivers, this book connects the active geologic events and their place in oral traditions to the observations of a modern traveller across one of the world’s grandest landscapes. 

The Patch By John McPhee

I often have to shake my head in wonder at the mastery of our guide team. People who have committed their lives to sharing the wilds of Arctic Canada and at each turn surprise you with their ability and curiosity. 

Reading an essay by John McPee leaves me feeling much the same. He is a master at work, whose attentive gaze has given context and texture to both the creations of humankind and the natural world that we live as a part of. His work in the New Yorker and his dozens of titles are all excellent but his latest collection is an exploration of passion and fascination and with each page your mind expands! 

Measure of the Year By Roderick L. Haig-Brown

The arrival of December inevitably invites reflection on the year that was. This classic by Roderick Haig-Brown is a call to slow down and reconnect with the cyclical nature of life. It reminds us that the efforts of today will certainly impact the future.. Full of wonderful prose and keen observations of flora, fauna, and their relationships with the seasons, Measure of the Year is a wonderful title to pick up at any time of year! 

Interested in learning more?

Whether you journey to experience abundant wildlife, verdant wildflowers or glacial vistas, our journeys are sure to exceed your expectations.

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