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Canoe Trails and Shop Tales: Making Crooked Nerves Straight, by Hugh Stewart

Canoe Trails and Shop Tales: Making Crooked Nerves Straight, by Hugh Stewart


Hugh Stewart has been a paddler since the 1950s, a guide since the 1960s, and a canoe builder since the 1980s. He has paddled extensively in various parts of northern Canada. Few canoe builders have equivalent field experience. For more than half a century Hugh, attuned since boyhood to the northern past, has devoted himself to honouring its iconic symbol, the canoe, by following in the paths of men long dead, by teaching hundreds the skills of the paddle and the trail, and by keeping alive the art of building strong, practical watercraft of great beauty. He is a Canadian exemplar. The team at Headwaters Canoe Shop proudly continues to construct various models of wood canvas canoes. In Hugh's collection of essays, memorable characters abound. There is the inimitable Russ, who was the trip director at Camp Temagami when Hugh was a camper and young guide, the wonderful Bell family from whom Hugh and his co workers buy cedar for their canoes, and Willie Williams, the inspiring Tahltan elder from northern British Columbia. "Cultural Custodians" introduces the many friends who have helped Hugh preserve both the techniques of wooden canoe building and the practice of traditional travel skills. In two essays the author takes an historical look at canoeists and wilderness travellers of the past. There are thought provoking pieces on wilderness preservation and forest management issues, and detailed accounts of two long remote trips which Hugh took, one in Labrador and Quebec on the Petit Mecatina River and one on the Barrens in the Northwest Territories. 


Ottawa. McGahern Stewart Publishing. 2018. Soft cover. 8vo, 23cm, xix,300p., with 170 illustrations, mainly by the author, including many maps, bibliography, colour illustrated wraps, trade paperback.

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